Boris Johnson is teetering on the brink. The people of Tiverton and Honiton have sent him a resounding message: your time is up. Liberal Democrats have put the government on notice once again – just as we did in North Shropshire and in Chesham and Amersham before that.
This was an astounding victory in a true-blue part of Devon. The last time the Conservatives lost a parliamentary election in the area was 99 years ago. We didn’t just win – we overturned the largest by-election majority in British electoral history. Lifelong Conservative voters said “enough is enough”. The reality is that in this beautiful part of Devon, and across the country, people are sick and tired of this Conservative government.
People are doing their bit – working hard, playing by the rules and raising their families. They deserve a fair deal. But they feel let down by a government that has neglected them and their communities for far too long.
That feeling – of being taken for granted by the Conservatives – was so apparent in countless conversations I’ve had on the doorstep with families in Tiverton and Honiton these past few weeks.
Too many people had horror stories about ambulance wait times. In the South West, they are the worst in the country – almost ninety minutes on average. The Conservatives have run Devon’s NHS services into the ground, breaking waiting time promises for years on end.
The farmers I spoke to were distraught at the way in which Boris Johnson has sold them down the river. The Conservatives are simultaneously cutting farmers’ Basic Payment support by up to 50 per cent, leaving many on the brink, and striking unfair trade deals which will undermine the UK’s high animal welfare standards.
Families all over the constituency were worried about how they were going to fill up their car, pay their bills or heat their homes – and they were angry that rather than provide vital support which is desperately needed, the Conservative government has instead chosen to hike taxes and cut pensions.
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Most of all, people are sick of Boris Johnson. Not only is this man a lawbreaker and clearly unfit to hold public office – what is most clear of all is that the prime minister just doesn’t care. The only thing Boris Johnson is interested in is saving his own skin. His battle for self-preservation risks leading to a summer of discontent as the pressing issues facing the country go unaddressed while Johnson battles to cling on.
Yet Conservative MPs have been too cowardly to do anything about it. They might still have confidence in Boris Johnson. But the people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for the country. Their message is loud and clear: “It’s time to show Boris Johnson the door.”
That is why they have voted for change, and put their trust in a hard-working Liberal Democrat representative, Richard Foord, who I am delighted to say is now the MP for Tiverton and Honiton. Richard served his country so bravely in the armed forces, and now he will do a fantastic job serving his community in parliament.
If the Conservatives continue to ignore places like these, then they will continue to vote for a change. We saw that a year ago, when Liberal Democrats toppled the Blue Wall in Chesham and Amersham. Then, last December, we took a seat off the Conservatives in rural Shropshire. These were areas which had voted Conservative for generations.
Liberal Democrats are winning again. In the West Country, in the Blue Wall and in communities across the country. We are fighting for the fair deal which you deserve.
Source Link Voices: The people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for the country