Laura Gordon steps up her campaign for Sheffield Hallam

It’s only a few weeks since Laura Gordon was selected as Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the marginal seat of Sheffield Hallam but already she is making her mark.

In June, Nick Clegg was defeated by the controversial Jared O’Mara who has failed to do the job he was elected to do.

Laura is effectively having to behave like an MP to fill the vacuum. In a wide-rangingi interview with the Sheffield Star, she talked about what she is doing to help local people:

She is helping people with casework, ‘taking up issues’ for Hallam constituents with councillors and the Lib Dem parliamentary team. “I feel this is something we can usefully do,” Laura says.

At the moment Jared O’Mara is not holding surgeries, so somebody needs to be looking at those casework issues. “He hasn’t voted since the 18th of October, it’s on the public record. He’s the only MP elected in 2017 who hasn’t made his maiden speech yet. It kind of speaks for itself, really.

She also talked about the guy Jared beat and what a loss he is to Parliament:

A lot of people have commented on that as I’ve been going around talking to people. Lots of people have said ‘I was helped by Nick’, often with things that we might think of as quite small, like getting a road fixed and campaigning on school buses or crossings. “He was very willing to get engaged on local issues, as well as doing all this work on the national level. I’ve got big shoes to fill but I’m going to do my best to fill them.

She and her husband settled in Sheffield five years ago:

“We liked it here, and I re-arranged my work effectively around enabling me to stay in Sheffield,” says Laura, now an independent consultant for humanitarian organisations. “It does very much feel like home, which is something I really appreciate.”

She and her team are already getting stuck into local issues:

Housing, school places – especially around Ecclesall – and changes to NHS services, in particular the proposed closure of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital’s minor injuries unit, need addressing in Hallam, she thinks. “If you’re living in somewhere like Dore or Totley, getting up to the Northern General is really quite a long way. It’s really up to the Clinical Commissioning Group to make the case to us that this is a change that will be beneficial and not just a cost-cutting measure.”

And the controversy over the felling of Sheffield’s street trees?

“I don’t think the campaign is just about trees. I think it’s gone beyond that.” She’s irked by the council ‘releasing a minimal amount of information and then using very heavy-handed tactics to crush dissent’, and displaying ‘a lack of willingness to engage constructively’.

Every couple of days there’s a rumour of an imminent by-election in Hallam. We can’t control that, but if it happens, it is clear that we have a fantastic candidate to complement the work of a brilliant Council group. Hallam has solid Lib Dem foundations so at the next election, whenever it comes, we clearly have an excellent team and candidate in place. We couldn’t ask for more than that.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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8 Comments

  • Yeovil Yokel 13th Dec '17 - 11:10am

    If a by-election is held in the New Year we should stand a better chance than that famous breakthrough 12.5 months ago in Richmond Park (was it really just a year ago?). I’ve sent an early Christmas present of £25 to Laura’s team and, although I’ll be out of the country in January and unable to help on the ground, I’m putting some more dosh aside should another donation help to boost her campaign after New Year. Stand by, everybody!

  • I suspect the present member may be claiming his salary for a lot longer than perceived wisdom thinks. No upside for him in resigning and a major downside if he does ( £74,962 per annum).

  • Yeovil Yokel 13th Dec '17 - 4:04pm

    frankie – perhaps the Labour Party should be obliged to employ a locum, on a ‘payment-by-results’ basis.
    In fact, perhaps all MP’s should be employed on a basic salary + bonus scheme based upon how much work they do: that would decimate the Tory benches in particular (and the UKIP seats in the European Parliament).

  • BBC News says he’s been advised not to attend Parliament by his GP. It appears that mental health only matters when it suits us (the comment is directed at the party not Laura).

  • MP Jared O’Mara is not presently attending Parliament on the advice of his GP, a spokesman has said.

    He was suspended by the Labour Party in October while it investigates misogynistic and homophobic comments he is alleged to have made.

    He has apologised for online remarks from 2002 and 2004 but denies some more recent claims.

    The spokesman said he continues to represent his constituents in Sheffield Hallam “in other ways”. …………

    A statement issued to BBC Radio Sheffield’s political reporter Kevin Larkin said: “On the advice of his GP, Jared has limited some of his activities and duties as the MP for Sheffield Hallam. This includes attending Parliament at the present time.

    “However, Jared continues to serve as the MP for Sheffield Hallam and continues to represent his constituents in other ways.

    “He and his staff are working very hard to serve his constituents in Sheffield Hallam, including with casework enquiries.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42336727

    James,

    mental health always matters and I’m sure Mr O’Mara is under a lot of pressure. To be honest I suspect this will blow over and he will spend the rest of his parliamentary term representing Hallam, I rather suspect he won’t be the Labour candidate next time though. He strikes me as a man out of his depth doing a job he didn’t really expect to do, the spot light that fell on his previous behavior ( because he beat Nick Clegg ) will only have ramped up the pressure.

  • David Becket 13th Dec '17 - 7:58pm

    That he has been advised not to attend Parliament by his GP should cut dead the criticism from this site and party. It does not however mean that Laura should not do everything she can to help constituents, but we must take care that in any future election the claim that we have taken advantage of somebody with mental health issues cannot be made against us.
    Take care

  • David Becket 13th Dec '17 - 10:11pm

    Simon Shaw
    I am just saying take care

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