Keith Taylor MEP: Parties should scrap Trident and put our NHS first

Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East, has responded with disappointment to the news that Labour has joined the Conservatives in committing to the renewal of Trident, as revealed by the Party’s leaked manifesto.

The Green Party MEP has urged the parties to put ‘the NHS before nuclear’ and halt the ‘catastrophic £205bn nuclear folly’.

NHS spending under the Conservative government is at its lowest levels since the 1950s  and, at the same time, the service has been asked to make £22bn worth of cuts. Cuts which are responsible for 30,000 excess deaths according to researchers – an unprecedented rise in mortality.

Underfunding and secretive sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) will see thousands of NHS beds slashed across the country, cutting NHS capacity by more than 5 million patients every year, scores of A&E departments closed or downgraded and the loss of vital maternity care services in regions across England.

At the same time, the two leading candidates for Prime Minister have now pledged to renew the Trident nuclear weapons programme, at an estimated cost of £205bn.

Mr Taylor, a member of the European Union’s Public Health Committee, believes it is time to prioritise the NHS over nuclear. He said:

“This situation is ridiculous; Britain’s two main political parties seem more concerned with blowing £205bn on the capacity to indiscriminately kill millions than safeguarding the health of the British people.”

“The NHS is being systematically underfunded and needs an urgent and significant cash injection. Yet Labour is joining the Conservatives in committing to wasting billions of pounds on a nuclear weapons system Jeremy Corbyn has admitted he would never use.”

“The British people are being offered a choice between Tory strike-first nuclear fanaticisms and Labour’s HMS Pointless. Meanwhile, people are being treated in corridors while we flush money away on nuclear weapons. Cancelling Trident would give our NHS more than £3bn per year.”

“We need a fully funded, truly public NHS. As the world’s fifth largest economy, we can afford so much better. We must provide the British people with the social and hospital care service they deserve.”

“I’m urging the Government, whatever shape it takes on June 9, to put our NHS before nuclear. In the short-term, that means scrapping Trident. In the long-term, to have any hope of restoring a well-funded and truly public health service, politicians must come together to support the cross-party NHS Reinstatement Bill.”