A political campaigner who took her protest to the doorstep of South Ribble’s MP was shocked to find the building locked up at the weekend.
Veronica Bennett, the Labour group’s prospective parliamentary candidate for South Ribble, is fighting for Lorraine Fullbrook to back her plight to save the NHS from privatisation.
A petition nearing 2,000 signatures was taken to the office address advertised on the Conservative MP’s website on Saturday.
But Miss Bennett said: “Apparently the office quietly closed down weeks ago, without her constituents being told.
“I’m pretty shocked. I’d heard complaints she’s not very available for constituents but it turns out she’s packed up and left.
“There’s a pile of letters from constituents just left in the doorway.
“People are still writing to her at this address, potentially with urgent problems, and it’s pretty poor if she’s not getting back to them.”
Protesters wore hospital aprons with signatures from some of the people who are backing the campaign, and Miss Bennett also donned a surgical face mask and sat in a wheelchair to make her point.
“I won’t let the petition signatories down,” she added.
“I’ll take it to Downing Street myself if I have to, to get our message across to end the sell-off of our NHS services”.
When the Guardian called the telephone number for the MP’s South Ribble office in Whitestake, it was transferred to Westminster.
Mrs Fullbrook explained she relocated from the Whitestake premise in February, and now holds her surgeries from an office in Much Hoole.
“There wasn’t a big pile of letters on Saturday, there was only seven there,” she said.
“Someone is going round regularly to collect mail from Whitestake.
“Royal Mail has diverted the mail to Much Hoole but that was only for a six-month period, so while we’re renewing it, it’s landing on the doorstep in Whitestake again.
“I’ll hold my hands up that the office address hasn’t been changed on my website – we’re sorting that out now.”
Mrs Fullbrook is stepping down in May for ‘personal reasons’, but insisted she is still dedicated to the role and is “usually in South Ribble on a weekly basis.”
She said she has ‘no idea’ what Miss Bennett’s petition is about, despite responding to a story about the campaign in the Guardian a few weeks ago.
Commenting on the protest over the weekend, she added: “This is a woman who is proposing to be an MP, and she is resorting to fancy dress. If she wanted to hand me her petition, she should have called me up and made an appointment.
“No MP is at their office on a Saturday anyway. It’s ludicrous.”