Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith says Corby Urgent Care Centre represents the ‘future of the NHS’

MP Owen Smith chats to Prof Robert Harris, CEO of Lakeside Healthcare, on his visit to Corby

MP Owen Smith chats to Prof Robert Harris, CEO of Lakeside Healthcare, on his visit to Corby

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Vocal Corby Labour party members demanded leadership contender Owen Smith explain how he was going to unite a party that is split down the middle during a visit to the town this afternoon.

Mr Smith was in the town to visit the Urgent Care Centre in Cottingham Road, where he met chief executive Professor Robert Harris and members of staff who told him about the work at the centre.

Corby CLP members grill MP Owen Smith at the qube bar

Corby CLP members grill MP Owen Smith at the qube bar

He said he was impressed by the innovation at the 8-8 emergency care offered at the facility that was set up to ease pressure on Kettering A&E services. It has a catchment of 200,000 people.

Mr Smith said: “I’ve seen today how innovative this site is and how we could be much more efficient if we invest in the NHS in the proper way.

“This is the modern version of a cottage hospital where patients can get care closer to their homes.

“This is what people want their NHS to look like in the future.”

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith at Corby Urgent Care Centre

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith at Corby Urgent Care Centre

Mr Smith also said that winning a seat like Corby was crucial if Labour were to return to power at the next general election.

He said: “It’s crucial to win seats like Corby. We have got to win it but right now we don’t look like winning.”

Mr Smith then visited the qube bar in Corby town centre to speak to constituency Labour party members. They expressed their anger that the party they love has been split by the challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Councillor Mary Butcher said: “We need to stop all this infighting. I have been a Labour party member since I can remember but at this moment I am feeling very cast out and alone.”

From left:Former Corby MP Andy Sawford, labour leadership contender Owen Smith, Professor Robert Harris, CEO of Lakeside Healthcare and leader of Corby Borough Council Tom Beattie at Corby Urgent Care Centre

From left:Former Corby MP Andy Sawford, labour leadership contender Owen Smith, Professor Robert Harris, CEO of Lakeside Healthcare and leader of Corby Borough Council Tom Beattie at Corby Urgent Care Centre

Sonia Mathieson asked Mr Smith: “We have a a divided party. How are you going to pull it together?”

Mr Smith said: “People have a binary choice between mr and Jeremy Corbyn.

“Jermey is the hopeless and I am the hope. He is not a team player. I command respect and have support across the whole Parliamentary Labour Party.

“I think I have the ideas and the energy to win. The PLP lost faith in Corby because they don’t think he can lead us to victory.

Staff members at Corby Urgent Care Centre with MP Owen Smith

Staff members at Corby Urgent Care Centre with MP Owen Smith

“He’s a weak leader. He’s not leading the whole party and he’s not tried very hard.”

Owen Smith meets Corby CLP members at the qube bar

Owen Smith meets Corby CLP members at the qube bar