It looks like Professor Tim Briggs won’t be contesting Harrow East as an independent after all.
The surgeon and medical director of Stanmore’s Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital had hinted at an election bid to unseat Labour MP Tony McNulty earlier in the week. He threatened to run if the Department of Health didn’t find the £60m funding to make much-needed improvements.
Briggs has been campaigning for the hospital, Harrow East’s biggest employer, for some 15 years. It seems he is now a step closer, following a promise by Health Secretary Andy Burnham to find the money.
He hasn’t totally ruled out a 2010 bid though, and nothing has been said to absolutely guarantee the funding. Speaking to the Evening Standard he said:
“I’ve had a meeting with the Secretary of State and I’m going to sit tight until March. He realises this is an urgent matter for the NHS. He says he’s positive about the outcome.”
Whether or not Briggs does mount a challenge to McNulty, the election race is already heating up, with Conservative challenger Bob Blackman already very vocal in public.
Will Briggs add some fuel to the Harrow East political fire? Watch this space.