Helen Morgan acceptance speech: “ Johnson you are no leader”

What a victory! Nearly six thousand majority. There are huge implications for the government and Boris Johnson. We’ll cover those in later articles.

In her speech, she told the prime minister, Helen said:

Our country is crying out for leadership. Mr Johnson, you are no leader.

She told the voters in North Shropshire:

Your amazing efforts have delivered a gift of hope to our country, just in time for Christmas… I promise I will work for you and only you. I will always put local people and our communities first.

Helen said the NHS in Shropshire is teetering on the brink. The rural economy is in a precarious state.

Below, we report Helen’s acceptance speech in full. Here is the recording.

Speaking after the count a few hours ago, the newly elected Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan said:

Thank you.

I’d like to thank the Returning Officer, his staff and my fellow candidates for a well run election in the most challenging circumstances.

To my husband Rob, our son, Ben, and the rest of my family, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support.

I’d also like to thank my election agent Chris Lovell-Morgan, my incredible campaign team, the local party here in North Shropshire, and the thousands of Liberal Democrat campaigners who answered our Party’s call.

Your amazing efforts have delivered a gift of hope to our country, just in time for Christmas.

Tonight, the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people.

They have said loudly and clearly: ‘Boris Johnson, the party is over’.

Your government, run on lies and bluster, will be held accountable. It will be scrutinised, it will be challenged and it can and will be defeated.

Across the country, the Liberal Democrats are taking on the Conservatives and winning.

In rural Shropshire today – just like in Buckinghamshire in June – we have won the support of people who have always voted Conservative and people who have always opposed them.

Thousands of lifelong Conservative voters, dismayed by Boris Johnson’s lack of decency and fed up with being taken for granted.

And thousands of lifelong Labour voters, choosing to lend their votes to the candidate who can defeat the Conservatives.

People who believe that our politics should be about creating a better country for us all, not a nightly soap opera of calamity and chaos.

All of them, casting their ballots for the Liberal Democrats.

And let me say specifically to all those Labour supporters who lent me their votes today: thank you.

You have shown tonight that, together, we can defeat the Conservatives. Not with deals behind closed doors, but with common sense at the ballot box.

These are testing times for our country.

Our NHS, as we know here in Shropshire, is teetering on the brink.

Our rural economy is in a precarious state with people’s livelihoods at risk.

Our country is crying out for leadership.

Mr Johnson, you are no leader.

Many of your predecessors took office because they believed in a sense of national service. That they were duty bound to do what they believed is right for our country.

To represent all of us, even if we disagreed with them.

Mr Johnson, this is not how you operate.

Too often it is all about you and never about us.

Instead of taking action to help Shropshire’s NHS, you spend your time seeking questionable donations to refurbish your flat.

Instead of taking action to support Shropshire’s farmers, you spend your time misleading the nation on how you and your office partied during lockdown.

Tonight the people of North Shropshire have said enough is enough.

They have said that you are unfit to lead and that they want a change.

I want to pay tribute tonight to my party leader Ed Davey.

Ed, thanks to you it is the Liberal Democrats who are opposing Boris Johnson’s Government and winning. From Chesham and Amersham to North Shropshire, you lead our campaigns from the front.

I want to thank you personally for the support you have given me over the last few weeks.

Whether it is on the streets of Whitchurch or Wem, Oswestry, Ellesmere or Market Drayton, you have led the charge for change.

Finally, thank you most of all to all the people of North Shropshire.

Not just for your support throughout this campaign –

Not just for putting your faith in me to be your champion in Parliament –

But for all the hard work and sacrifices you have made over the past two years, to get our communities through this awful pandemic.

I will never take it for granted.

My priorities are your priorities: Improving our local ambulance service, GPs and hospitals.

Supporting our farmers and defending our rural way of life.

Helping our communities through this new wave of COVID.

As your MP, I promise I will work for you and only you. I will always put local people and our communities first.

Whether you supported me or supported someone else, I want to let you know that I am here to represent you and to stand up for everyone in North Shropshire.

Thank you.

* 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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8 Comments

  • Jack Nicholls 17th Dec '21 - 7:03am

    Outstanding result!
    Has anyone yet coined the hashtag #LibWem?

  • Brad Barrows 17th Dec '21 - 7:12am

    Not just a win but almost as big a win as the Christchurch by-election in 1993. An earth shattering result 🙂

  • Helen Dudden 17th Dec '21 - 9:15am

    Well done. This government has left a trail of destruction, no one should die because of the lack of medical treatment.

  • George Thomas 17th Dec '21 - 9:51am

    It was the rhetoric needed to win this seat but is there risk in making this a referendum on Boris Johnson?

    Tories won a sizeable majority by telling us that their party was completely different to the one who had lived in Number 10 for previous decade and they’ll likely try that trick again at next General Election with the Lib Dems helping them do it by mainly (only?) criticising Boris. If Tories boot Boris for someone more professional but less concerned by environmental crisis (even if Boris is making a mess of that) before winning next General Election then battle will have been won but war will have been lost.

  • Peter Martin 17th Dec '21 - 10:10am

    Congratulations to Helen Morgan and the Lib Dems.

    It looks like you have found a winning formula, at least for taking seats from the Tories. Concentrate only on local issues and don’t mention the “Brexit”. I think Helen might have done that once but she obviously got away with it !

  • Congratulations Helen and everyone involved in the campaign. It’s so tempting, as the talking heads on tv are doing, to claim this victory is down to this thing, or that thing, when it was a whole range of things coming together. We had no control over the decisions made last Christmas to hold a string of parties, or BJ’s decision to attempt to cover them up, but the campaign team made sure that all of the hard work had been done and so were in a position to capitalise on that kind of thing.

    @George, it’s almost certain that the Conservatives will pick a new leader before the next general election. It’s fair that our strategies cannot be reliant on the public’s resentment of BJ, but getting across the threshold in a by-election is key and the Tories were daft enough to have Johnson as their leader now.

    There were many smart things about this campaign, but one that I think was effective and will continue to boost Helen into the future has been presenting Helen, the person, as someone who cares for and will work hard for the community. At a time when locals were very definitely fed up with being taken for granted, and traditional Tory voters are angry that too many politicians are on the take, having someone who already has a record as a community champion was our trump card.

    Now Helen has a chance to prove herself as a dedicated constituency MP. Hopefully some of those who helped with this campaign will make a return visit to North Shropshire in the next few months to deliver leaflets brimming with updates on everything she’s been doing for the community.

  • Jason Connor 17th Dec '21 - 12:28pm

    I agree with much of the above comment and huge congratulations to the new MP. As someone who knows nothing about North Shropshire and has never been there, it’s far more interesting to hear about what Helen Morgan MP will do on the local issues and dealing with the problems she so passionately cares about; the ambulance services, NHS provision, farmers, rural economy etc than just attacks on the government and Mr Johnson. As a council tenant I would like to see the Lib Dems put more effort into neglected labour held seats where local issues are often ignored by their own MPs, like closing down community halls for council tenants and neighbourhood groups when they do this without any consultation.

  • Fantastic result for the party and well done to all the team who go out there to make this happen

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