New MP Helen Morgan demands talks with Sajid Javid over ‘ambulance crisis’

The Liberal Democrat overturned a Tory majority of 23,000 to capture the North Shropshire seat in December.

Helen Morgan in her Westminster office for the first time
Helen Morgan in her Westminster office for the first time

The Liberal Democrat victor in the North Shropshire by-election is demanding a meeting with Health Secretary Sajid Javid to discuss the “ambulance crisis” in the county.

Helen Morgan was sworn in as an MP on Wednesday after she stunned the Tories in last month’s vote, overturning a majority of almost 23,000 to take the previously safe Conservative seat with a winning margin of nearly 6,000 votes.

In her first day at Westminster, Ms Morgan promised to “hit the ground running”, writing to Mr Javid asking him to meet the West Midlands Ambulance Trust which first requested talks four months ago.

“I am here in Westminster to make sure the people of Shropshire are no longer taken for granted by this Conservative Government,” she said.

“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 was clear that 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 told the PA news agency in an interview in 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.

Ms Morgan’s victory in North Shropshire came at the end of a torrid parliamentary session for Boris Johnson which saw 100 Tory MPs revolt over the introduction of Covid passports in England.

The contest was triggered by the resignation of former cabinet minister, Owen Paterson, in the wake of a botched attempt by No 10 to get him off the hook after he was found to have broken rules banning MPs from paid lobbying.

It followed weeks of damaging headlines about reported parties in Downing Street and elsewhere in Whitehall in apparent breach of Covid guidelines in place at the time – prompting some senior Tories question Mr Johnson’s survival chances in No 10.

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