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A&E: Craig Whittaker challanged to debate

Monday, 21 July 2014

Josh Fenton-Glynn - Labour's parliamentary candidate for Calder Valley - has challenged his incumbent Tory counterpart Craig Whittaker to a debate over their prospective stances on the future of A&E provision in Calderdale.

Fenton-Glynn made the offer of a debate in response to an article on the subject by Whittaker in last week's Courier, in which he appeared to question whether there was even any risk to the future of emergency services at Halifax and Huddersfield hospitals.

Josh Fenton-Glynn told the HebWeb, "This shouldn't be about party politics, it should be about local people fighting for our A&E services together, but time and time again our current MP has gone out of his way to demonstrate his opposition to the efforts of people across the area trying to save our crucial emergency units from closure.

"So I'm offering him the opportunity to debate the issue with me, so that we can let local people know where we stand. My stance is simple – I'm against closing either A&E unit and I'll do everything in my power to ensure they stay open. Mr Whittaker on the other hand has given us a confusing mixture of denial of there being a threat at all, accusations of scaremongering to those who are leading the campaign against closures, and expressing of a personal preference that he'd like to see both Halifax and Huddersfield A&Es closed.

"I think local people want an MP who'll fight their corner on this – so a debate would be an ideal opportunity for both of us to put our case."

"Sticks of celery"

"Mr Whittaker, in his latest article, would have us believe there is no threat to our A&E, yet at the same time he also appears to believe that those proposed changes he denies exist are a good thing. His response in the days after the story first broke was to support option four, which would see both Halifax and Huddersfield A&Es closed. He has gone on to continually refer to those who disagree with him as scaremongering, and in one rather odd instance, 'sticks of celery' (I have a screen grab of the tweet)."