Row over campaign leaflet ahead of Aldborough by-election

A bitter row has broken out over a by-election campaign leaflet which blames the Conservative for cutting services at King George Hospital.

The Labour Party leaflet, sent out ahead of Thursday’s Aldborough ward by-election, has led to the collapse of the cross-party co-operation on fighting plans to axe the A&E and maternity ward at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, according to Conservative council leader Cllr Keith Prince.

He said: “Labour are playing party politics with people’s lives. I worked hard to get a cross party statement [following last week’s closure announcement by health secretary Andrew Lansley] and now they’ve reneged on that by trying to score political points.

“As far as I’m concerned that’s the end of the cross-party working.”

The leaflet, sent to homes across the ward at the weekend, is headed: “A&E and maternity to close at King George Hospital.” Followed by the words: “You can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.”

It adds: “The Tories promised to “protect key services at King George Hospital. But Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley ‘fully supports’ these cuts. Send a message from your street to Downing Street to save King George Hospital. Vote Labour.”

But Labour group leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “The leaflet talks about concerns at a national level. It quotes what David Cameron said when in opposition and how he’s done something completely different when in government.

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“There’s nothing in the leaflet quoted locally. We know Keith Prince, Lee Scott (Ilford North MP) and the Liberal Democrats under Ian Bond don’t want to see hospital services closed.”

He added he felt the cross party co-operation was still active.

The candidates for the by-election, called after the resignation of Labour’s Cllr Mike Figg for family reasons, are:

• Clive Durdle – Green Party

• Christopher Greaves – Liberal Democrats•

• Melvyn Marks – Conservative Party

• Debbie Thiara – Labour Party

• Daniel Warville – British National Party

• Paul Wiffen – UK Independence Party

Polling station are in: William Torbitt Primary School, Eastern Avenue, Newbury Park; Mulberry Lodge Day Centre, Mulberry Way, Barkingside; Newbury Park Primary School, Perrymans Farm Road, Newbury Park and Ashurst Drive Baptist Church hall, Ashurst Drive, Barkingside.