Published: 11:31, 14 October 2019
| Updated: 14:27, 14 October 2019
A Conservative parliamentary candidate has admitted Boris Johnson "clearly made a mistake" when he said a new hospital would be built in Canterbury.
The Prime Minister made the shock announcement at a party conference fringe meeting - despite the city not featuring on a list of 40 hospital projects earmarked by the government.
Now Canterbury's Tory MP hopeful, Anna Firth, says her party leader made an error - and "can't be on top of every little detail".
Speaking on BBC One's Sunday Politics show, the former barrister said: "He has clearly made a mistake.
"It isn't in the 40, we know that, you can look at the list. I've looked at the list and it isn't in the 40.
"But what I would say is, it was very exciting to hear that it is on his radar.
"We now know that east Kent is finally on the radar at the highest echelons of government and that is my job to make sure that the Secretary of State knows the people of Canterbury want a new hospital.
"I didn't know that was going to be announced, and I think we've got to be fair to the Prime Minister.
"He can't be on top of every little detail... that was said at a fringe meeting in the evening."
The confusion surrounding the future of healthcare in east Kent comes as top doctors have been considering a huge reshuffle of services at the Kent & Canterbury, William Harvey in Ashford, and QEQM in Margate.
Two options are being scrutinised in a lengthy decision-making process. But Mr Johnson seemingly jumped the gun by suggesting Canterbury would be home to a new hospital.
Footage of the prime minister's speech, captures him saying: “Yes, we are going to invest in the south east. Yes, of course we are putting money into hospitals.
“I’m delighted that Canterbury, for instance, is going to be one of the 40 new hospitals we are building – in the biggest programme of hospital infrastructure investment for a generation.”
She also stressed how the announcement was "not fair to the people of Canterbury and Whitstable who have been campaigning for years".
Her views have been echoed by Canterbury's Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who is calling for a formal retraction on the pledge.
She said: "This gaffe by the prime minister has raised the hopes of many of us living and working in the area who have long-campaigned a fully funded hospital services to be returned to Canterbury.
"The Tory candidate should not be attempting to explain away and excuse the the Prime Minister's fake news. A formal retraction and apology needs to be forthcoming from No.10 as this would have drawn a line under this some time ago."
More by this authorJoe Wright