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Why didn't MP stand up for sick kids ward?

Byline: Kezia Dugdale follow @kdugdalemsp

ON three separate occasions as Labour leader, I stood in front of the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley alongside Neil Bibby MSP and countless members of the public reliant on the children's ward for their family's health and wellbeing.

Each time, I met families with very poorly children who were doing their best to hold down jobs and be by their children's bedside when it mattered.

Nicola Sturgeon insisted the ward wasn't under threat - but last week it was announced it is closing.

The local MP for the hospital is, of course, the SNP's Mhairi Black, a fellow columnist of this paper. She used her space here yesterday to say closing the ward was a mistake and she was disappointed. It was pretty much the first thing she'd said publicly about it in the four days since her own Government had announced the closure.

It's dismal stuff which proves Labour were telling the truth each time we stood up and highlighted plans to close the ward. The SNP were absent when a strong voice to stand up for local services was needed.

But here's the rub - Mhairi isn't usually shy at speaking out. And when she does, people usually listen. Why she didn't do more to defend this ward is beyond me.

One thing is for sure though - if she'd used her usual might and oratory, that ward would still be open. That fact she didn't means she is as guilty as the SNP minister over its closure. Her constituents won't forget that.

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Title Annotation:News; Opinion; Columns
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 23, 2018
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