Counting ballot papers

Shock as Liberal Democrats take North Shropshire seat in by-election

The Liberal Democrats have stunned the Conservatives with the party’s Helen Morgan overturning a near 23,000 majority to win the North Shropshire by-election that took place on 16 December.

The by-election was called after the resignation of the constituency’s former MP Owen Paterson, who resigned last month after he was found to have breached lobbying rules.

Since the seat was established in 1983, it has been held by the Conservatives continuously, until now, with the Liberal Democrats now holding the constituency with a 5,925 majority after a drop of 31% in the Conservative vote from the 2019 general election.

At that election, the Liberal Democrats finished third, with Labour finishing second, however, the latter were down 12% at this poll, with the former increasing their vote by 37%.

In her victory speech, Ms Morgan criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership and said:

“Tonight the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people, they’ve said loudly and clearly, ‘Boris Johnson, the party is over’.

Thanking the electorate, she said:

“Thank you most of all to the people of North Shropshire, not just for your support throughout this campaign, not just for putting your faith in me to be your champion in Parliament, but for all the hard work and sacrifices you have made over the past two years to get our communities through this awful pandemic.

“I will never take it for granted, my priorities are your priorities. Improving our local ambulance service, GPs and hospitals, supporting our farmers and defending our rural way of life, helping our communities through this new wave of Covid.

“As your MP, I promise I will work for you and only you, I will always put local people and our local communities first. Whether you supported me or someone else, I want to let you know, that I’m here to represent you and stand up for everyone in North Shropshire.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey, who could not be at the count due to isolating from Covid-19 tweeted:

“Millions of people are fed up with Boris Johnson and his failure to provide leadership throughout the pandemic and last night the voters of North Shropshire spoke for all of them.

“Congratulations Helen Morgan, you will make a wonderful MP for your community.”

A total of 14 candidates stood in the by-election, with a turnout of 46.28%, down from 67.9% at the 2019 election.

It is the second time this year that the Liberal Democrats have gained a seat at a by-election from the Conservatives, with the party winning the Buckinghamshire constituency of Chesham and Amersham in June.

North Shropshire by-election results:

Candidate Party Votes Percent
Helen Morgan Liberal Democrats 17,957 47.14%
Neil Shastri-Hurst Conservative 12,032 31.59%
Ben Wood Labour 3,686 9.68%
Duncan Kerr Green 1,738 4.56%
Kirsty Walmsley Reform UK 1,427 3.75%
Andrea Allen UKIP 378 0.99%
Martin Daubney Reclaim 375 0.98%
Howling Laud Hope Monster Raving Looney 118 0.31%
Suzie Akers Smith Independent 95 0.25%
Russell Dean Party 90 0.24%
James Elliot Heritage 79 0.21%
Boris Been-Bunged Rejoin EU 58 0.15%
Earl Jesse Freedom Alliance 57 0.15%
Yolande Kenward No description 3 0.01%
    38,093 100%

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