Unite: Liberal Democrat MPs ‘insult’ man with HIV who raised concerns over the ‘privatisation’ health bill

Two Liberal Democrat MPs have been accused of insulting a businessman, who is HIV positive, after he protested at their party’s stance over the controversial Health and Social Care bill.

Forty-eight-year old self-employed businessman, Andrew Schofield, was told he was talking ‘complete drivel’ and engaging in ‘an unsolicited bar-room rant’ when he expressed concerns about how, as someone living with HIV, he would pay for his medication if the pro-privatisation bill becomes law.

Andrew Stunell, MP for Hazel Grove, emailed Mr Schofield: “Consider just how counterproductive it is likely to be to send an unsolicited bar-room rant to a load of very busy people at the end of a long day.”

Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, told Mr Schofield, who lives in Salford: “You win the prize for my most nonsensical email of the day” and that he was writing “complete drivel”.

Now Andrew Schofield has raised the “unacceptable and insulting language” with the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, which oversees the conduct of MPs and is seeking an apology.

He had written to all Liberal Democrats MPs to express his concern as a man “living with HIV and with no assurances that I will not have to pay for the medication that keeps me alive in the future” and how he believed that they would have “a desire to protect the most vulnerable and those at the margins of society.”

Unite head of health, Rachael Maskell, said: “The intemperate tone of these MPs’ language is to be deplored when a member of the public is concerned over the very sensitive issue of their future health prospects.

“Members of the public have very real concerns at the prospect of a privatised health service, and would expect that elected representatives would want to listen to these concerns.

“If the Liberal Democrats listened to the deafening chorus of patients, health professionals and the public, they would know that no one wants this bill, and that patients are very frightened about their health.

“They can scrap this bill if they vote with their consciences. The fact that they are resorting to mocking patients shows the level of contempt that they treat them with.

“We have only a very short time to save the NHS, as we know it, from the hands of the profiteering private health companies.”

Andrew Schofield, who said that he has never taken part in a political demonstration in his life, will be travelling to Gateshead this weekend to protest outside the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference.


Notes to news editors:

For further information please contact Unite communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940