Nurse and former Ipswich mayor trolled after video about NHS pay

Sarah Barber

Sarah Barber is a nurse and Labour councillor in Ipswich. - Credit: Gregg Brown

An Ipswich Hospital nurse and former town mayor has been subjected to sustained online abuse after appearing in a Labour Party video calling for an NHS pay increase.

Mrs Barber appeared in the video which criticised this week's announcement that NHS workers are only being offered a 1% pay rise, despite the government originally budgeting for a 2.1% increase.

Even though the video was clearly labelled as a Labour Party production, it did not state that Mrs Barber is a councillor.

This omission prompted comment from Conservative activists on social media, which was then picked up by followers of political websites such as Guido Fawkes.

After she came under fire from many anonymous social media users, Mrs Barber's fellow councillors published a letter about the matter on Twitter.

The row also prompted a comment from Ipswich Tory MP Tom Hunt in The Spectator magazine.

Mr Hunt said the abuse suffered by Mrs Barber was unacceptable and that he sympathised with her wanting to raise the issue of NHS pay.

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However, he said: "My issue is with the Labour Party putting out the video without making it clear that the nurse they have on it is actually a Labour councillor."

Mrs Barber said: "I've been a nurse for 20 years and a councillor for five.

"For me, they are not separate roles. They are both roles in which I am trying to help people and I get a great deal of satisfaction in that.

"I'm not going to be put off by this. What does worry me is that some people might see this kind of thing happening and decide they are not prepared to take on a role like this.

"That would be a great shame, because it is very worthwhile and important to communities like Ipswich."

Mrs Barber was mayor of Ipswich in 2017-18.

She is now Ipswich council's executive member with responsibility for the town centre.

She manages the role alongside being a full-time nurse at Ipswich Hospital. where she worked on the front line during the Covid pandemic.

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