Are MPs creating petitions to capitalise on the good will of concerned residents in order to mine information and boost their own election bid?

This is the question posed by the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Carshalton and Wallington Matthew Maxwell-Scott as he called on MP Tom Brake to hand in the Save St Helier petition.

Originally launched in 2011 the petition, which has around 21,000 signatures on it, has already been submitted in 2013 during the, since scrapped, Better Services Better Value review however those signatories have been rolled into the latest incarnation created in February 2014 and once again calls on the Sutton Commissioning Group to save St Helier Hospital's Accident and Emergency and maternity services.

In a leap into the surreal Mr Maxwell-Scott has now launched "Save the Save St Helier Petition Petition" calling on Mr Brake to submit his petition before the election, accusing him of using it simply to collect information on his constituents.

He admits the irony of creating a potential data mine of his own and pledged to only contact people who sign up to let them know his petition has been handed in.

Mr Maxwell-Scott said: "It's just frustrating that the petition is not being used for the thing people with it is being used for.

"It is just a data mine.

"He is just getting more and more signatures. It has been going on for years, so long that he has had to change who the petition is addressed to from Primary Care Trust to commissioning group.

"People from all political persuasions have signed it.

"I am giving him a very clear deadline to submit the petition by our April 20 hustings."

The hustings will be held at Stanley Park High School and feature the runners and riders for the seat at this May's General Election.

He said: "The Save the Save St Helier Petition Petition does look like I'm being facetious but I'm not.

"People are concerned about how their data is being used."

Tom Brake said: "I want to get the maximum number of people on the petition to demonstrate their support for the hospital.

"There will be, in the next six months, an opportunity to present the petition."

Asked if that meant he would be holding on to the petition until after the General Election in May Mr Brake said that would be the most opportune moment to present the document as that will be when the decision on the future of A&E services would be made.

In the past, he said. data from the petition has been used to "mobilise" concerned residents into action.

He said: "We have 21,000 signatures so far and we will work to secure the other 50,000 in Carshalton and Wallington who could sign it.

"The more signatures on the petition the better.

"We obtain contact details of people who can then be mobilised which is good for the campaign."

To sign the Save St Helier petition visit:

To sign the Save the Save St Helier Petition Petition visit: