Sir Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, secured a question to the Prime Minister at Boris Johnson’s penultimate Prime Minister’s Questions today.
Sir Mike called on the outgoing PM to intervene to ensure the West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals Trust will commission the construction of a new acute hospital on a greenfield site in West Hertfordshire.
In response the Prime Minister replied with the Trust’s official position that they have considered all options and have settled on a rebuild at Watford with comparatively tiny improvements at Hemel Hempstead and St Albans.
In follow up Sir Mike told the PM that the Trust has not considered all options and also pointed out that the Trust is now looking for £1.2 billion for the Watford tower block solution.
Sir Mike asked the PM to leave a note in the drawer of the Prime Minister’s desk in No. 10 for the new incumbent to say “Penning needs a new hospital on a greenfield site!”
At the end of the Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Mike made a Point of Order to set on formal record that the PM has been misled by the Trust when he has been told that the Trust has considered ‘all options’. This is simply not the case.
Speaking afterwards, Sir Mike said:
“The PM was given totally misleading information by the Trust on this. We all know they haven’t considered all options. Apart from that, the new costing of £1.2 billion is frankly laughable and will certainly be looked on with incredulity by the Treasury if they are brave enough to put it forward!
“We need a bit of realist common sense here at some point. A new hospital on a new site is the best option from every point of view. It really is that simple.”