Tag Archives: rebecca hanson

This is our time now: a time for assertiveness and for anger

This country deserves better than to be ruled as it is by an Alice–in-Wonderland government, feebly countered by a Humpty-Dumpty official opposition.

I am angry that, as a result, in my neighbouring Copeland constituency our Liberal Democrat candidate Rebecca Hanson was sidelined by the clash of these tottering Titans. Of course she did well to double our share of the vote and beat the hollow UKIP, but not nearly as well as such an excellent standard-bearer deserved.

Instead the representative of this uncaring, and ultimately incompetent government of ours went to Westminster.

The Liberal Democrat campaign in Copeland was focused. ‘Who is fighting hard Brexit?’ demanded one leaflet, which explained how the Liberal Democrats are the only party fighting to protect jobs, jeopardised by the Conservative plan to leave the Single Market. Rebecca’s support for the further investment in the local nuclear industry was there, with back-up details.

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Mrs Copeland

Copeland is a place of significance for me, I love it to bits, and I wish I had been able to come up and help the campaign. On Thursday, Rebecca Hanson and team delivered a solid result for us in Copeland, doubling our vote share and forcing UKIP down into fourth place. Of course, we are by no means a close third, but over time could this become a Lib Dem target seat?

Neighbouring seat Westmorland and Lonsdale, held by our own Tim Farron, had a strong tradition of Lib Dem second places by the time he won in 2005, while in Copeland our vote has snuck above ten percent only twice; in 2005 and 2010. This by-election has been seen by some as purely a start to the Cumbria County Council elections in May, and I think that has its own benefits. Rebecca did a fantastic job of getting our name out there, even to the isolated villages in the fells.

My Grandma lives in one of those villages, and tells me that they have a lamppost at the bottom of her road which has been broken for approaching a year. The council have been contacted again and again to fix it, but nothing has been done, except a bloke coming to take the bulb out. This broken lamppost makes it incredibly difficult to see pedestrians or to pull out of the road at night – it is impossible to see the cars that race over the fells like lemmings, flinging themselves around corners without slowing or looking. A small thing to be sure, but this local dog-dirt politics is how we built ourselves up across the country – if evidence is needed, I refer you to Paddy Ashdown’s book ‘A Fortunate Life’ where he details how he won Yeovil on campaigns of this kind.

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++Copeland by-election – Lib Dems more than double vote share and move up to third place, beating UKIP

Congratulations to Rebecca Hanson and the team for an excellent showing at the Copeland by-election, caused by the resignation of Labour’s Jamie Reed. Our vote share more than doubled from 3.5% at the 2015 general election to 7.25%. We moved up from fourth place to third – beating UKIP.

Dramatically, the Tories won the by-election in this normally rock-solid Labour seat. Psephologist John Curtice told the BBC that this was the biggest gain, in share of the vote, by a governing party in a byelection since the Hull North byelection in 1966.

Here is the result in full, plus some bar charts from the Press Association’s Ian Jones:

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Come to Copeland

We have had a busy few days here in the Copeland by-election campaign. Across this enormous constituency that stretches from Keswick in the north-east, across fells and lakes to the port of Whitehaven, and then down the coast past St Bees and Sellafield, all the way down to Millom in the South, and then back up across Eskdale and Wasdale including the majesty of Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, the Lib Dem fightback has been in action.

Our excellent candidate Rebecca Hanson has grabbed the moment; demonstrating to local, regional and national media her deep knowledge of key local issues. The threat that the Tories’ hard Brexit brings to a range of industries; nuclear, hospitality, and farming.  The problems of the NHS, not just the winter crisis experienced across the country, but also the so called ‘success regime’ – NHS reorganisation in West Cumbria – which could force women in labour to travel for more than 90 minutes to get to a maternity unit. As a former teacher and teacher-trainer Rebecca understands the life opportunities provided by good education in all schools. She has been campaigning alongside parents at Whitehaven school for more than a year, demanding action from the Government to replace the failing academy sponsor at Whitehaven Academy.

This seat has been Labour for the past 82 years. Yet on the streets we hear again and again repeated criticism of public services and the actions and inactions of Copeland District Council. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour are no longer the natural choice of these disaffected voters. They are yearning for a credible new choice. UKIP are doing little here, their efforts diverted to Stoke to support Paul Nuttall’s attempts to come a poor third… Which leaves Theresa May’s hard Brexit Tories – this shouldn’t be their seat. Across the villages and farms of Copeland and Allerdale Lib Dem volunteers have gone out into areas which haven’t seen a Focus for a decade or more, and engaged local voters reminding them of the damaging effects of a hard Brexit, and that a Conservative victory would not be good for this constituency and the public services upon which local people depend.

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Farron campaigns in Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent

Tim Farron has been campaigning for our by-election candidates, Rebecca Hanson in Copeland and Dr Zulfiqar Ali in Stoke-on Trent Central.

His day started in Keswick where he and Rebecca met a Flood Action Group:

From  the Times and Star reports:

The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP believes that Mrs Hanson is an “astonishingly good” candidate for Copeland.

He said: “Her track record for campaigning on health service issues is known across the constituency and is known for being utterly authentic.

“This is not someone who is jumping on the bandwagon.

“What you get in Rebecca is someone who fights the corner of all the Copeland communities and makes clear that they may be beautiful places but they are also tough places where there is real need.

“We are also the only party fighting against a hard Brexit and the move out of the single market that wasn’t on the ballot paper.

“The majority of British people wanted to be in the single market so to do that without consulting them is just wrong.”

Mrs Hanson expects the campaign to ramp up over the weekend ahead of the by-election next Thursday.

She said: “I’ve loved every single second of it so far.

“I love building democracy, communicating with people and coming to people who are feeling disillusioned at politics and democracy because when I talk to people all that melts away.

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Campaigning in Copeland

In Copeland we’re energetically getting on with promoting our excellent candidate, Rebecca Hanson in the by-election which takes place on 23 February. Willing helpers are flocking to this huge constituency. There is immense Facebook support, but the pleasures of reaching out to the towns and villages between the fells and the sea are considerable, so we invite many more of you to come to share them with us in the next, crucial, ten days.

Yesterday morning Roger Putnam, Vice-Chair of our Copeland and Workington Executive, and I managed to beat the rain, leafletting in Seascale in the south-west of the constituency under only a slight drizzle. This was our third visit to Seascale, delivering the Health Facilities survey, a second  leaflet, and now the tabloid glossy proclaiming, Rebecca Hanson and the Liberal Democrats. Fighting to protect local jobs from hard Brexit, improve local schools and safeguard our NHS.

A lone Tory was out at the same time, delivering an eight-page A4 breezily entitled Cumbria View, of uncertain purpose. As with the Labour Party here, it feels as if the Conservatives are relying on past loyalties for their votes. Well, we aim to bring the focus firmly into the present. For a start, Rebecca seems to be winning the leaflet contest; the house porches blossomed with orange leaflets, the freepost delivery having just arrived as well.

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Sal Brinton and Rebecca Hanson meet health workers in Copeland

Party President Sal Brinton has been to Copeland to campaign with our by-election candidate Rebecca Hanson. They met with local health workers to hear about their concerns.

From the News and Star:

Mrs Hanson said that the meeting – held at Keswick’s Quaker Meeting House – also allowed the health leaders to truthfully express their own opinions on the situation in Copeland.

They don’t get heard on any of this because they’re suffocated with people from elsewhere trying to impose structural change on them that won’t work and won’t make any sense in any way,” she added. “I’d created sessions specifically because I know this spirit and I know it could emerge and it was just lovely to see.

“They were going into some really technical detail about the kind of schemes they’re trying to get approval for that would improve and lead to better training for multi-skilled consultants.

She knew some of the people and bodies that they’re working with, so she was able to make a connection and will be talking to those people, including Norman Lamb.”

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