New North Shropshire MP sworn in at Parliament as she calls for ambulance action

The county's newest MP has wasted no time on her first day at Westminster, calling for action over the region's under pressure ambulance service.

New North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan elbow bumps the Speaker after being sworn in at the House of Commons
New North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan elbow bumps the Speaker after being sworn in at the House of Commons

Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan sent shockwaves through the British political establishment when she overturned a mammoth Conservative majority to win the North Shropshire by-election in December.

On Wednesday she was at Westminster for her first day in the Houses of Parliament, and was also officially worn in as an MP ahead of Prime Minister's questions.

After taking her oath she was cheered by fellow MPs as she bumped elbows in a Covid-safe greeting with the Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Mr Hoyle welcomed her to the house, said he was sure she would enjoy it, and added that she knew where he was if she needed him.

Writing on Twitter Mrs Morgan said: "An incredible honour to be sworn in as the Member of Parliament for North Shropshire this afternoon! Looking forward to representing my constituents in Westminster."

Earlier Mrs Morgan had begun her term in Westminster by writing to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, outlining concerns over the difficulties facing Shropshire's ambulance services.

She has asked Mr Javid to attend a meeting with West Midlands Ambulance Service to discuss the issues.

Helen Morgan on her first day in office at Westminster

The service has been under extreme pressure in recent months, with warnings that it has been unable to attend some serious calls as quickly as it needs to, and that patients have come to harm as a result of the difficulties.

One of the biggest problems facing the service has been hospital handover times, with ambulances frequently delayed outside the county's hospitals as they wait to transfer patients.

Speaking after arriving at the Houses of Parliament she said: "I am here in Westminster to make sure the people of Shropshire are no longer taken for granted by this Conservative Government.

“The ambulance crisis is a life and death situation in Shropshire. I can’t think of many other meetings which are more important than this one. The Health Secretary cannot ignore this request any longer.”

Though staffing problems are being exacerbated by the record levels of coronavirus cases driven by the Omicron strain, Ms Morgan said strains on the ambulance service are more deeply embedded, arguing constituents have suffered waiting times exceeding 12 hours since October.

“We’ve had people waiting for ambulances for very long periods of time since before this big wave of Omicron so it’s not just an Omicron issue,” she said from Parliament’s central lobby.

“That’s going to be really critical over the next three or four weeks but it’s not going to go away when that crisis subsides.”

Ms Morgan called for “short-term emergency measures” such as more funding and staff to get to critically ill people treatment faster, but also a long-term plan to deal with more systemic issues including social care and GP shortages.

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