§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)
Order. Will the hon. Gentleman resume his seat for a moment? Will hon. Members please leave as quickly and quietly as possible? [Interruption.] Will hon. Members please leave quietly?
§ Mr. Whittingdale
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wish to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Maldon, who are campaigning for the maternity unit at St. Peter's hospital to remain open. The Maldon district covers a large area with many scattered communities, and if the maternity unit closes, expectant mothers will have to travel a considerable distance if they wish to have their babies in hospital.
The petition has been raised by a local group called MOMMS, which stands for Mothers Opposed to Maldon Maternity Shutdown, and carries 7,914 signatures. It says:The Petitioners therefore request that 0the House of Commons urge the Secretary of State for Health to intervene and ask North Essex Health Authority to remove its proposal to close St. Peter's Maternity Unit and to instead encourage and promote the use of the Unit thus increasing its cost-effectiveness.
§ To lie upon the Table.