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Shropshire Star comment: Laura Davies's deselection an own goal for Labour

By Shropshire Star | Shrewsbury | Opinions | Published:

If Jeremy Corbyn is to sweep to power, he needs to win Shrewsbury & Atcham.

Dr Laura Davies with Shrewsbury Labour Party campaigners in 2017

As he surveys the wreckage of political infighting in that picturesque Shropshire town, he must realise the scale of the task before him.

Were Labour fighting with clear policies, a united team, a cohesive strategy and a popular leader they might stand a chance.

After all, the Conservatives have been in power for a decade and ours is a nation that hankers for periodic change. Given the quagmire into which politics has descended over Brexit and the warring factions that have polarised the Conservative Party, it could be a time of change. But events in Shrewsbury shows just how unlikely that is.

Laura Davies was a strong local candidate. The Labour Party have deprived themselves of her services because of a political row. Those involved in it would no doubt defend their right to argue and disagree. But a more prescient truth dominates the issue and it is this: the public really doesn’t care.

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People are sick to the back teeth of political fighting; they want our politicians to put forward positive policies, to steer us through turbulent waters as we attempt to negotiate Brexit, they want reassurances that our economy won’t struggle in the years ahead, and they want concrete promises on domestic policies.

People want to know local hospitals will still be standing and providing viable services in years to come. They want to know healthcare and education will be properly funded.

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They want to know the paper-thin social care structures that exist locally will be bolstered. They want to know our environment and our heritage will be protected. They want to know they will be listened to.

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The timing of Labour’s Shrewsbury own goal could come back to haunt both local politicians and the national party.

The forthcoming general election is perhaps the most difficult to call in decades; everything is to play for. Political parties of whatever hue can ill afford self-inflicted wounds of the sort that Labour has walked into in Shrewsbury.

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