Huddersfield Mp Barry Sheerman has hit back at criticism of his absence from Saturday’s huge rally over the A & E plans.

The MP was at a family function in Wales and was unable to join thousands of protesters who gathered in St George’s Square for a rally and march.

But he confirmed he had told organisers he would be unable to attend some weeks ago when the rally date was first agreed.

Listen to Unite member Paul Cooney speak at the rally below

Several people have taken to social media to criticise the MP. His Parliamentary colleagues Jason McCartney (Colne Valley) and Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) both made speeches at the rally.

Mr Sheerman said: “The person who contacted my office some weeks ago about the rally was told I had a year-old family commitment on the date in question and I would not be available. I would not dream of breaking a commitment I made so far in advance.

“No-one has since spoken to me. The success of the rally is brilliant but the whole campaign relies on many people doing different things.

WATCH Robert John Kerr's video of the march on Saturday below

“No-one has been more active than me, especially in the Commons, to try and save our hospital services and I have been working alongside all our other local MPs.

“I am sure that the people of Huddersfield appreciate family and how important they are. As a politician you neglect your family time and time again but this was an occasion which was arranged a year ago”.