This afternoon Theresa May announced that Philip Dunne will continue as Minister of Health under Jeremy Hunt.
In what may be the last general election in the Ludlow constituency, Philip Dunne has been elected MP for Ludlow for the fourth time. He gained 31,432 votes (63% of the vote), with an increased majority of 19,285. No one expected him to lose.
The real action in this campaign was for second place. Labour had high hopes for Julia Buckley. She was a good performer in the hustings and came in second, with a respectable 12,147 votes. Heather Kidd, representing the Liberal Democrats, came third with 5,336 votes. Green candidate Hilary Wendt was fourth with 1,054 votes.
Across the county, the Conservatives held on to all five seats.
The polls have opened. They close at 10pm tonight. Identification is not required to vote at a polling station. You simply need to give your name and address. You do not need your poll card, though it makes it a little quicker if you have it. If you are not certain where to vote, type your postcode into the Electoral Commission website.
Why did May call the election? Because she wants to weaken the opposition by giving herself a sufficient majority to crush the opposition. May had for months steadfastly rebutted any suggestion that she would call a snap general election, before calling it just after Easter. She called this election because she is weak and she does not want to face the scrutiny of an effective opposition. And because she is not strong and stable enough to cope with the incredibly demanding task of being a prime minister.
Theresa May should be denied the majority she is seeking.
On Saturday night and throughout Sunday, NHS staff in London worked flat out in the aftermath of yet another awful terrorist attack. Their work is as admirable as it is professional. Yet moral in the NHS is pitifully low and resources are stretched to breaking point. In rural counties like Shropshire, it is proving near impossible to recruit staff while the uncertainty about reorganisation of the service under Future Fit and the Sustainability and Transformation Plan continues.
Before last weekend’s attack, Eric Smith on Radio Shropshire asked the Ludlow candidates for their views on the NHS during two live hustings – one in the studio and a second on Events Square. My notes below are from these debates. A third husting took place at St Laurence’s Church.