Dorrell fury over `sordid' NHS claims

Poll positions: Labour accused of `scaremongering' at Staffordshire South East as Tories bid to regain ground at local elections
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The Independent Online
Labour was accused yesterday of deliberately repeating unfounded claims that a local health centre was to close as a scare tactic in the Staffordshire South East by-election.

Stephen Dorrell, the Secretary of State for Health, accused Labour candidate Brian Jenkins of "sordid scaremongering over the NHS" as he visited Tamworth's Sir Robert Peel hospital in the constituency.

"Labour's candidate has erroneously claimed a local health centre, the George Bryan Centre, is to close," Mr Dorrell said. He had persisted with "this wholly unfounded claim" despite a letter from Gerry Malone, the health minister, clearly stating it would remain open.

Mr Dorrell, supporting the Tory candidate, Jimmy James, said the Government was putting a further billion pounds into the health service nationally from this month.