Thousands brave rain to march on Downing Street in People’s Assembly protest at NHS cuts after Ralf Little invites Jeremy Hunt

Thousands have poured into the streets of central London to march on Downing Street protesting a “crisis” in NHS funding.

Slogans such as “No ifs, no buts, no NHS cuts” were chanted as protestors held aloft banners slamming Mr Hunt’s salary as well as an elaborate sculpture of a vulture tearing into the NHS.

NHS workers, activists, union reps and campaigners gathered at Gower Street to call on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to give money for more staff and hospital beds to ease the problems faced by the service.

Speakers will include actor Ralf Little and Nicky Romero, whose daughter Becky died after what the coroner said was “neglect” because of a lack of NHS resources.

Some protestors were bussed in from cities such as Bristol for the “Fix It Now” protest where they chanted “Save our NHS” and made their way to No. 10.

A vulture sits atop a shredded NHS banner

Organisers Health Campaigns Together and anti-austerity group the People’s Assembly called the rally, which was set to continue till 4pm.

An activist called Amanda said in a video posted live to the People’s Assembly’s Twitter feed: “Why am I here today… everyone needs the NHS at some point in their lives. Whether it’s themselves or their family.

“If we don’t something we’re gonna lose it and it’s gonna be a matter of a couple of years not some time in the future … Fund the NHS, fund it now.”

Protestors also bussed in from other cities (PA)

Organisers said the march is necessary because “the NHS facing the biggest financial squeeze in its history — and as a result staff vacancies reaching 100,000”.

The Health Secretary was invited to the demonstration by Ralf Little after the pair were involved in a high-profile Twitter spat.

Little, who is best known for playing Anthony in hit sitcom The Royle Family, became embroiled in a bizarre Twitter row with Mr Hunt in November over funding for mental health care.

Jeremy Hunt invited to NHS demo by actor Ralf Little after Twitter row

Last week Little published an open letter saying: “I would like to extend a sincere invitation to you to attend, and use this platform to demonstrate that you acknowledge the importance of our previous discussion regarding lack of resources, staff and funding for our health service.

“I can assure the right honourable gentleman that I will provide all of the evidence required when you ‘double dared’ me for the assertions I have made and would be grateful if he could extend the public and myself the same courtesy.”

During the row in November Mr Hunt made a series of assertions after he was accused by Little of “knowingly lying” during an appearance on the BBC.

A week after Little’s initial tweet, Mr Hunt responded with a string of statistics, saying he “double dared” the actor to prove him wrong.

Little’s response, which included statistics from the Full Fact fact-checking organisation, was re-tweeted more than 15,000 times.

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