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More than 250 parliamentary candidates from 10 different political parties have signed a pledge saying they will work towards the NHS getting an extra £40bn a year in funding if they are elected in the general election. The pledge also commits candidates to push for outsourced services within the NHS to be brought back in house.

The ‘Pledge for the NHS‘ has been put together by anti-privatisation campaign group We Own It, with the backing of more than 20 other organisations including Keep Our NHS Public and Doctors’ Association UK. Public figures including Stephen Fry, Frankie Boyle, Rosie Holt, Lost Voice Guy and Ken Loach have also endorsed the pledge and called for candidates to sign it.

We Own It says that more than 11,000 people have contacted their parliamentary candidates about the pledge. That campaigning has led to 253 MP-hopefuls to sign up.

Over two thirds of the candidates to sign the pledge are standing for the Green Party of England and Wales. Both the Green Party’s co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay are among the 176 candidates for the party to have signed the pledge. Sian Berry, who is hoping to replace Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion, has also signed.

The SNP has the second highest number of signatories, with 21 of their candidates committing to it. Amy Callaghan – the SNP’s health spokesperson in Westminster – is among those to have signed.

Presently, just 10 Labour candidates have signed the pledge, with most signatures coming from the left of the party. Prominent left wingers to have signed up include John McDonnell, Zarah Sultana and Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

Nine Liberal Democrats have signed the pledge. However, none of those to have done so were an MP in the last parliament.

Plaid Cymru has also had nine of its candidates sign up, including the party’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts.

Among the other signatories are six candidates for Reform UK, four for the Workers Party of Britain – including former Labour MP Chris Williamson, two for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, one from the Scottish Green Party and one from the True and Fair Party.

19 independents have signed the pledge, including the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, former Labour MPs Emma Dent Coad and Claudia Webbe, and former South African MP Andrew Feinstein.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, no Tory candidates have signed the Pledge for the NHS.

Speaking to Left Foot Forward on the pledge, Johnbosco Nwogbo, lead campaigner at We Own It said: “Our NHS is in crisis. It has just lived through the worst 14 years of underfunding, understaffing and privatisation in its entire 75-year history. It is not at all an exaggeration to say it might not survive another five years of the same. So it matters terribly that those who are putting themselves forward to be elected into the house that will chart the NHS’s future have their priorities clear. 

“And these 253 candidates are clear that they do. It is very heartening to see so many candidates committing that they will fight for these three policies if they are elected to parliament. We are asking all candidates from every party to tell us where they stand on properly funding our NHS, ending privatisation and reinstating the health secretary’s legal duty to provide health services to all.”

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: UK Parliament / Public Domain / UK Parliament / UK Parliament / UK Parliament / UK Parliament / Public Domain / UK Parliament

The post EXCLUSIVE: Over 250 parliamentary candidates pledge to push for £40bn per year funding for NHS appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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