TWO Hampshire MPs have reacted angrily to the Government’s decision to ignore a 15,300-signature petition from anti-fluoride protesters.
Both Romsey MP Sandra Gidley and Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne accompanied Hampshire Against Fluoridation campaigners last month to Downing Street to hand in the petition.
But this week Health Minister Ann Keen insisted the Government remained firmly in favour of fluoridation to improve people’s dental health, as reported in yesterday’s Daily Echo.
Mrs Gidley described the decision as “bizarre”.
She said: “They may be in favour of fluoridation but it’s up to them to make the case to the public, which they have clearly failed to do. They are in favour of fluoridation but don’t appear to be in favour of local democracy. I am just filled with despair.
“How will the Government expect anyone to have any faith in what they are doing when in consultations the public is increasingly ignored.”
Meanwhile, Mr Huhne said the Government’s refusal to step in and re-examine the controversial plans was “entirely consistent” with its approach to fluoridation.
“First of all they gave powers to the Strategic Health Authority to over-ride the local community.
“The consultation process was a charade which ignored the views of 72 per cent of the local people.
“I am afraid this is consistent with the past arrogance that has seen local opinion ignored.”
Southampton’s two MPs, John Denham and Alan Whitehead, who have both said the fluoridation plans should be put on hold until there is greater public support, were unavailable for comment.
Health bosses want to add fluoride to the water supplies of 200,000 households covering parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams.
Throughout the Strategic Health Authority has insisted its consultation into the plan was carried out fairly and that fluoridation would help to improve children’s dental health.
Meanwhile the Royal Courts of Justice is currently considering an application from a Southampton woman to scrutinise the SHA board’s unanimous decision to give fluoridation the go-ahead and the Health Ombudsman is deciding whether to investigate the way the decision was made.