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Jeremy Corbyn joins junior doctors on Whitehall protest march

Published 26/04/2016

John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn with protesters outside the Department of Health in Whitehall
John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn with protesters outside the Department of Health in Whitehall

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined thousands of junior doctors as they marched through Whitehall following a day of strikes.

Leading the march from St Thomas' Hospital and flanked by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, he said: "The Government has an opportunity to settle this, they should get on and do so."

Mr McDonnell said Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt would eventually have to back down amid sustained pressure from junior doctors.

Supported by teachers' unions and the BMA, thousands of junior doctors marched to the Department of Health to make their anger known, chanting: "Where are you Jeremy?"

Mr Corbyn was roundly cheered as he took to a stage to address the protesters outside the Department of Health.

He told them the NHS was not safe in the hands of a Government more interested in attacking the junior doctors at its core than supporting it, selling off its assets and destroying its "very principles".

Mr Corbyn said it was "utterly contemptible" that Mr Hunt had failed to reach an agreement with junior doctors, despite having "every conceivable opportunity".

He said: "They are the ones who have behaved in the responsible manner of saying they are there to defend the NHS. His response is to try and impose a contract and impose something on them.

"That is no way for a secretary of state to behave towards one of the most crucial elements of the NHS workforce."

Amid a chorus of boos - that quickly turned to cheers and laughter - he added: "Don't worry, not all Jeremys are bad."

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