A Tory MP has caused outrage after branding harmless campaigners as a “thuggish gang”.
Employment Minister Priti Patel said that workers at her party constituency HQ, felt ‘threatened’ by the ‘thuggish’ group of elderly and disabled campaigners .
The campaigners wanted to to urge Ms Patel to protect the NHS against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships which they believe will lead to the privatisation of the health service.
The Mirror reports: Members of the group were shocked and distressed by the Employment Minister’s attack.
The campaigners, including a wheelchair user and at least two needing walking sticks, visited Ms Patel’s constituency HQ to urge her to protect the health service.
After they braved the rain outside her office in Witham, Essex, she fired off a furious letter to Unite union boss Len McCluskey, who she said was behind the campaign.
Ms Patel wrote: “The lady who works in the Witham Conservative Association office felt harassed, frightened and intimated when a thuggish gang of People’s NHS campaigners came to our office.”
She said of the campaigners: “The intimidation, harassment and thuggish behaviour towards residents
The remarks by Ms Patel, tipped as a future Tory leader, infuriated the group who say the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will lead to NHS privatisation.
Malcolm Mead said: “At the age of 78 I never expected to be called a thug by my MP. Priti Patel should apologise and listen to our concerns.”
Sandra Piscina, 56, said: “All I did was raise my concerns.”
The People’s NHS has since launched a petition calling on the MP to acknowledge that they are not thugs.
The petition says: “We, your constituents, are worried about the NHS. We’re not thugs
A number of your constituents held a small, peaceful protest outside your office. You responded by writing to a union leader accuising them of orchestrating an attack by a ‘group of thugs’. We’re not union members, nor are we thugs. We’re your voters, and we’re worried about the NHS.”