Ever wished you’d given a better answer to a question or made a wittier response to a barb? It certainly seems Boris has and, unlike the rest of us, he’s not limited to impotently wishing he had a time machine to go back and relive the moment.
At last month’s Mayor’s Question Time Labour AM Onkar Sahota tabled a question asking:
“Given the increasing concern over access issues at Hillingdon Hospital, especially as the hospital is a proposed location for the continued relocation of hospital services under the ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’, is the mayor concerned that the proposed and agreed new car park for Hillingdon Hospital will now not be built?”
Boris of course doesn’t have control over the NHS and so, true to form, he batted the question away with the following response:
“Hillingdon Hospital is part of an NHS Foundation Trust and as such it is entirely for the Trust to make this decision.”
But it seems to have belatedly dawned on the Mayor that while he doesn’t run the NHS in London and has no responsibility for Hillingdon Hospital, he does represent the hospital’s users in Parliament.
A few days after answering Sahota, the Mayor and his team edited the City Hall website to replace his initial answer with this more informative version:
“I am aware of local concerns around aspects of the current redevelopment at Hillingdon Hospital, including car parking provision.
“As Mayor and as the local MP, I am working closely with the NHS Foundation Trust and the other local MPs to identify how best to improve hospital provision for local people.
“I met recently with the Trust to discuss those concerns and I sought and received assurances over car parking provision.”
Sahota remains unimpressed, commenting: “Given the longstanding concerns over the lack of car parking spaces at Hillingdon Hospital I was surprised and disappointed to learn that the Mayor of London has washed his hands of the problem, even if he did belatedly wake up to the fact it is in his own back yard.
“As Hillingdon Hospital faces increasing pressures resulting from the biggest programme of hospital cuts and closures North West London has ever seen, demand for the limited and costly parking spaces at the hospital will only increase. It’s surprising that as Mayor, let alone the local MP, Boris didn’t have any view on this until he was criticised by the local press.
“Instead of simply batting important issues aside and refusing to criticise the cuts his colleagues in Government have implemented the Mayor should be standing up for residents. Quite why the Mayor believes his constituents should continue to have such poor access to the hospital is not clear.
“Maybe this is just another cause which fell through the cracks of the Mayor’s many different roles. Whatever the case, it’s clear Boris’ total indifference to local issues should be of real concern to his new constituents.”
Maybe Boris should take a break from book writing and spend a weekend or two touring his local constituency to familiarise himself with its landmarks and key public services?