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Here’s the press release from the National Health Action Party, announcing that TV comic Rufus Hound will be a candidate for them in this year’s European Parliament elections.

Vox Political reported, late last year, how Rufus spoke passionately and eloquently on the BBC’s News Quiz about his fears for the future of the National Health Service under the Conservative-led Coalition government.

Rufus Hound will exclusively [exclusively? it’s all over the Interweb!] reveal he plans to run as an MEP for the National Health Action Party.

The actor, comedian and TV presenter, who’s currently rehearsing with Robert Lindsay for the upcoming West End play Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, is a well known NHS supporter and in a recent episode of the News Quiz on Radio 4 he launched a blistering attack on the government’s privatisation of the NHS.

Tonight [January 25], he’ll tell Jonathan Ross:

“I think I’m going to run as an MEP (Member of European Parliament). I’m going to run for the NHA (National Health Action Party) because the NHS is being privatised. The NHA is run by doctors and they’re not people who want to be politicians. I don’t want to run as an MEP, I really don’t. I want to dick about with this man (Robert Lindsay) because that’s a lot more fun, but I’m looking around for who is stepping forward and telling people about it and nobody is.”

The National Health Action Party was launched by doctors, health care workers and ordinary people just over a year ago in opposition to the government’s sneaky privatisation of the NHS and amid warnings of the disastrous impact of the government’s NHS reforms.

On Thursday one of our founding members, Dr Louise Irvine, who helped lead the successful campaign against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to save Lewisham Hospital, announced she was standing to be an MEP for London in May’s euro elections.

Dr Louise Irvine said today:

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Rufus Hound has offered to stand for the NHA in the London euro election. It’s fantastic that he’s prepared to take action to help defend our NHS at a time when it’s in grave danger.  Together we can alert the public to the gravity of the threat to the NHS from this government with its programme of cuts, hospital closures and privatisation and to send a powerful message to politicians in Westminster and Brussels that people will not stand by and let their NHS be destroyed.

“It’s scandalous that most people don’t even realise that the government’s Health Act removed its “duty to provide” healthcare for you and your children.

“We also want to raise awareness of the imminent danger posed to the NHS by the EU/US trade agreement which will allow American companies to carve up the NHS and make the privatisation process irreversible.”

The NHA Party is led by the former independent MP for Wyre Forest, Dr Richard Taylor, who won a seat in two successive general elections over a local hospital issue, and by oncologist and co-chair of the NHS Consultants’ Association, Dr Clive Peedell.

Dr Clive Peedell said today:

“Rufus is so passionate and knowledgeable about the NHS and I’m delighted that he shares our view that the Coalition’s NHS reforms will transform a cost-effective public system of health care into one that will be more expensive, inefficient and unequal, wasting billions of pounds of tax payers’ money to implement while making patient care worse and corroding public trust in the NHS. With Rufus on board, we hope to spread that message far and wide.

“The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats outrageously broke their pre-election pledges that there would be no top down re-organisation of the NHS and no NHS privatisation. Yet this is precisely what their legislation and reforms are doing. There has been a shocking failure of democracy.

“We set up the National Health Action Party because we believe the NHS is under so much threat from commercialisation and privatisation, in which the Labour Party was complicit. We believe that a new political party is needed to defend the NHS and its values.

“None of us want to be politicians, but we have no choice but to engage with the political process to raise awareness of these crucial issues, which affect everyone in this country.

“A strong electoral result will put pressure on the Government to reverse its damaging reforms and exempt the NHS from the catastrophic EU/US Free Trade Agreement. The very survival of the NHS is at stake.”