Labour councillors reassure residents over South African Covid variant in Norwood.

Norwood Councillors Greg Myers, Carran Waterfield and Mhairi Doyle.

Norwood’s councillors have moved to reassure local residents after the discovery of the South African Covid variant in their ward.  

The news caused widespread concern across Southport after it was revealed yesterday that the Covid mutation had been discovered in the PR9 area.  

Now, the ward’s Labour councillors have sought to calm fears by explaining that the case is actually located in their ward and that while concern is understandable, residents should not be unduly alarmed. They should though be more mindful.

Councillor Greg Myers commented: 

“This variant isn’t necessarily more dangerous in terms of the threat it poses to your health but it is more easily spread to others, so increasing risk in that sense. Residents are advised to carry on following the lockdown guidelines, and those who perhaps haven’t been should certainly start doing so now.” 

 “If before the idea was to stay at home and think twice before making any journeys to ensure they are essential, the advice now is think three times and make certain.”     

“Plans are also being put in place for a widespread testing regime. We understand that there will be two mobile units in place at the old Park and Ride on Foul Lane tomorrow, which will be for ward residents  only to use.”  

Mobile testing units and door-to-door testing will be offered.

“My colleague Mhairi Doyle and I will then be joining a team going door-to-door here offering testing to about 10,000 residents in total. This will begin within the next couple of days once training and logistics have been sorted.”  

Councillor Doyle continued: 

“These will be PCR tests and we’d encourage everyone to do the test when we call at their home, it’s very quick and simple and you will have the results back in a couple of days. Our third Labour Councillor in Norwood, Carran Waterfield, is very sadly on bereavement leave at the moment or would undoubtedly have been helping us with this.”  

“For those residents outside the ward, there are testing facilities at Splash World and also, for those who actually already have Covid symptoms, at the town hall.” 

“The council is also doing what it can to offer a support package if anyone then has to self-isolate and the door-to-door tester will be questioning residents about what needs they will have, if so.”  

“We’d also call on the government to look at improving the sick pay situation for people directly caught up in this pandemic, they must ensure that those who are meant to self-isolate do not feel forced to ignore it because of money concerns.” 

Southport bucks national trend, post-election analysis reveals.

Labour’s Southport Parliamentary Candidate for the 2019 General Election, Liz Savage.

Southport has been hailed as “one of the best performances for Labour in the country”, bucking the national trend of the general election as the party’s vote rose considerably in the constituency.

In an election that proved to be disappointing for many Labour supporters with the party losing voter share across the country, Southport Labour and its parliamentary candidate Liz Savage actually made significant gains, polling nearly 19,000 votes in total. 

Despite ultimately losing on the night, the Labour vote here went up by 6.4% on the previous general election in 2017. The Conservatives also gained ground however and held onto the seat.

In yet another disastrous showing, the Liberal Democrats saw their vote crumble once again to continue a decade of steep decline locally.

It was the strength of the Labour vote in Southport though that stood out, with only two constituencies across the country doing better in terms of both vote share gain and overall vote for Labour – Bradford West and Portsmouth South, both already Labour held.

Buckingham also had a better vote share gain but with a far lower total number of votes polled, less than 8,000, meaning Southport has a strong case for Labour’s best non-defensive result nationally.

Liz Savage says that despite the defeat, she’s immensely proud of the campaign fought and how far Labour support in the town has come in a short time:

“I’d like to thank everyone who has voted for me. We didn’t quite get there this time but just four and a half years ago when I first stood here, the Labour vote in Southport was languishing at just over 4,000 and now it’s just under 19,000.” 

“That’s a testimony to the hard work and dedication of local Labour campaigners and councillors and I’d like to thank them also.”  

“The Brexit Party stood aside here in this election to allow the Conservative candidate unfettered access to the Leave vote, we needed the Liberal Democrats to show the same commitment.”

 “Despite knowing their vote was crumbling and all the advice from the tactical voting sites and the People’s Vote campaign, they refused to do so.”

“For the second general election in succession, they have split the anti-Tory vote here allowing the Conservatives through the middle and they have to own that for the next five years.”

“At least it is abundantly clear to everyone now that the Lib Dems are a spent force here and that Southport is not even a three-way marginal any more but a straight contest between us and the Tories, as we have been saying for some time.”

“Naturally I’m disappointed, not least for all the local residents who have suffered since 2010, but this result provides a rock-solid platform to build from.”

 “It is the best ever vote for Labour in Southport and exceeded the winning vote for Damien Moore last time and John Pugh in two of his elections. We will move on from here.”

Southport CLP Chair Mhairi Doyle with Liz.

Southport Labour Chair Mhairi Doyle commented: 

“It wasn’t quite enough but the context is also very important. To have come so far since 2015 is remarkable for us and to have produced one of the best performances for Labour in the country in this election is very heartening.”

“Nationally, we will learn the lessons from the result but I do find it rather odd that the media and Tories were saying this election was all about Brexit and now it seems they are trying to claim it wasn’t.”

 “While there may have been some other elements at play, there is no doubt in my mind what the overriding factor was and now the Conservatives have to make it work – given some of their wild promises, it will be a very tall order.”

“I firmly believe that come the next general election, and after what will sadly prove to be a further period of great difficulty for many under this Tory government, Labour will win in Southport and across the country.”