North Shropshire: Helen Morgan says health crisis is first priority

We can’t have enough of Helen Morgan here on Lib Dem Voice. What a Christmas present! With Sarah Green’s win in Chesham and Amersham, we are beginning to build our strength on the national political scene. This morning, Helen spoke to Adam Green and Joanne Gallagher on BBC Radio Shropshire.

It was a very human interview covering the practicalities everyone faces on the first day in a new job. Helen said that one of her first priorities will be to write to Sajid Javid about the health crisis, which is nationwide but worse here in Shropshire. She promised to work on the casework that came up during the campaign and to focus on local issues.

Here are some extracts from the interview.

Adam Green:

“I guess the dust still hasn’t settled in the wake of the historic election result.”

Joanne Gallagher:

“Not really. It’s still one of the main stories that everyone’s talking about. I mean, you mentioned the word historic it was historic, wasn’t it? It’s a huge result… A huge huge victory for the Liberal Democrats in the early hours of Friday morning. In the Tory camp, the buzzword has been ‘disappointing’…”

Adam Green:

“I’m pleased to say we can be joined on the programme by the North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan. Good morning, Helen… You’ve had the weekend then to reflect on your victory. What are your thoughts now here on Monday morning?”

Helen Morgan:

“Well, obviously there’s a there’s a lot to be done and we need to get back in straightaway. There’s a lot of admin to do for the new job today, which I’m doing remotely because of the Omicron concentration in London. So, I’m staying in North Shropshire today. This evening my secure laptop arrives by courier and I’m doing the induction online.

“But for me, starting to deliver on the promises that I made during the election. I’m working today on a letter to Sajid Javid to require some action on the ambulance waiting time issue and the issues we’ve got with A&E. I’ll be sitting down with the team that were helping me during the campaign and starting to look at him the casework that came up then as well…”

Referring to her family, Helen said:

“We’ve got a lot of adaptation to make to our way of life now but… we’re all really happy that it’s come off this way… At the moment, the standard date [for swearing in] is the fifth of January. If they need to recall to bring in stricter COVID measures this week, then I’ll be on the train.

“I’m going to get stuck and start looking at some of the issues that need resolving. Obviously, the health crisis, which is a nationwide crisis that is particularly acute here… That’s going to be my priority for this week. Then I’ll be looking at some of the other issues that we campaigned on, for example, around the agricultural trade deals and start to develop a campaign on those as well. I want to help everybody in North Shropshire whether or not they voted for me. And those people that lent me their votes that might normally vote for another party. I hope that they can be confident that I will deliver the promises that I’ve made and will work hard on the issues that matter to us locally.”

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  • Nigel Hunter 20th Dec '21 - 4:28pm

    Do not forget to visit the 90 year old lady who has always voted Lib.Who has dreamed for many a year for this day.

  • There was a suggestion in the New Statesman podcast, that the LibDems won N.Shropshire by pavement politics, anti sleaze and pointing out who was best to beat the Tories, rather than targeting many issues.

    While it worked, was this how it was done?

  • Tristan Ward 20th Dec '21 - 7:46pm

    I didn’t see much about ” sleeze” as such but it seems a perfectly reasonable thing to do do, to point out the corruption of the governing party (for corrupt is what they are)

    “One rule for them and other rules for the rest of us” was said quite a lot. And that is an issue we’ll worth campaigning on in my book.

  • Chris Moore 20th Dec '21 - 7:47pm

    Pavement politics means raising vital issues on the doorstep: in this case the local plight of the NHS and ambulance services.

    Those issues are present nationally. And it would make sense for the party to try to gain some national leverage based on Helen Morgan’s efforts locally.

  • John McHugo 20th Dec '21 - 8:46pm

    Interesting that she mentions up front so soon after her election that she will be looking at some of the issues “around the agricultural trade deals that we campaigned on”. Go for it, Helen! This could be a real opportunity for the party, because farmers all over the country must be so fed up and suffering in their pockets – sometimes to the point of bankruptcy – because of the current deal with the EU.

  • It’s interesting reading some of the feedback from other parties, or journalists who usually back other parties, as they try to rationalise the result. It’s inevitable many will come up with theories that fit their pre-existing world view, so what stands out more to me are the ones that seem to think that listening to the concerns of the electorate and intending to represent them in Parliament is cheating.

    People have become so used to politicians representing their party (or themselves) with everything they do, including every media appearance, that they’ve forgotten that MPs are supposed to represent their constituents.

  • If the health crisis is genuinely Helen Morgan’s first priority, I hope that she will be prepared to vote in support of vaccine/ LFD certificates, if that is the only alternative to closing some services to everyone, whether of not they are vaccinated – including if parliament is recalled this week.

  • Chris Moore 21st Dec '21 - 7:32am

    @Fiona: It’s positive that other parties are under-estimating us.

    Free of the millstone of our very unpopular and self- defeating stance on Europe prior to Brexit, we are in play in a swathe of seats where we used to have significant support from liberal-minded Eurosceptic voters. Many seats in the West Country and elsewhere. Let’s hope the other parties fail to recognise this.

    Ambulance and GP waiting times are a great proxy for concern about the NHS.

    Standing up for farmers negatively affected by Brexit is another great avenue for our party: we constantly warned of Brexit downsides.

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