Mother of sick child 'waiting hours for a bed in A&E' is Labour voter
Mother, 23, behind the second politically-charged photo of a sick child ‘waiting hours for a bed in A&E’ reveals she is a Labour supporter as she appears on the Victoria Derbyshire show
- Louise Webb, 23, waited five hours overnight with her daughter Lily at hospital
- Had to wait a further hour to see a paediatrician at Countess of Chester Hospital
- They were told Lily could be admitted, but there were no beds on children’s ward
- It emerged one day after plight of sick boy, 4, was thrust into election spotlight
- Jack Williment-Barr was forced to lie on hospital floor due to NHS overcrowding
A young mother who took a photograph of her nine-month-old baby waiting for a bed in A&E on a hospital chair revealed today that she is a Labour supporter.
Louise Webb, 23, of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, waited five hours overnight with her daughter Lily to be seen at the Countess of Chester Hospital last Wednesday.
She says she then had to wait a further hour to see a paediatrician and was told Lily could be admitted, but there were no beds at that point on the children’s ward.
Her story was featured on the front page of the Daily Mirror today, one day after the plight of a sick boy forced to lie on a hospital floor due to NHS overcrowding was thrust into the election spotlight yesterday.
Boris Johnson was criticised for his seemingly unsympathetic reaction to the story of four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr yesterday, when ITV reporter Joe Pike challenged him with an image of the boy lying on the hospital floor.
Victoria Derbyshire challenged Miss Webb about the circumstances of her own photograph today, and she insisted it was not staged, said she was not trying to politicise the issue but added ‘obviously I’m a Labour supporter’.
Louise Webb, 23, of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, told the BBC today how she waited overnight with her daughter Lily to be seen at the Countess of Chester Hospital last Wednesday
The family had to stay up all night at the hospital waiting to be seen with Lily on a chair, and took the photograph of her at 2am, which she then sent into the Daily Mirror (pictured today)
Boris Johnson’s hopes of winning a majority hang in the balance after disastrous day on the campaign trail
Boris Johnson’s hopes of winning a majority are hanging in the balance with just two days until the general election after a new poll showed the Tory lead over Labour is now just seven points.
The Savanta ComRes survey, conducted between December 6-8, puts the Tories on 43 per cent and Labour on 36 per cent.
If such numbers were replicated on polling day it could lead to a hung parliament, with the Electoral Calculus website suggesting it would leave the Conservatives a handful of seats short of a majority.
Tory strategists are concerned Labour may not need to gain a single seat to oust Mr Johnson with the party’s private polling showing losing just 12 seats to the SNP and Lib Dems could put Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10.
Mr Johnson will today try to get his campaign back on track after a disastrous day for the Tories yesterday which saw the PM embroiled in a damaging row over the treatment of a sick four-year-old boy who was photographed lying on the floor of Leeds General Infirmary.
The PM was confronted with the widely-publicised picture of Jack Williment-Barr by ITV reporter Joe Pike and initially refused to look at it as he put the interviewer’s phone in his pocket before backing down.
The hospital row then worsened as the Tories wrongly accused a Labour activist of punching Matt Hancock’s adviser as the Health Secretary left the hospital in question after trying to defuse the row. A video of the altercation showed the aide had walked into the protestor’s hand.
Mr Johnson then published a new Tory party political broadcast on his Twitter page at 9.36pm last night in a move which appeared to be designed to force the election campaign focus away from the NHS and back onto the PM’s preferred battleground of Brexit.
In the video, released early, Mr Johnson recreates a famous scene from the film Love Actually as he knocks on a member of the public’s door and uses a slideshow of cards with handwritten messages on to hammer home his core election mantra of ‘Get Brexit Done’.
The timing of the publication of the ‘Brexit, actually’ video raised eyebrows because it came at the end of a torrid day for the Tories and with the Conservative Party due to broadcast the election advert at 6.55pm on the BBC this evening.
Tory sources denied the advert had been rushed out as they said it was first broadcast by BBC Wales yesterday evening.
Today, Ms Webb was asked on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire programme if she was politicising her daughter because she voted Labour at the last election.
Ms Webb replied: ‘When I actually sent the email yesterday, I read the article of the little boy on the floor. I had a similar experience, nothing to the extent of that.
‘I wouldn’t expect it to be on the news in the morning. There is obviously a problem with the funding to the Government.
‘But this isn’t a political side to me – this is more of an anger and an upset as a parent that this a service that is meant to provide.
‘Also for our children, the ones that can’t speak, we have to defend them and look after them. I don’t see it as a political view. I’ve had many questions – is it political?
‘It’s very close to the election and I understand how people are like, this is all faked and staged, but no. I’m obviously a Labour supporter, but no.’
Ms Lily took Lily, who had deteriorated following four weeks of being unwell, to hospital with her partner Thomas Noden, 24, and they were signed in at 12.45am.
Lily had a sunken soft spot, and was badly dehydrated while suffering from an ear infection, vomiting and diarrhoea.
But the family had to stay up all night waiting to be seen with Lily on a chair, and took the photograph of her at 2am, which she then sent into the Daily Mirror.
Today, Ms Webb said: ‘I was upset, I remember just sitting there – funnily enough, when I took the photo – and thinking this isn’t right, this is failing our children now.
‘I understand there was probably people above the queue who needed to be seen soon, but there must have been seven children in the kids’ zone who were waiting for a good five, six hours to be seen.
‘It makes you angry as a parent because this service is meant to help our children, and I know the doctors and nurses of the NHS are doing everything they can.
‘I don’t know if it’s the lack of funding, but something obviously needs to change. If there’s no beds, then there’s very little help.
‘I have this outlook of like does your child have to deteriorate before someone will see your child? Because that’s not right, if that make sense.’
Ms Webb added that Lily had ‘still got a cough, but it’s that time of year’, and while she has had ‘a bit of a rough time’ in recent weeks, she is now feeling much better.
Hospital chief executive Dr Susan Gilby said: ‘We apologise to anyone who has to wait longer than four hours. We would be very grateful to receive their feedback.’
It comes after the controversy over Jack Williment-Barr yesterday, which saw Leeds General Infirmary apologise and say it had had its busiest week since 2016.
The exchange with Mr Johnson saw him tell an ITV reporter: ‘You refuse to look at the photo. You’ve taken my phone and put it in your pocket, Prime Minister.’
Mr Johnson then took the phone out of his pocket, looked at the photo on the screen, and said: ‘It’s a terrible, terrible photo. And I apologise obviously to the families and all those who have terrible experiences in the NHS.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was dispatched to Leeds General Infirmary to attempt to defuse the story.
When ITV’s Jo Pike tried to show Boris Johnson a picture of Jack Williment-Barr on his phone yesterday, the PM declined to look at it. He eventually took the device and put it in his pocket
Asked about the incident during an interview on LBC, Mr Johnson said: ‘Of course I sympathise very much and I apologise to everybody who has a bad experience.
‘By and large I think the NHS do an amazing job and I think that they deserve all praise for the service they provide – but they do need investment and that’s why we’re doing it now.’
Labour activists found out about Mr Hancock’s visit and urged activists to rush there to stage a protest, even offering to pay for their cabs.
It comes one day after the plight of Jack Williment-Barr, four, forced to lie on a hospital floor in Leeds due to NHS overcrowding was thrust into the election spotlight yesterday
A Tory source later suggested that an aide to Mr Hancock had been punched by one of the protesters, but video of the confrontation proved this to be incorrect.
It prompted an angry reaction from Labour. A spokesman said: ‘The Tories are so desperate to distract from a four-year-old boy sleeping on a hospital floor because of their cuts to the NHS that, once again, they have resorted to barefaced lying.
‘This is a new low and the Conservative party has serious question to answer.’
Speaking in Bristol yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn branded Jack’s treatment a ‘disgrace’ and attacked the Tories’ handling of the health service.
‘A child being treated on the floor is a disgrace to our society,’ he said.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth also criticised the PM’s actions, saying: ‘Refusing to even look at an image of a child suffering because of Conservative cuts to the NHS is a new low for Boris Johnson. It’s clear he could not care less.’
Jeremy Corbyn spoke to a crowd in Bristol yesterday with the picture of Jack on the floor
Jack’s mother, Sarah Williment, who said she was previously a Tory voter but will now vote Labour, told the Daily Mirror: ‘He was without a bed for four-and-a-half hours.
‘There was no bed for him in A&E and there was no bed for him on the ward, so he just had to sleep on the floor.’
Jack was later diagnosed with flu and tonsillitis and was discharged from hospital the next day.
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