Campaigners blocked from handing petition to Downing Street

Siobhan Gearing and Sue Hayman MP say the decision not to allow them through was not taken by the police. Credit: Sue Hayman MP

Cumbrian healthcare campaigners say they have been blocked from handing a petition against cuts to services to Downing Street.

Local Labour MP Sue Hayman, who represents Workington, made the trip to London today with local campaigner Siobhan Gearing.

The petition, which has been signed by 30,000 people, protests against plans proposed by the government-appointed Success Regime, which has been tasked with improving healthcare in Cumbria.

These proposals include the downgrading of maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, which could mean a 40-minute journey to Carlisle for pregnant women who suffer birth complications.

Sue Hayman MP told ITV Border that she had been told she could present the petition at Downing Street at 4pm today.

However, she says she was initially told to wait by the police.

Having done so for around 15 minutes, she says a security official from Downing Street approached, and told her she would have to return to present the petition on another day, or leave it with the police at the gate.

Downing Street sent the following statement.

Sue Hayman MP has since Tweeted that the "five day" rule only applies to members of the public, not MPs.