More than 1,300 letters from Sheffield residents about the future of the NHS originally meant for Nick Clegg have been handed to new Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.
Sheffield campaigner Scott Winwood, from The People’s NHS campaign group, has handed over the letters and a 2,000-strong petition, to Mr Farron.
The letters were written to Mr Clegg when the Sheffield Hallam MP was Deputy Prime Minister urging the Liberal Democrats to back protecting the NHS from an EU-US trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Campaigners claim the deal could be used to allow the ‘irreversible’ privatisation of the NHS.
Mr Winwood said: “Nick Clegg has failed to reply to date but the new leader of the Liberal Demcrats, Mr Farron, has committed to reading the legal advice and replying as soon as possible, giving his and his party’s position on the NHS and TTIP.”
He added: “Nick Clegg never even bothered to reply to his constituents about the threat that TTIP poses to the NHS.
“Throughout the election campaign the Liberal Democrats refused to listen to the people of this country who do not believe it is right for the NHS to be part of a US trade deal. We very much hope Tim Farron will now rethink and oppose the NHS being part of TTIP, instead of taking the side of the Tories.”
In April, a giant banner urging David Cameron and Nick Clegg to ‘stop the irreversible sell off of the NHS’ was unveiled at student halls, on Eldon Street, Sheffield, by students and campaigners from The People’s NHS.
The Government argues TTIP will boost the economy and help businesses.
Mr Clegg said at the time he hadn’t signed the pledge ‘because you don’t need to’ and he had met with EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström on the issue.
He added: “I would not sign up to any trade deal that poses a threat to the NHS.”