Category: Politics

Whoever thought that Shropshire would dominate the news headlines from before most people had woken today and will still be headlining when they went to bed. Who’d have thought that the Lib Dems could win one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, overturning a majority of 23,000 and racking up a majority of 6,000. It had been a Tory seat for nearly two centuries. This is the stuff of dreams. Sometimes dreams come true. And for some people, other people’s dreams become a nightmare. Including for Boris Johnson. Helen Morgan’s win in North Shropshire was not a one off. It builds on Sarah Green’s win for the Lib Dems in Chesham and Amersham in the summer. It shows the Lib Dems are building strength again after some hard knocks in recent years.

As the media continues to be 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. And now Boris Johnson is proving he is the party gift that keeps on giving. The other political parties have been fading away as hundreds of Lib Dem campaigners have been picking up their phones and travelling to North Shropshire to leaflet and campaign. The Lib Dems are close to clinching the seat. A win will change the political landscape of Shropshire.

Helen Morgan has been selected as the Lib Dem candidate in the North Shropshire by-election, which was 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 Cooper, 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.

There is always an air of excitement about by-elections. General elections and the four yearly local elections are planned well ahead by the political parties, candidates and campaigners. But by-elections are won or lost at short notice. And they can be unpredictable. A by-election is more T20 cricket than a test series. The by-election for the North Shropshire constituency has been underway for a week after the sitting Conservative MP, Owen Paterson, resigned amid allegations of abusing his parliamentary position by lobbying for two food companies that paid him £100,000 a year. The by-election will be held on 16 December. The only candidates currently announced is one for the right wing Reform Party and an anti-sleaze domiciled overseas. Other parties are selecting candidates now. Shropshire Council’s meeting on 16 December is to be shifted as councillors will be out campaigning and, more importantly, key officers will at the polling stations and the count.

Johnson sucked into a black hole after Paterson resigns

You can’t lose more credibility than this. Boris Johnson, distracted no doubt by glad handing world leaders at COP26 and his slap up dining with Telegraph grandees at the Garrick, arrived back at No 10 to find that he was swirling towards the black hole of political failure. His attempt to protect North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson from allegations of lobbying on behalf of his food industry paymasters failed. Big time. Jacob Rees Mogg yesterday cancelled the review of loyal Tory MPs had voted for just hours before. Paterson, back on the hook and facing suspension, resigned. Dominic Cummings once described Boris Johnson as “a shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other”. It is a cruel irony that Owen Paterson was shopping in a supermarket when he learnt that the wheels had come off his political career. Boris Johnson, who had hoped that COP26 would be his finest hour, has perhaps made the biggest mistake of his political career and even his fellow Tories are raging.

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