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Carers upset by MP Rehman Chishti's third 'no show'

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti has said sorry after illness forced him to drop out of a meeting with carers for a third time.

Rehman Chishti
Rehman Chishti

But the Tory's apology has been given short-shrift by the group who had to arrange respite care for their relatives so they could attend.

Mr Chishti was due to talk to 30 volunteers from the Medway Carers Centre on Tuesday but his office gave founder Iris Sell just 45 minutes’ notice and sent Canterbury MP Julian Brazier instead.

They are fighting for better carers’ rights including a carers’ allowance for pensioners.

Mrs Sell, 75, said: "As carers we can’t lay in bed. We have to get up and get on with it because we can’t let down the people we care for."

Paula Williams, 43, added: "It’s very frustrating, especially as it’s not the first time.

"His office and Julian Brazier both knew last week, so we’re not happy. We should have been given more notice."

Mrs Williams cares for her disabled husband and son at their home in Mulberry Close, Hempstead.

"People had to pay for carers from agencies," she said. "We didn’t find out until we walked through the door."

A spokesman for Mr Chishti’s office apologised, saying: "Unfortunately, it [not giving enough notice] was a clerical error, and as soon as we realised we rang them."

The meeting had been rearranged from one on April 10 at the carers’ centre in Canterbury Street, Gillingham.

Former barrister Mr Chishti, 33, who was elected in 2010, could not attend that meeting because he went to see the president of Pakistan.

Previously a small number of carers travelled to a reception in Parliament, but Mr Chishti was unable to attend.

Kathryn Jordan, who cares for her disabled mother in Romany Road, Twydall, also had a personal appointment with the MP cancelled on April 27.

The 50-year-old said: "What’s the point of him being an MP if you can’t talk to him? Obviously we’re just not important enough."

Mrs Sell, who cares for her daughter with whooping cough, added: "I kept my dignity on the phone but I think he’s avoiding us. I don’t think he wants to hear what we want to say."

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