A nurse driven to take a political stand due to anger over the NHS reforms is to challenge the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith in next year’s general election.
Kathryn Anderson is one of 12 candidates planning to fight high profile seats for the National Health Action Party when voters take to polling stations in May.
As well as Mr Duncan Smith’s seat in north London, the party is also putting up candidates against the prime minister and the health secretary.
Ms Anderson, who stood for the party in the European elections earlier this year, will face a tough battle to overturn Mr Duncan Smith’s majority of nearly 13,000 in Chingford and Woodford Green.
She said: “Just because this is considered a safe Tory seat doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be challenged, and challenged fiercely. As the deeply unpopular secretary of state for work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith has shown just how incredibly cruel and vicious the Tory party can be.
“I’m sure voters will want to register their disgust at how totally dismissive he is of people who need assistance when they are unwell, disabled or disadvantaged.”
Ms Anderson works as a lead nurse in pain management for a London foundation trust. In an interview with Nursing Times earlier this year she said anger over funding cuts and reforms to the NHS introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 had driven her to join the National Health Action Party.
The party was formed in 2012 by doctors concerned about the government’s controversial health reforms that were then going through parliament. They fielded nine candidates in the European elections earlier this year but only achieved a 1.1% share of the vote, not enough to win any seats.
The party’s 12 general election candidates include GPs, a cancer specialist, a mental health expert and other campaigners.
NHA co-leader Clive Peedell has announced that he will stand against prime minister David Cameron for the Witney seat in Oxfordshire.
Meanwhile, Louise Irvine, a campaigner who fought against the proposed downgrading of Lewisham Hospital in south east London, will take on health secretary Jeremy Hunt for his seat in south west Surrey.
A candidate is also lined up to fight for deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam seat while sports minister Helen Grant will also be challenged by the party.
NHA co-leader Richard Taylor, a former Kidderminster Hospital consultant who was an independent MP for Wyre Forest from 2001 to 2010, will stand for the same Worcestershire seat again.
Dr Peedell said: “It’s going to be one of the tightest elections ever and voters need to realise that the very survival of the NHS is at stake. It won’t endure another five years of continued closures, cost cutting and privatisation.
“If we could get even just one or two MPs elected, the public would know there’d be representatives in Parliament on whom they could always rely to act purely in the best interests of patients and of the NHS, without letting political ideology get in the way.”