Tory MP Priti Patel said party HQ workers felt 'threatened' by 'thuggish' group of elderly and disabled campaigners

She accused the People's NHS campaigners of "intimidation and harassment”

Kashmira Gander@kashmiragander
Sunday 02 August 2015 22:55
Priti Patel reportedly called a campaign group "thugs"
Priti Patel reportedly called a campaign group "thugs"

A campaign group working to protect the NHS have hit out at Employment Minister Priti Patel, after she allegedly described members that gathered at her office – some of whom were elderly and or disabled – as a “thuggish gang”.

Members of the People’s NHS gathered outside Ms Patel’s constituency HQ in Witham, Essex, to urge her to protect the NHS against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships which they fear will lead to the health service being privatised.

A photo of the protest shows around a dozen demonstrators holding a banner reading “fight for our NHS” and protecting themselves from the rain with umbrellas.

Witham locals visted Priti Patel, the local MP, because they're worried about the NHS. Priti responded by accusing them...

Posted by The People's NHS on Sunday, 2 August 2015

Ms Patel responded to the demonstration by writing to Unite union boss Len McCluskey, who she wrongly believed was heading the campaign.

The letter read, according to The Sunday Mirror, that the woman who works at the Witham Conservative Association office “felt harassed, frightened and intimated” by “a thuggish gang of People’s NHS campaigners”.

Ms Patel went on to accuse the group of “intimidation and harassment”.

People’s NHS has since launched a petition calling on the MP to acknowledge they are not thugs.

“A number of your constituents held a small, peaceful protest outside your office. You responded by writing to a union leader accusing them of orchestrating an attack by a 'group of thugs',” the petition reads.

It goes on: “We're not union members, nor are we thugs. We're your voters, and we're worried about the NHS.”

The Independent has contacted the Department of Work and Pensions for a comment from the MP, but has not yet received a response.

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