Lengthy speeches by backbench Conservative MPs designed to thwart the passing of a bill that seeks to scrap hospital parking charges for carers were “a disgrace”, says UKIP health spokesman Louise Bours.
She said the delaying tactics – including two Tory speeches lasting well over an hour – heralded “a return of the nasty party”.
The bill calling for the change was discussed at length in a House of Commons debate today (FRI).
Currently, parking policies are set by individual NHS trusts across England. Charges were abolished in Scotland and Wales in 2008.
The proposed exemption for carers would have applied to English NHS hospitals, walk-in centres, GP practices and private hospitals.
Ms Bours, MEP for the North West region, said: “What we’ve witnessed in the Commons today is an absolute disgrace.
“The Tories quite deliberately droned on and on in order to use up the time set for the debate and prevent it from going to a vote which would have helped move it forward to become law.
“This from the party that really wants people to think of them as ‘compassionate Conservatives’? A return of the nasty party, more like.
“Hospital parking charges are nothing more than a tax on the sick and those who care for them.
“Carers have a tough enough time as it is without expecting them to fork out every time they offer up their time to visit someone in hospital.
“Personally, I would go further and have hospital parking charges scrapped altogether.
“In our general election manifesto we pledged to invest £200 million to make parking at English hospitals free for patients and their visitors.
“It’s a no brainer that England should absolutely have the same model as Scotland and Wales when it comes to hospital parking policies.
“The Tories should be ashamed of themselves for torpedoing what I’m sure would have been a very popular new policy throughout the country.”