Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and a team of volunteers, have been running a shop – known as a Shopital – outside the hospital, selling Sainsbury’s goods to nurses, ambulance staff and doctors.
Good for him! At last, an MP doing some good for the community.
Writing on his Twitter feed on Monday (March 30), Mr Loughton said: “Incredibly after a complaint from a member of the public to the council’s environmental health department, we are not allowed to give away fresh ready meals kindly donated by a Shoreham firm to Shopital to give away to NHS staff coming off shift.”
Some of his followers were less than impressed, describing the decision as ‘unbelievable’, ‘ridiculous’ and ‘petty’.
Hmmm, an MP falling foul of petty bureaucratic tickboxing, eh? How delicious!
One suggested NHS staff were ‘far better placed to judge level of risk’, while another asked: “When did the UK become a nation of busy-bodies?”
When people like Tim rushed legislation through Parliament without proper checks, or regard to how it might affect things, I think?
By Tuesday morning (March 31) a compromise had been reached – although the MP said he had been ‘obliged by environmental health to register as an official food business’ – and the team will be handing out 50 meals this evening.
It’d take a heart of stone, wouldn’t it?
Clearly annoyed by the complaint, Mr Loughton said: “Under ‘description’ on the form, there was no box to tick for ‘volunteer food supplier to critical front-line NHS staff in an emergency so don’t be so bloody stupid’.
There never is, Tim.
Perhaps when this is all over, you’ll remember how petty bureaucrats prevented you from doing something good, and you’ll scrutinise legislation you get asked to vote on much, much more closely?