Labour MP places healthcare and Turkey at the centre of her re-election campaign in marginal north London constituency
Joan Ryan put local healthcare at the centre of her campaign as she launched her bid to be re-elected MP for Enfield North.
The Labour Party politician said Chase Farm hospital could only be protected by re-electing her, arguing the A&E and maternity wards at the complex were closed down because she was not an MP to defend them.
She also attacked Prime Minister Theresa May’s foreign policy on Turkey, saying people in Enfield were “scared” of visiting their friends and family in the country for fear of being detained.
“I protected it,” Ms Ryan said, referring to the hospital in an interview with Haber newspaper.
“I made it clear I’d lie down in the road. No diggers or tractors were going to get past me and it was to whichever government, Labour or Tory, but as soon as [Conservative rival] Nick de Bois got in he made one promise and then he broke it.”
The Enfield North constituency is home to large numbers of Turkish and Kurdish-speaking people and will be a key battleground between Labour and the Conservatives in the 8 June general election.
Ms Ryan has been the MP since 1997 except for a five-year spell after 2010, when she lost the seat to the Conservative Nick de Bois. She regained it from him in 2015.
Mr de Bois has confirmed that he will be standing against her once more, setting the stage for a fifth contest between them.
Chase Farm defence
“I stand on my record,” Ms Ryan said.
“It is crucially important who your local MP is. Anyone who doesn’t think so is wrong and that is why I give the massive, big, staring-in-your-face example that we have here in Enfield, and it is our hospital.”
Chase Farm’s A&E unit was closed in December 2013, despite widespread local opposition. The hospital now operates an Urgent Care Centre, which can treat most injuries and illnesses that are urgent but not life-threatening, which is openly from 8am to 10pm daily.
Earlier Ms Ryan told an audience at a Turkish community centre “In 2010, when the Tories won this seat of Enfield North, they promised the voter they wouldn’t close the hospital. 2013, as soon as I am not there as the MP, they closed that hospital.
“And don’t be fooled by them saying it’s not closed. We are getting a small, elective surgery, a kind of cottage hospital where non-urgent, non-complex operations will happen, but what have we lost?
“We had 500 beds at that hospital. We’ll have 48 at the New Year with no A&E and no maternity [ward].”