John Leech writes: Come and help deliver a knockout blow to Labour and hard Brexit in Gorton

Having spent the last few weeks delivering leaflets and talking to residents in Manchester Gorton I wanted to share my thoughts on the by-election.

Manchester Gorton presents a huge opportunity for us as a party. The response that we are getting for our candidate, Jackie Pearcey, is really very impressive. I have been struck by the number of people who have told me on the doorstep how much better their local area was when they were represented by local Lib Dem Councillors like Jackie. This is a constituency that voted 65% remain, had 19 out of 21 Lib Dem Councillors just a few years ago and where we used to get a very substantial vote at the general election. This is a real chance to show that we can do to Labour in Manchester what we did to the Tories in Witney. We are the only party that is openly campaigning against Theresa May’s Hard Brexit agenda in this election. The Labour candidate even said he agreed with Corbyn to 3 line whip the vote to trigger article 50!

Quite simply the only barrier to us winning this seat right now is people not thinking we can win and not coming to help. When we won Manchester Withington in 2005 our biggest challenge was persuading people that the effort there was worthwhile. In Manchester Gorton it really is. This is our opportunity to deliver a knockout blow to Labour and show up their hypocrisy on Brexit. Getting a good result in Manchester Gorton improves the chances for all of us facing Labour in elections in the future.

So please come join me on the streets of Manchester and help me deliver our proud and defiant message to the people of this constituency. They deserve someone who will really fight for them and in Jackie Pearcey and the Liberal Democrats, that’s what they will get!

You can sign up to help in the Manchester Gorton by-election here.

* Cllr John Leech was Lib Dem MP for Manchester Withington until 2015 and is now an opposition councillor in Manchester.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Robin Grayson 6th Apr '17 - 7:50am

    Hi John. What you say tallies with what I find in Manchester Gorton. People who for years were resolutely glued to Labour now want to talk to us. I see this in every ward across the constituency. A huge conversation is going on right now. So I urge everyone who can, to get to Gorton to join in the conversation and turn conversations into votes.

  • Liberal Neil 6th Apr '17 - 10:29am

    Thanks John, and for all you are doing to support Jackie.

    As you say, the result of this by-election could be hugely important to the party’s prospects and anyone who is able to get along to help (or who can do an evening’s phoning) should do so.

  • Martin broderick 6th Apr '17 - 1:06pm

    Cameron announced the Brexit referendum in January 2013. The LDs could have stopped it there and then by threatening to leave coalition. Why didn’t they? Hmmm

  • Sue Sutherland 6th Apr '17 - 2:16pm

    I can’t do much because of illness but we have a spare room people have been staying in and the other week I managed to get into campaign HQ on a good day and do some stuffing while my husband delivered a round. We have a wonderful candidate and a great campaign going which is also humorous. This is THE breakthrough our party needs. Please come and help!

  • This is doable. It just comes down to numbers. I recently read on this site that Labour put one thousand volunteers on the streets of Stoke in the last days of recent campaigning there. Maybe a small pinch of salt but that is the sort of effort that gets results. One in four/five voters will get us over the line. How much do LibDems want this?

  • Martin – because the only difference that would have made would have been bringing it forward two years.

  • John Littler 16th Apr '17 - 7:01pm

    Coming from 1000 votes to a good second in central Manchester would end those opponents who try to portray the LibDems as a mainly southern or middle class party.

  • Peter Watson 16th Apr '17 - 7:44pm

    @Martin Broderick “Cameron announced the Brexit referendum in January 2013. The LDs could have stopped it there and then by threatening to leave coalition. Why didn’t they?”
    The party had long called for an In/Out referendum on Europe.

  • Peter Watson 17th Apr '17 - 2:03am

    @Martin “The formula was that a referendum should be held in the event of a treaty which transferred further powers to the EU.”
    Back in 2008, Tim Farron stood down from the Lib Dem front bench because he supported a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, contradicting the party line which was for a referendum on membership of the EU. In 2016 the Lib Dems finally got their referendum!
    In 2010 I voted for a manifesto which stated, “The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote on membership over thirty years ago. Liberal Democrats therefore remain committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.” I must admit though that I never really understood why the policy was to wait for a change (n.b. at that point it was about change rather than a transfer of power to the EU) and then have an In/Out referendum: why not have a referendum on the change or call for an In/Out referendum without waiting for any change?

  • John Littler 20th Apr '17 - 1:19pm

    Is this going ahead as a by election, or will it be subsumed?

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