Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer injured in canoe accident

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Johnny Mercer with injury above swollen left eye Image copyright Johnny Mercer
Image caption Mr Mercer said his head became swollen after he “smashed” his face on the bottom of the River Tamar

A government minister says he suffered a “pretty serious” head injury while canoeing and had to spend three nights in hospital.

Johnny Mercer, Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View, capsized in the River Tamar on Friday and hit his head.

On Sunday the swelling had got so bad that he went to the city’s Derriford Hospital where he was told he had an infection and needed minor surgery.

The Veterans Minister thanked the hospital’s “amazing” staff.

He said the accident happened when “I went over a weir that was broken half way down, and I capsized and smashed my face on the bottom of the river”.

After initial treatment at a medical centre in Launceston on Saturday, the former Army officer’s head “continued to swell” over the weekend and he was admitted to hospital on Sunday.

Mr Mercer, who is Minister for Defence People and Veterans, was discharged on Wednesday and said he was “fine” but his recovery would be “slower than I had hoped”.

He added that he wanted to “pay tribute to the amazing staff at the hospital who looked after me so well throughout”.

“I was on my own, and on the whole, a total wimp throughout, but they were very understanding and caring.”

He described Derriford as the “best hospital in the country” with staff who “are such a special part of Plymouth, they are the best of us”.

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