Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn brands NHS hackers '21st Century highway robbers' in Lowestoft visit
PUBLISHED: 14:15 13 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:36 31 July 2017
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been visiting Gorleston and Lowestoft, where he described the cyber hackers who have hit the NHS as "a bunch of 21st Century highway robbers".
The Labour bus, with Mr Corbyn aboard, arrived in Lowestoft at just after 11am today.
Mr Corbyn is meeting campaigners and pensioners on the town’s seafront.
On the hack he said: “What we’ve now got is a bunch of 21st Century highway robbers who have hacked into our NHS. It’s unbelievably disgusting and I’ve nothing but contempt for the people who have done it.
“But I’m also very angry that, in 2014, there was a one year renewal of a protection system on the NHS systems which was not renewed after that and not renewed the year after that and so our systems are now not upgraded and not protected.
“As a result we have got this dreadful situation that NHS workers are facing today. I’ll tell you this, a Labour government would not leave our NHS’s very vital information systems unprotected. We would protect them.”
Accompanying Mr Corbyn on the Lowestoft visit was the party’s parliamentary candidate Sonia Barker for Waveney, with her leader urging voters to get her elected.
Mr Corbyn spoke for around 10 minutes about various issues, including that wages in coastal towns like Lowestoft were below the regional and national average.
One activist, Katie Stibbon, 39, spoke to Mr Corbyn with her four-year-old son Reuben.
She said she was not interested in politics until Mr Corbyn was elected.
She added: “I have voted for most of the parties, but now I am campaigning for Jeremy. It has changed my life having a politician I can believe in.”
Mr Corbyn then headed for Gorleston, to visit the James Paget University Hospital, which has been affected by the cyber hack.
He sought to play down his deputy leader’s concerns that Labour has “a mountain to climb” to win the General Election.
Tom Watson warned that Theresa May’s Tories could gain a “Margaret Thatcher-style majority” on June 8.
But asked if senior figures were admitting defeat, Mr Corbyn said “not at all”.
Mr Corbyn said he had spoken to Mr Watson on Saturday morning to coordinate the party’s response to the NHS cyber attack and insisted the pair are working “flat out to get Labour MPs elected”.
He said: “I’m out here around the whole country, the party is out around the whole country, putting out a message that we’re a party for the many not the few, we will invest in our NHS, our education system, we will protect our pensions and pensioners and we will ensure that there is an expanding economy that works for all.”
He went on: “I’ve been talking to my deputy leader this morning, we have been talking about the attacks on the NHS, about the cyber attack, and about our policies to support art and culture which is of course within his brief.
“We are both working absolutely flat out to get Labour MPs elected on June 8.”
Mr Watson had warned that a large majority would give the Prime Minister governance “without much accountability”.
The deputy leader said parliament’s ability to hold her to account “will go out of the window” if the Conservatives achieve a landslide in the election.
Mr Corbyn’s visits came as Labour pledges to protect the “triple lock” pension policy, which was introduced under David Cameron and means pensions increase in line with average earnings, inflation or 2.5pc, whichever is highest.
Prime minister Theresa May has refused to commit to maintaining the triple lock and Jeremy Corbyn will seek to woo older voters by vowing to pass new legislation for the policy.
Labour highlighted figures indicating that 300,000 more pensioners were in relative poverty than in 2010, when Mr Cameron entered Number 10.
The Liberal Democrats have committed to keep the “triple lock” protection for state pensions.
But unlike Labour, the party will strip wealthier pensioners of the winter fuel allowance, at a cost of up to £300 a year to older people.
Other candidates standing in Waveney are: Peter Aldous (Conservative); Allyson Barron (Independent); Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw (Green); Jacky Howe (Liberal Democrat); Bert Poole (UKIP).