Tag Archives: North Shropshire by-election

Helen Morgan’s inaugural: In the footsteps of the Women of Wem

In her inaugural speech in the House of Commons today, the country’s newest MP Helen Morgan told MPs:

“I will not give up fighting for the issues that matter most to North Shropshire: better access to health and ambulance services, a fair deal for farming, and proper provision of public services.”

Helen began by setting herself in the context on North Shropshire:

“While I am the first woman to represent North Shropshire in parliament, I am continuing a fine tradition of women in North Shropshire defending our democracy.”

She follows in the footsteps of the Women of Wem and made clear the Lib Dems opposition to the Judicial Review and Courts Bill.

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Vince Cable says we could win 30 more seats in 2024

Writing in the Independent today, Vince Cable predicts: ”A realistic if optimistic outlook is that the Lib Dems could take 30 more Tory seats at the next general election.” Some may think that is ambitious but if we don’t have ambition we are never going to succeed.

He begins with Orpington, a by-election, on a massive 26 per cent swing in 1962. That was fifty years ago and the political quicksand has shifted since then. But it doesn’t mean that, buoyed by our successes in Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire, we can’t deliver 30 MPs.

The experience in North Shropshire was that people no longer talked about the coalition. Only the very left talks about that now. We need to stride forward. Build on the excitement and momentum that we have gained during 2021. Ensure that we can get more MPs elected in 2024.

Over to Vince Cable.

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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.

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North Shropshire: Helen Morgan talks to Midlands Politics (video)

This morning Helen spoke to BBC Midlands politics.

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North Shropshire: It wasn’t too good to be true after all!

A few minutes ago, I had that very satisfying feeling of adding Helen Morgan to my Twitter lists of Lib Dem MPs and Lib Dem Parliamentarians. A wee thing, but an immensely satisfying moment.

I am not at my best at the moment. It turns out that I’m not as good as I used to be at this staying up till 4:40 am then doing a day’s work malarkey. But I can’t stop smiling. This has been a very good day.

And that bursting of the Boris bubble made me smile. I enjoyed it much more than the Blue Wall bashing from June.

Exactly 6 months ago, hundreds of Lib Dems were wandering around Chesham and Amersham on a Summer’s evening trying to turn people out to vote. I was taking part in the phone knock-up. In a few hours’ time, we would welcome Sarah Green as our 12th MP. Even in our moment of glory after that, if you had told us that within 6 months, we’d be welcoming Helen Morgan as our 13th after winning North Shropshire, we’d have laughed.

When Owen Paterson announced his resignation on 4th November, the party had some decisions to take about how to approach this by-election. Within two days, we had leafletted half the constituency with a very clear message setting out that we were the challengers. Establishing yourself in that position is key. We knew that the local party was totally up for a fight and that was a key part of the decision to start looking for kitchen sinks.

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Ed Davey on historic North Shropshire win and Keir Starmer pact

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey spoke to BBC reporter Justin Webb earlier this morning. He said he was proud of our party and our campaigners. We have brought hope to the whole nation by proving the Conservatives can be beaten anywhere. Brexit was not an issue in the by-election. Voters were more concerned about ambulances and GPs.

Ed is cool on a pact with Keir Starmer for the next general election but confident that we can make more inroads into the Blue Wall.

Here is the transcript.

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Helen Morgan acceptance speech: “ Johnson you are no leader”

What a victory! Nearly six thousand majority. There are huge implications for the government and Boris Johnson. We’ll cover those in later articles.

In her speech, she told the prime minister, Helen said:

Our country is crying out for leadership. Mr Johnson, you are no leader.

She told the voters in North Shropshire:

Your amazing efforts have delivered a gift of hope to our country, just in time for Christmas… I promise I will work for you and only you. I will always put local people and our communities first.

Helen said the NHS in Shropshire is teetering on the brink. The rural economy is in a precarious state.

Below, we report Helen’s acceptance speech in full. Here is the recording.

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++++Helen Morgan wins North Shropshire!!!

March the brass bands. Beat the drums. Sound the trombones. Honk the horns. Dance through the streets. Silence the soothsayers, those that thought this by-election couldn’t be won.

We won this by-election and won it well. Turning a 22,949 “unassailable” vote for the Tories into a stonking win for us. A Tory majority of votes transformed into a stunning vote for the Lib Dems. A swing to us of 34%, giving us a majority of 5,925.

Helen Morgan won this by-election. The team supporting her won it. The hundreds of Lib Dem activists from around the country won it. Our national team won it. Ed Davey won it. Our MPs won it. Now they are 13 strong.

This was not just a bloody nose for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives. It was a bloody good win for the Lib Dems.

  • Lib Dems: 17,957
  • Conservatives: 12,032
  • Labour: 3,686
  • Green: 1,738
  • Reform: 1,127

We must now ensure that Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire are just the beginning. We have taken some hard knocks as a party in recent years. But now we have picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off. We have shown that we again can be winners. Winning here. Winning everywhere.

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“Is Boris Johnson honest?”

That was the question asked by journalist Michael Crick yesterday. And the person he asked was the Conservative candidate in the North Shropshire by-election.

Unfortunately we have to link to the Daily Mail so you can see his answer(s), but it is worth watching the whole of this gem of a video.

To everyone helping today’s efforts – have a great day!  And good luck to Helen Morgan.

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Davey: North Shropshire now a “coin toss” between Lib Dems and Conservatives

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has said the crucial North Shropshire by-election tomorrow (Thursday 16 December) is now a “coin toss” between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

The once ultra-safe Conservative seat is now under serious threat, amid local anger about ambulance waiting times, farmers being let down and rural communities feeling taken for granted by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats knocked on over 23,000 doors last weekend with over 1,000 volunteers on the ground during the final week. On eve of the poll today, Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan was joined on the campaign trail by five of the party’s MPs.

Even a close second for the party would deal a major further blow to Boris Johnson’s authority in what should be one of the safest Conservative seats in the country.

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How will you help Helen win North Shropshire tomorrow?

I’ve not long finished hosting the eve of poll Maraphone for Helen Morgan in North Shropshire. It was a busy night – breakout rooms and everything. And it took Eastbourne PPC Josh Babarinde a whole hour to find anyone who would admit to voting Conservative tomorrow.

And what was absolutely amazing was that Ed Davey came along and joined us for a while. The indefatigable campaigner wasn’t going to let a wee tussle with Omicron get him down. He has been to North Shropshire so often they will probably send him a Council Tax bill and he is clearly gutted that he can’t be there tomorrow. But to come and hit the phones despite feeling poorly is above and beyond the call of duty.

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Ed Davey talks about prospects in North Shropshire

Interviewed by Joanne Gallagher, BBC Radio Shropshire’s political reporter earlier yesterday in Wem at the heart of the North Shropshire constituency, Ed Davey said:

It’s a two horse race. I think everyone knows that now.

It’s really exciting. It’s really close. Too close to call. The Lib Dem campaign has been really positive. Helen Morgan has gone down really well. She is a local candidate and that matters to a lot of people. She is taking up issues that people are really caring about. Ambulances. Access to GPs. I think people are thinking at long last someone is going to listen to them. Someone is going to represent them. They do feel that the Conservatives have taken them for granted for so long.

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North Shropshire: Dogs, knees and a bouncy Davey – video

It’s been a great few weeks in North Shropshire, albeit a bit on the chilly side with some bad storms. Hundreds of supporters have turned out to support Helen Morgan in her campaign to storm a “true blue” bastion. This huge effort has turned the tide and the bookies are giving the Lib Dems better odds than the Tories.

There are just three days campaigning to go, plus polling day. We’ll be publishing the result on LDV just as soon as it is announced in the early hours of Friday morning. And through the day and weekend, we will be publishing commentary on the result.

We are clear favourites with the bookies even though the Tories are trying to fight back with a belated push. If you can get to North Shropshire or pick up the phone, please pitch in to help Helen Morgan win on Thursday. Day-to-day details are on the campaign Facebook page.

Volunteer to take part. Donate to the campaign.

Below, we publish a video highlighting just a selection of the images from the campaign.

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Nearly two-thirds of Shropshire ambulances delayed at A&E – second worst performance in country

I am a health assistant in a GP practice in south Shropshire. We are working flat out to get everyone jabbed and catch up with the backlog of patients who had not recognised or reported their conditions during the long periods of lockdown and shielding. Further north in the county, the situation is no different and the county is getting worse with the onset of winter pressures.

GPs are overstretched across Shropshire. Hospitals are at capacity with 93% of adult general and acute beds occupied. Ambulance arrival times and transfer times are growing. Nearly two-thirds of 999 ambulances must wait for 30 minutes or more to hand over patients outside the county’s two A&Es. On one day recently, there were no ambulances available in the county. This is much worse than elsewhere and much worse than last year.

I am getting frightened by the growing delays in ambulances picking up patients transferring them into A&E. People in Shropshire needing time critical treatment have died while waiting for an ambulance or hospital transfer. This is a major issue in the North Shropshire by-election.

The handover times at the Royal Shrewsbury and Princes Royal Hospital A&Es are the second longest in England. Sixty three per cent of ambulances must wait for more than thirty minutes outside our A&Es before they can handover their patients.

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Shropshire win in sight – Boris is party gift that keeps on giving

As the media remains saturated with stories of Christmas parties past, one party is unexpectedly struggling in North Shropshire with just seven days to go. That party is the Conservatives who have gone from being strong favourites to neck and neck with the Lib Dem’s Helen Morgan.

There has always been a sense that North Shropshire has been in the peripheral view of the Conservatives. If they thought about the constituency at all, they thought it was a safe out of way place. Rather than choosing a local person for the by-election, they selected a candidate from Birmingham with little knowledge of the constituency. And now Boris Johnson is adding to that error by proving he is the party gift that keeps on giving.

The other political parties have been fading away as hundreds of Lib Dem campaigners pick up their phones or travel to North Shropshire to leaflet and campaign. We are doing great. Helen Morgan is doing great. We are close to clinching this. A win will change the political landscape of Shropshire. A win will tell the world Lib Dems are winning here. A win will set us up for winning everywhere.

Join us for the final seven-day push.

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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.

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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

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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,

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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