Tag Archives: North Shropshire by-election

North Shropshire: We’re using actual staples on our leaflets so this is serious


I’m just resting up before another blitz of Focii-ing in North Shropshire early this morning.

The constituency is similar to Brecon and Radnorshire in that you can drive for what seems like hours and still see orange posters, denoting that you are still in the constituency. – A vast and beautiful rural area with some wonderful towns.

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Guardian – vote Liberal Democrat in North Shropshire

It would be fair to say that the relationship between Liberal Democrats and the Guardian has been somewhat lukewarm for some time. The likes of Polly “that Liberal Democrat idea is very good, vote Labour” Toynbee have given us a thorough kicking for doing a bunch of things in coalition that Labour would have probably done had they not lost in 2010. But I digress…

Today’s Guardian editorial, headed “The Guardian view on a byelection test: Labour voters should back the Lib Dems”, is perhaps a sign that the pragmatists are at the editorial helm. In a forceful piece, they note;

But

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

UPDATED – two North Shropshire Conservative Councillors defect

Well, well, well, what is happening to the Tories in North Shropshire? It is reported this morning that Anthony Allen, a Town Councillor in Market Drayton, has defected to Reclaim, who have claimed him as their first elected councillor.

Now, as a parish councillor myself, describing Mr Allen as a top Tory councillor, as Reclaim have done, is a bit like describing me as a senior figure in Suffolk local government, but it does give the impression of a Conservative campaign in disarray.

As reported by the Independent;

The 54-year-old cab company owner said his former party had “gone soft on illegal immigration,

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Ed Davey says Lib Dems challenging Tories hard in North Shropshire

With just 12 days to go before the by-election, called after Owen Paterson resigned amid allegations that he had used his parliamentary position to lobby for companies that paid him, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey spoke to BBC Midlands Today yesterday from Oswestry.

We are getting a sense that it is very close between us and the Conservatives. We are clearly challenging them very hard and Helen Morgan, our candidate, is going on really well. We are focussing on the issues people really care about like ambulance waiting times. Frankly, people feel taken for granted by the Conservatives. So, we

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Johnson panic visit to North Shropshire a cynical attempt to gloss over decades of neglect

Commenting on Boris Johnson’s visit to North Shropshire today, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

The Prime Minister turning up in North Shropshire is nothing less than a panic visit, two weeks out from the election because he’s scared of an upset.

His visit will be seen for what it is – a cynical attempt to gloss over the fact that people are worried sick about ambulance wait times and feel taken for granted.

The people of North Shropshire are ready to send a message to Johnson’s government: their local health services have been failed, local farmers are being

Posted in News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

North Shropshire’s Helen Morgan talks to LDV about campaign issues

The North Shropshire by-election is two weeks’ today. Yesterday, I spent half-a-hour talking to the Lib Dem candidate for North Shropshire, Helen Morgan. I was impressed by her determination, her grasp of the issues from farming to public transport, and of the biggest issue, health. The first article discussing how the campaign is going was published earlier today.

Helen spoke of the difficulty in getting to see a GP and the queues of ambulances outside the county’s A&E’s. In a very rural part of England, farmers are struggling in the transition from basic farm payments to the new Environmental Land Management System (ELMS). There is space in rural areas for some solar farms and for microgeneration of renewable electricity.

Public transport is a major issue, especially the infrequency of buses. The difficulty in getting housing people can afford is also high on the agenda.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Young Liberals produce new campaign guide

As Helen Morgan’s campaign in North Shropshire gathers momentum – see last night’s post showing that we are doing even better there than in Chesham and Amersham at the same stage) – party members are flocking to the seat.

The Young Liberals are always a big part of any by-election and have already held several action days there with more to come until polling day on 16th.

You have no idea how much I want those shoes, by the way.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

North Shropshire’s Helen Morgan talks to LDV about the campaign

Yesterday, I spent half-a-hour talking to the Lib Dem candidate for North Shropshire, Helen Morgan.

In this first of two articles, Helen tells us how the campaign is going with just two weeks to go. Sleaze is not a big topic on the doorsteps but trust in politicians is very low. People in Shropshire are fed up with politicians who appear for a photo call during an election but don’t try to solve local problems in between. Helen wants to help restore that trust.

The Conservative vote is very soft. A lot of people are thinking about switching their votes, or maybe even not voting at all, because they are disillusioned with the way they’ve been treated over many decades by their Conservative representatives. A lot of people say that it’s time for a change in North Shropshire.

The canvassing of the postal voters has given really good results:

We can win if we get enough boots on the ground to come and put the leaflets through the door.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Lib Dems looking good in North Shropshire according to “confidential” briefing

If you want people to spread some news, the best way to get them to do it is to send them an email marked “Confidential” and tell them not to pass information on because it’s “secret”.

To add a dash of drama, you send it out at 6:03 am, saying that you’ve just come out of the “daily briefing with the by-election team in North Shropshire.”

I don’t doubt for a second that Lib Dem Chief Exec Mike Dixon is an early riser and his cannily timed email to catch party members when they had their breakfast or were on their morning commute was a great way to get the message out that we are doing well.

The news that he was imparting, that our internal polling shows that we are only 10 points behind the Tories in the postal vote, had already appeared on Twitter last night.

This compares well with the Chesham and Amersham situation at the same time.

Certainly this chimes with the accounts of every single person I know (and that’s a lot of people, including some hardened cynics) who has been knocking doors in North Shropshire, and with my own efforts on the phone.

There is a lot of excitement about this by-election and there is a real feeling that we should not limit our ambitions.

Our candidate, Helen Morgan, is absolutely brilliant and is already acting as an MP should:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Postal votes: Shout out if you are helping in North Shropshire this weekend

There is the clatter of the letter box. Among the bills and magazines is a white envelope that contains the postal voting form. That is happening right now in North Shropshire. Postal votes are critical to us winning this by-election. And we can win this by-election. We have the right candidate. The right team. But in this huge constituency, we need people on the ground and on the phones to persuade people that this does not have to remain a true blue seat.

There is a lot of talk about the Lib Dems having to climb a mountain to win this by-election. A mountain is a challenge but not an impossibility. If we win this by-election, we will change the political dynamics of the Welsh Marches. We are a Tory leaning area with a huge streak of Lib Dem support. Winning here means that we can win so many other wards, councils and constituencies.

We need to tell the world that the Lib Dems are back.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds | 1 Comment

Momentum builds for Lib Dems in N Shropshire as Ed Davey visits again…

So the Lib Dems are certainly dominating with tweets on North Srhopshire and also with campaigning on the ground.

The campaign is really taking off as party members from all over the country visit. If, like me, you can’t travel at the moment, see under the cut for details of how you can be part of this.

There won’t be many from further away than Alistair Carmichael who has been in Wem this weekend instead of at home in Orkney.

This has all the hallmarks of the Great Lib Dem By-Election campaigns. It’s hard work and lots of fun!

And Ed Davey is enjoying himself, he’s back for his third visit in two weeks:

He spoke to the local paper, telling them:

When I am talking to people on their doorsteps I would think about a third of them are telling me about problems they had faced themselves.

I have been told of eight to nine-hour waits for ambulances – that really shocked me.”

The Liberal Democrat leader raised the issue of the closure of North Shropshire ambulance stations in the House of Commons.

London Ambulance Service changed its mind about closing down stations. Here West Midlands Ambulance Service has already closed Oswestry and Market Drayton,” he said.

And here are some of the others who have flocked to the constituency this weekend:

 

 

But there might be all sorts of reasons that you can’t get there. Read on to find out how else you can help.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Fourteen candidates to stand in North Shropshire

Some people believe that 13 is an unlucky number. Let’s hope that is the case for the thirteen candidates standing against Helen Morgan in the North Shropshire by-election on 16 December.

The four main contenders are the Lib Dems, Conservatives, Labour and the Green Party. They are joined by a candidate based in Monaco, UKIP, Rejoin EU, Reclaim Party, Heritage Party, Freedom Alliance, Reform UK, an independent and of course the Monster Raving Loony Party. Just five of the candidates live in the constituency: Lib Dems, Labour, Green Party, UKIP and Reform UK. The Conservative candidate lives sixty miles away in Birmingham.

Posted in Op-eds | 17 Comments

One month to go in North Shropshire campaign – we need your help

Just four weeks today, voters will go to the polls across North Shropshire. More than 83,000 voters will have the chance to cast their vote. We can win that vote. Even the bookies think so – odds on Helen Morgan winning have shortened this week with William Hill now offering 2:1.

The previous incumbent, Owen Paterson, held a majority of 22,949. Despite that, the Tories are not invincible in North Shropshire. They have presided over the decline of local NHS services. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was rated as inadequate for the third time today. There are long waits for ambulances and long waits to be transferred into A&E. The reform of Shropshire’s health provision, known as Future Fit, has stalled after years of dithering. Farmers and small businesses are angry at the bureaucracy they must negotiate to export to the EU. People are concerned about climate change and the slow progress locally and nationally on tackling it. Underfunded schools. The lack of rural transport. Low wages. The state of the rural economy.

We have everything to win in North Shropshire. We have a great candidate in Helen Morgan and a great team backing her. We need as many feet on the ground, as many people stuffing envelopes and as many people on the phones as we can get. If you can’t do any of those, please donate. Campaigning details for Saturday are below.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Helen Morgan says the Lib Dems are on the up in North Shropshire

Yesterday, the Lib Dems announced that Helen Morgan has been selected as our candidate for North Shropshire. This morning BBC Radio Shropshire broadcast an interview recorded with her in Wem yesterday.

Helen told Joanne Gallagher, the station’s political reporter, that the Lib Dems have already knocked around 1,000 doors. Problems with the NHS in Shropshire, where there are difficulties in getting GP appointments and people are sometimes waiting for several hours for an ambulance, are top of Helen’s agenda. The bad deal we got out of Brexit and the bureaucracy created are significant issues for farmers and small businesses. A referendum on rejoining the EU is not on the horizon. The trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand are adding to the pressures for farmers who will be undercut by meat and dairy produced to lower standards. The current political maelstrom about MP’s standards doesn’t feature strongly, despite the by-election being called after Owen Paterson resigned after being accused of lobbying for food companies who paid him £100,000 a year.

Can we win? Helen is clear we can: “The Lib Dems are on the up in North Shropshire.”

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 11 Comments

Helen Morgan stands for Lib Dems in North Shropshire

Helen Morgan has been selected as the Lib Dem candidate in the North Shropshire by-election, called after the resignation of Conservative Owen Paterson amid allegations of sleaze.

The campaign in North Shropshire has been underway for a week-and-a-half. Last Saturday Sarah Green, who was elected as MP for Chesham and Amersham in June, opened our campaign HQ near Wem in North Shropshire.

Helen said this morning her top campaigning priority will be to demand a better deal for the constituency’s local health services, which have been taken for granted by the Conservatives for years. It comes with the closure of both of North Shropshire’s ambulance stations, GP services in crisis and A&E wait times on the rise. Helen is also passionate about getting a fair deal for Shropshire’s farmers who are at risk as the Conservatives continue to let them down with disappointing trade deals.

You can donate to the campaign here.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments

Lib Dems North Shropshire campaign gathers momentum

It’s only 10 days since Owen Paterson resigned, but to say that the Lib Dem campaign had got off to a flying start in the by-election would be under-egging the pudding considerably. It’s more of a blast-off than a take-off. We are well into the second leaflet, we have an HQ, and Ed Davey has now been there twice. I also took part in the first campaign Maraphone on Friday.

Here is our last by-election winner, Sarah Green, opening the HQ:

The Young Liberals were there too:

And look who else turned up:

The party’s chief executive sent out one of these “confidential” briefings that is just crying out to be shared, given that most of the info is in the public domain anyway. Part of it was a photo of the first leaflet. Putting “confidential” on something is a good way of getting someone to read it. However, Mike Dixon is pushing at an open door. There is already a sense of excitement building in the party, one that is surprising given that it’s only two years since the last December election.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

North Shropshire campaign ramps up this weekend

The campaign to take the North Shropshire seat from the Conservatives got off to a flying start last weekend, including a visit from Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey. The North Shropshire team supported by campaigners across the country have been leafleting and talking to voters since last Saturday.

The betting odds on the Lib Dem candidates winning this seat have been slashed from 10:1 to 4:1. That’s good when we are trying to overturn a majority of nearly 23,000. I am not suggesting you gamble but if you can get to North Shropshire, please to so and help win the seat whatever the bookies’ odds. There are also other ways you can help if you can’t get there.

Ed Davey and Daisy Cooper are campaigning in Wem on Friday afternoon. Saturday lunch, Tim Farron and Sarah Green will officially launch the campaign just outside Wem at 1pm. Campaigners will also be out in Oswestry, Market Drayton and Whittington over the next few days.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Take back control through electoral reform

This government is the worst in my living memory – and I have lived under quite a few bad ones. Most people, even Conservative diehards, would empathise, especially given the latest ‘stench’.

We will no doubt continue to debate the questions of ‘austerity’ and other failings, but undoubtedly the most ‘strong and stable’ government in recent times was, for all its faults, the coalition administration from 2010-2015. This, by chance, resulted from a General Election conducted under First Past the Post. But given a proportional system of voting, coalition government is almost inevitable – and is to be welcomed.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 126 Comments

Look who’s turned up in North Shropshire…

Look who spent their Sunday in North Shropshire…

Ed made around 16 visits to Chesham and Amersham earlier this Summer. He is the first party leader to show up in the by-election caused by the resignation of Owen Paterson over allegations of paid advocacy.

The Lib Dem campaign seems to have got off to a very good start. My spies tell me that we have delivered a LOT of leaflets this weekend. Given that we didn’t know this by-election was happening until Thursday lunchtime, that is impressive.

We haven’t selected a candidate yet, but I suspect that will happen very quickly.

Ed told local activists in Whitchurch:

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are pumping sewage into our rivers and sleaze into our politics. People in North Shropshire including many lifelong Conservative voters are sick of having their concerns ignored and being taken for granted.

It is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the challengers to the Conservatives in North Shropshire. Labour and the Greens cannot win here.

For too long, the Conservatives have left North Shropshire lagging behind with the local NHS facing real difficulties. A Liberal Democrat by-election victory would send a powerful message to the Conservatives that the people of North Shropshire need to be listened to.

He was accompanied by Helen Morgan, our candidate in the 2019 General Election, who said:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Martin Bell to be Lib Dem candidate in North Shropshire? Don’t hold your breath

The Sunday Times (£) reports today that veteran journalist and anti-sleaze campaigner Martin Bell has been approached by the Lib Dems to be our candidate in the North Shropshire by-election.

The article by Caroline Wheeler and Gabriel Pogrund says:

One thing that may fill older MPs with dread is the symbolic spectre of Martin Bell, who ran against Neil Hamilton on an anti-sleaze ticket in 1997. On Friday, the 83-year-old was called by the Liberal Democrats, who offered him the chance to be their candidate.

This report prompted me to look out my copy of Purple Homicide, the account of his first foray into politics, in Tatton, in 1997, written by then Observer political correspondent John Sweeney. Disgraced Conservative MP Neil Hamilton was allowed to continue as the Conservative candidate after being implicated in the cash for questions affair. The title comes from his description of trousers worn by Neil Hamilton’s wife Christine to an encounter on Knutsford Heath as “a homicidal purple.” The Lib Dems and Labour stood aside to give him a better chance of unseating Hamilton.  The book is well worth reading if you can get hold of a copy.

Martin Bell’s victory over Neil Hamilton was one of many bright spots in the 1997 election. Often dressed in a white suit, he used his time in Parliament to argue for higher standards in public life. Bell stood against Eric Pickles in 2001 over concern about the influence of a local pentecostal church on the Brentwood and Ongar Conservative party but lost heavily. He had promised the voters of Tatton that he would serve for one term only and honoured that promise despite calls for him to stay. His departure paved the way for the election of George Osborne.

I don’t know if the Sunday Times report that we have approached Bell to be our candidate is true. But let’s look at what might happen if it was. I certainly wouldn’t mind him representing us, but I would not hold my breath. I like Martin Bell. His distinctive voice is one of the first I can remember as he reported on the Watergate scandal in the early 70s when I was a small child. I can’t see him entering a contest when Labour are not standing down. I also can’t see him agreeing to enter a contest that could end in him taking a party whip. I suspect he is probably unwhippable, even though our views are probably in alignment on many issues. That, by the way, is not in my view a flaw on his part.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

How YOU can send the Tories a message from North Shropshire

It’s time to fire up the risographs, dust off the rosettes, and hit the doorsteps.

The sleaze scandal that has engulfed the Tories this week has reminded members up and down the country why Boris Johnson’s Government must be beaten. Politics must be better than this.

And the North Shropshire by-election is a great chance to send them a message they can’t ignore – and help cement the party back on the political map.

There was much speculation in the media yesterday about a possible “unity independent anti-corruption” candidate. On Friday morning, Labour ruled this out – so it’s not an available option.

This constituency is fertile territory for the Lib Dems. Labour may have finished second by default in 2019, but things have changed since then.

Most importantly, we have an enthusiastic and energetic local team who have picked up the baton to take the fight to the Tories. They’re the opposition on Shropshire Council and they deserve our support.

In May we finished second across North Shropshire – winning twice as many votes as Labour or the Greens. We came within a whisker of electing five councillors, with Labour nowhere. A casual glance at the seat’s profile makes clear Labour could never win here.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Time to launch attack on Blue Fields of Shropshire

The BBC and the Telegraph have been today reporting an idea that the opposition political parties could stand aside in the forthcoming North Shropshire by-election in favour of an anti-corruption candidate. It’s the Martin Bell strategy resurrected.

It is easy to see why this idea is attractive. Bell, the “Man in the White Suit”, won the Tatton seat as an anti-corruption independent candidate, with more than 60% of the vote. At the previous election, Neil Hamilton of cash for questions fame, had secured 55% of the vote. It was a dramatic and highly publicised drubbing by Bell. It was a stand against sleaze even if it did not stop sleaze.

Was that a one off? Or a strategy we can repeat in North Shropshire?

I don’t think it could possibly work in North Shropshire. And if we don’t field a Lib Dem candidate, we will undermine the growing strength of Lib Dem activists across Shropshire where we have 14 unitary councillors and are aiming for many more.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • David Evans
    Martin & David Raw, I'm sad to disagree with you both on this but facts speak for themselves. 1910 - 272 Liberal MPs, ... Four elections later ... 19...
  • David Raw
    Given tonight’s revelations, Afghanistan, Downing Street and Grenfell, the skids are under Johnson. Whoever is regarded as the most likely candidate to defeat...
  • Nonconformistradical
    "If a private for profit care home goes down financially it somewhat “restricts the freedom of those who use it." Quite. Like those residents who had to be f...
  • Joe Bourke
    The proposed increase in the employment allowance is targeted at helping small businesses recover from the pandemic and crucially be able to hire staff at highe...
  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares
    @ Peter, I suspect that we'd run a candidate as we're little more than background noise in Islington North anyway - our strength was across the south of the ...