Helen Morgan: “Anger at Conservative Party like nothing I’ve heard”

The first Lib Dem MP elected to the North Shropshire seat, held by the Conservatives since 1832, has been writing in the Independent today. Helen Morgan says:

The result has been described by many as a “shock” and “totally unexpected”. Yet when you heard the anger and frustration that I heard on the doorstep each day, the result should have shocked nobody.

Helen speaks of her arrival at Westminster expecting to find a prime minister and a government willing to listen to voters in North Shropshire.

How wrong I was. The anger at Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was like nothing I’ve ever heard before… It begs the question, why won’t Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues listen to voters?

I spoke to hundreds of people during the campaign, each with their own story of dismay at a Conservative government which has totally ignored them and their daily concerns…

[I asked] Boris Johnson in the House of Commons to set up an inquiry into dangerous ambulance waiting times in rural areas, an issue which dominated the by-election campaign far more than any sleaze story…

The response from the prime minister to this life and death situation was truly shocking. He brushed aside my calls for an inquiry. In one fell swoop, Boris Johnson showed he simply hasn’t learnt the lessons from losing the by-election. It is exactly this which makes people’s blood boil in my area.

My second day felt like deja-vu. Upon opening an email from the secretary of state for international trade bragging about the benefits to my region from the new UK-Australia trade deal, there was not a single mention of the rural economy.

During the campaign I heard from farmers so furious with this government that they plan on never voting Conservative again. Perhaps if Boris Johnson or the secretary of state for international trade had bothered to speak to farmers in Shropshire, they might have thought twice about promoting a disastrous trade deal.

It begs the question, why won’t Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues listen to voters?

There is a growing revolt across the former Conservative heartlands. What we heard in North Shropshire is almost identical to doorstep conversations in the villages of Chesham and Amersham and across the English countryside…

Just like Northern towns and cities, rural English communities like mine have been taken for granted by the Conservative Party. Last month, we said enough is enough. Boris Johnson ignores the blue wall revolt at his peril.

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  • Barry Lofty 7th Jan '22 - 5:51pm

    I hope that the anger and frustration with Boris Johnson’s performance as Prime Minister that you found in your North Shropshire constituency is soon replicated around the country, it sounds like you have hit the road running!!

  • I think it’s possibly that “the Politics of Brexit” has required them NOT to listen to opposition, but just blast their way through. Remember they are used to furious and powerful opposition, and the only way through is to ignore it / shout it down. They are also very used to arguing illogical cases!

  • Trevor Andrews 8th Jan '22 - 8:21am

    I am surprised she was surprised! Boris only talks, he does not listen and he often ignores his promises to constituents as Heathrow proved.

  • John Bicknell 8th Jan '22 - 9:32am

    Many commentators have referred to this seat as having been held by the Conservatives continuously since 1832, ignoring the fact that it was held by the Liberals between 1904 and 1906. Pity that NewsHound repeats this error.

  • Rif Winfield 8th Jan '22 - 9:37am

    I echo everything that is said in this article. Logic says that no-one in areas like North Shropshire, or in my own Mid Wales – should continue to support the Conservatives. But this begs the question of exactly WHY do almost a third of the British electorate still continue to vote for them? We do really need to understand the psychology of people who vote for such a dire collection of individuals!

  • Mick Taylor 8th Jan '22 - 10:03am

    John Bicknell is absolutely right. The Liberals won a by-election in 1904 in rather similar circumstances. An unpopular Tory Government, a Tory candidate from London and a local Liberal candidate. [No sleaze as far as I can recall] Sadly the seat returned to the Tories in 1906 one of only a handful of Tory gains in a sea of losses to the Liberals in the biggest Liberal victory in UK history. Let’s hope the loss part of history is not repeated!

  • William Wallace 8th Jan '22 - 4:05pm

    I didn’t know Mick Taylor had been working in by-election campaigns since 1904… To risk a further slightly facetious remark, it will not hurt our party’s prospects if Boris stays in post for a while longer, and fails to understand growing popular anger. It may not be good for the country, but it will certainly weaken support for the Conservatives further. Conscientious people who voted Conservative in the past will be looking for alternative parties worthy of their support; and we need to win them over.

  • Nigel Jones 8th Jan '22 - 10:03pm

    William Wallace, I share your thoughts on this. I do not like the look of Liz Truss anyway, but if she were to take over soon, because she is less blundering, more competent and more believable in what she says, she just might swing back to the fold many of these angry Conservative voters.

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