The wife of former Brighton Kemptown MP Sir Andrew Bowden is suing a private hospital for compensation after falling out of bed and breaking her leg.

Lady Benita Bowden is demanding damages of £50,000 against the medical company BMI Healthcare following the accident.

Lady Benita, then 72, had gone into Goring Hall Hospital, near Worthing, for a hip replacement operation.

The surgery was successful but five days later, in February last year, she fell heavily, fracturing her left thigh. Her artificial hip had to be removed, causing her severe discomfort, weakness and restricted movement and she now must use a stick to get around.

A High Court writ says her quality of life has been affected by symptoms in her leg and she relies on help from her family.

If she had not fractured her thigh, the hip replacement surgery would have been successful but now she will remain permanently disabled in her left leg.

In the writ, Lady Bowden, of Carden Avenue, Brighton, brands BMI negligent and says staff failed to replace bed rails to which she had become accustomed.

The document says staff got rid of the bed rails prematurely, failed to assess her risk of falling, failed to carry out adequate risk assessment, failed to consult her husband, failed to produce written guidelines for using bed rails until after her fall and failed to use suitable precautions to protect her.

When she went into the hospital on February 21, Lady Bowden had a history of medical problems including three minor strokes, confusion, diabetes, memory problems, and blood pressure problems. Her fall happened in the middle of the night when she was alone, disorientated and confused, the writ claims.

Sir Andrew, 78, was Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown from 1970 to 1997, the longest tenure of any MP for Brighton since the Second World War.

He is still a well known face in the city and is often seen at various fundraising and charity events.

The couple married in 1970 and have two children.

In an interview with The Argus in 2004, Sir Andrew said: “Whatever I have managed to achieve, I could not do have done it without her. It was as if Kemptown had two MPs.”

A spokesman for BMI said: “Due to the current legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to provide any information relating to Lady Bowden, her treatment or her High Court claims. In any event, we do not provide any information on individuals including patients into the public domain.”