It is my privilege to present a petition signed by the mayor of Thurrock, Councillor Barry Palmer, by the leader of Thurrock council, Councillor Jimmy Aberdein, by Councillor Beverly Barton, the vice-chairman of Essex county council and more than 40,000 residents of the borough of Thurrock. It reads:
To the honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
The humble petition of the citizens of the United Kingdom sheweth
That the people of Thurrock have already been substantially disadvantaged by the closure of the accident and emergency department at Orsett hospital and that this was carried out despite the views of the overwhelming majority of the borough's citizens.
Wherefore your petitioners pray that your honourable House request the Secretary of State for Health to reassure the citizens of Thurrock by interceding with the regional and local health authorities and the Basildon and Thurrock hospital trust to ensure
that they continue to maintain and improve the facilities at Orsett hospital by reaffirming their commitment to this much valued health facility.
The petition has been signed by some 40,000 residents.