Ed Davey talks about prospects in North Shropshire

Interviewed by Joanne Gallagher, BBC Radio Shropshire’s political reporter earlier yesterday in Wem at the heart of the North Shropshire constituency, Ed Davey said:

It’s a two horse race. I think everyone knows that now.

It’s really exciting. It’s really close. Too close to call. The Lib Dem campaign has been really positive. Helen Morgan has gone down really well. She is a local candidate and that matters to a lot of people. She is taking up issues that people are really caring about. Ambulances. Access to GPs. I think people are thinking at long last someone is going to listen to them. Someone is going to represent them. They do feel that the Conservatives have taken them for granted for so long.

Ed continued:

We have seen lots of Labour and Green supporters who have seen we are the ones that can beat the Conservatives.

People who have voted Conservative all their lives area really shocked. Both at the shenanigans in No 10 but also that the candidate the Tories have put up is from Birmingham… People feel that by choosing someone from Birmingham just confirms what people have felt before that the Conservative Party in Westminster is just taking the people of North Shropshire for granted. They see the problems of levelling up in North Shropshire. They see the problems with ambulance services. And they see the prime minister and his team not obeying the rules on Covid which they expect the rest of us to obey…

There seems to have been loads of parties at Downing Street when the rest of us were isolating and unable to see our loved ones. People have mentioned that they have lost loved ones but were unable to go and hold their hand when they were dying. Then they see those videos and the prime minister wriggling and not telling the truth. That’s upsetting…

Asked if he took much notice of what the bookmakers are saying, Ed replied:

I’ve got to focus hard and making the case to the people across North Shropshire. Helen Morgan is such a great candidate and she is local. We want to keep making our case through to the close of polls because it will be tight. It could be very tight. I think it could come down to a handful of votes.

Challenged on whether he was frustrated that some of the other candidates did not stand aside so that it was a two horse race, Ed said:

It is a two horse race and I think everyone has seen that now. They have seen the literature we have been putting out there. They have seen that Helen is a strong candidate. They see stakeboards and posterboards, and the level of activity. I think there is quite a lot of excitement. I think that people who are looking at voting for Helen are quite excited about that prospect and the sight of that change. The sight of putting North Shropshire in sight again and not allowing people to take it for granted.

What does this next week look like?

Hard work! Knocking on doors. Talking to people. And getting our message out.

Leaflets will stop after 16 December. But it is really important that people in a democracy get to hear different party’s pitches.

It struck me listening to Ed Davey this morning just how different he is in tone from other leaders in the Commons. He explains. Avoids soundbites. Doesn’t hector. Doesn’t talk down. This is not soapbox style. It is a style that could help us win this by-election in a constituency where people are heartily fed up with political postering and the constant ducking of questions.

You can listen to the interview on BBC Radio Shropshire beginning 1:15m.

If you can get to North Shropshire or pick up the phone, please pitch in to help Helen Morgan win on Thursday. Day-to-day details are on the campaign Facebook page. Volunteer to take part. Donate to the campaign.

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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  • “LibDem prospects in North Shropshire”…..

    Looking very good with the ‘Bookies’, and they don’t often get things far wrong, have this party at 1/2 with the Tories at 6/4..
    Labour seem to have left the field open with the shadow Foreign Office minister (Yasmin Qureshi) effectively acknowledging the party had deliberately left the field clear for the Lib Dems.“I mean, let’s face it, Labour are never going to win North Shropshire. The Lib Dems do have an opportunity to do so” she said..“It’s not just soft-pedalling, I do think that in constituencies like these ones, where Labour don’t have a huge amount of resources … we know, realistically, we have no chance of winning.”

    In addition, with every passing day Johnson’s antics have further weakened their hold on what should be a ‘rock solid seat’..

    Finger’s crossed but, unless there is a last minute ‘safety car’ reprieve, it looks as if all the hard word of those involved will deliver the first real ‘hit’ on the ‘nasty party’..Let’s hope it won’t be the last..

  • [email protected] The first real hit on the nasty party, in my opinion, was Chesham and Amersham, but I would be very happy to witness more.

  • John Bicknell 14th Dec '21 - 4:27pm

    expats: It’s true that Labour centrally don’t see North Shropshire as a high priority, but that isn’t the case with their local party, who have been campaigning aggressively, and concentrating on criticising and undermining the Lib Dems as much as they have been attacking the Conservatives. Maybe it won’t make much difference to the final result, but it must raise a question about whether Labour are serious about mutual cooperation, should the Lib Dems fail to make a gain by a small margin.

  • Swing in the betting, Tories now just favourite with almost every company, but Lib Dems putting up lots of stake boards!.

  • Mick Taylor 14th Dec '21 - 9:02pm

    John Bicknell, Labour would rather the Tory won than we did. It was ever thus.

  • John Bicknell 15th Dec '21 - 8:24am

    The following link is to a more in-depth article than most about the by-election:
    though it does contain the irritating (and oft repeated) claim that ‘the Lib Dems are busing in activists’, which suggests that it is a centrally organised operation, and diminishes the sense that activists are going there independently, and of their own free will.

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