SECURING the future of Kingston Hospital is a priority for us both.
That is why we have obtained assurances from Andrew Lansley MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, that the hospital will be safe if the Conservatives form the next government.
Local Liberal Democrat MPs have criticised us in this paper for our decision not to join their campaign, even suggesting we don't share their commitment to the hospital. In fact, the easiest thing for us would have been to set up rival petitions and neutralise this as a political issue.
However, we believe that doing so would have been unethical. We looked at all the facts and, like all other local political parties, concluded that the Lib Dem campaign has exaggerated the threat.
The consequences of this are serious. We have both been contacted by very worried patients, and the hospital is receiving calls from women asking if they will still be able to give birth there in six months' time.
We met NHS staff, including the chief executive of Kingston Hospital, the hospital's chairman and senior clinicians.
They described this campaign as 'irresponsible' and detrimental to the hospital. Staff at Kingston Hospital (represented by Unison) have also opted not to join their campaign.
The hospital has not been earmarked for closure, nor for loss of services. Not only have we been told this by the hospital's management, but it's also clear from the evidence the Lib Dem MPs are using as the basis for their campaign.
Of course, when the country's finances are in dire shape, all communities need to be alert to threats to their hospitals from Labour's NHS cuts.
Labour is doing a review of healthcare in London and hospitals across the city may suffer if they stay in power.
HELEN WHATELY Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Kingston and Surbiton, and ZAC GOLDSMITH, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Richmond Park