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Tory candidate shares smears about sick boy

Wendy Maisey promoted conspiracy that tragic image of a child on hospital floor was staged ‘to sway election’

A TORY parliamentary candidate’s suitability for office has been called into doubt after she circulated “social media smears and conspiracy theories” about a sick four-year-old and his family.

Warrington North candidate Wendy Maisey has been criticised for sharing a post which alleged that the story of Jack Williment-Barr, a boy left on a hospital floor for hours because there was no available bed, was false.

Jack was rushed to the Leeds General Infirmary last week with suspected pneumonia but was left on the ground for over four hours while he waited for a bed to become free.

A shocking photograph released by his mother Sarah Williment showed Jack bundled in coats and other items of clothing on the floor of the hospital.

But a widely circulated social media post from an account purporting to belong to Sheree Jenner-Hepburn said that a nurse at “Leeds Hospital” told her that Ms Williment placed her son on the floor as part of a “Momentum propaganda story.”

Ms Maisey shared the post, commenting that she thought it was “disgusting what some people will do to sway an election,” in an apparent attack on the boy’s family.

She retweeted her own post, as well as an attack on Ms Williment from a user who said: “Mother must be a member of the Commie Corbyn Cult.”

However, “Leeds Hospital” does not exist and Ms Jenner-Hepburn is now claiming that her computer had been hacked.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust chief medical officer Dr Yvette Oade confirmed that the ordeal occurred, saying: “Our hospitals are extremely busy at the moment and we are very sorry that Jack’s family had a long wait in our emergency department.

“Our chief executive Julian Hartley has spoken to Jack’s mum and offered a personal apology.”

Dozens of Twitter users slammed Ms Maisey for sharing the misinformation, with one saying: “Disgusting what Tories will do to lie their way into power.”

And Labour parliamentary candidate for Warrington North Charlotte Nichols told the Morning Star: “When the chief medical officer at the hospital has confirmed it was real and apologised, it’s very concerning to see Wendy Maisey circulate social media smears and conspiracy theories about a sick child and his family — particularly given one of the accounts she retweeted has a history of vile Islamophobic tweets.

“It really calls into question her suitability for a position that involves scrutinising complex legislation if she couldn’t even tell this was clearly fake news.

“Our NHS is in crisis and facing its worst-ever winter because of Tory cuts.

“It’s very telling that, rather than taking responsibility for this, they’re attacking the very families who aren’t getting the care they need. Our country deserves so much better than this.”

It comes as Labour warns that five more years of Tory rule could cause NHS waiting lists to grow to 5.8 million people by the end of 2024.

The party’s findings, based on projections using official NHS England data, also warn that the number of people waiting two months for cancer treatment will rise from 29,732 in 2018 to 47,554 in 2024.

And the number of people waiting more than four hours in A&E is projected to reach 448,525 a month in 2024, up on 320,034 in October 2019 and 41,231 in November 2010.

Ms Maisey had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

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