UK Politics

Theresa May asked about nuclear and NHS in Copeland visit

Theresa May Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Theresa May is hoping the Conservatives can go one better than in 2015

Theresa May faced questions about local NHS services and the future of a major nuclear project as she visited Copeland ahead of a Parliamentary by-election.

The PM said Labour was "scaremongering" over NHS cuts but would not match her candidate's opposition to the downgrading of maternity services.

And she said the Tories were committed to the nuclear industry amid questions about a new multibillion power plant.

Labour criticised her "lack of action" on the Moorside plant's future.

It comes after Toshiba, a major backer of the £10bn scheme, sustained heavy losses - raising question marks about its involvement.

During her visit to the west Cumbrian constituency, Mrs May said the consortium involved in Moorside had been "absolutely clear" about their commitment to the project, adding that the Conservatives were the party most committed to the nuclear industry.

But the GMB Union, which is calling for a "government-backed Plan B", accused her of "ducking the question".

Energy strategy

Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the government should take a share in the project - which is opposed by the Green Party - accusing ministers of a "failed and incoherent energy strategy".

On the NHS, Mrs May said the government was considering commissioning a professionally-led review of the recruitment and retention of doctors in west Cumbria.

She made the announcement as she was asked about plans to move consultant-led maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, 40 miles away.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron accused her of "weasel words" and called for a "clear and definitive decision that services will be protected".

UKIP, which came third in the 2015 general election, is campaigning on a pro-nuclear platform and for the full return of fishing rights to the region after Brexit.

The Copeland by-election, triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Jamie Reed, takes place on 23 February.

Here is a full list of candidates, in alphabetical order by surname:

  • Michael Guest - Independent
  • Rebecca Hanson - Liberal Democrats
  • Trudy Harrison - Conservatives
  • Roy Ivinson - Independent
  • Jack Lenox - Green Party
  • Fiona Mills - UKIP
  • Gillian Troughton - Labour

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