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.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s “soft spot” for Southport sees him keen to restore the town’s fortunes.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has met with Southport business leaders to discuss how best to regenerate the town before then going walkabout along Lord St. 

The politician was joined by Labour’s Southport Parliamentary Candidate, Liz Savage, along with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Sefton Council Leader Ian Maher for the roundtable table talks which were held at Remedy Cafe and Gin Bar in the town centre. 
 

Remedy co-owner Susannah Porter, was one of the local business people giving a Southport perspective of what needs to be done, along with Norman Wallis of Southport Pleasureland, Agnes Ng of Dukes Folly Hotel, and Yvonne Burns, manager of Wayfarers Arcade.   

Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Savage talking with Susannah Porter and other business leaders at Remedy Cafe, Lord St.

 
Liz Savage says the talks focussed on what needs to be done and how Labour can help now and in the future with a Labour government elected:
 
“It was great to hear from people who like ourselves have a real passion and hope for Southport. It was a very positive meeting and Jeremy loved engaging with local business and hearing what they think is needed.”
 
“Obviously, there are problems such as the effect of Tory and Lib Dem austerity; high business rates; changes in retail and pension funds and the like sitting on empty properties in town that at present we have little control over.” 
 
“We can only really tackle those once in government but we also talked through how Labour via the local authority, the Metro Mayor and our local councillors are doing all they can with the resources they have now and about how local business can work with them to take Southport forward.”
 

Agnes Ng owner of Dukes Folly Hotel, with Norman Wallis of Southport Pleasureland and Sefton Council leader, Ian Maher.

Remedy’s Susannah Porter felt the meeting showed how everyone around the table wanted the very best for the town:

“I found it really heartening that there was such a positive direction to it, far too often we hear and see politicians here doing little but talking Southport down when what they should be doing is talking it up and then working constructively to find solutions to any problems that there are.”
 
 “That’s exactly what this meeting did though and it was a refreshing change I have to say.”
 
The Labour leader also met with the chief executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Silas Nicholls, to discuss local health issues and to hear his support for Liz Savage’s Walk-In Centre Campaign for the town.
 
Labour’s Liz says problems with social care were highlighted as a real concern:
 

“We discussed the changing health needs of Southport and how it’s expected a third of Southport’s population will be of retirement age in 10 years. Social care problems are already a huge issue locally and of great concern to Silas, his team, and ourselves.” 

Jeremy Corbyn with Liz Savage and Southport Hospital Chief Executive Silas Nicholls

 
“We then talked about my campaign for a Walk-in Centre in Southport and I was pleased that Silas once again gave that his backing. We really need to ease the pressure on our hard-pressed A&E.” 
 
“He also made clear that in his view a new hospital is required and I was just as clear that Southport needs to retain its hospital to deal adequately with future health needs.”  
 
Afterwards, the Labour leader was also keen to walk down Lord St to meet local residents and visitors to the town before heading into a packed main ballroom at the Prince of Wales Hotel to speak party members and activists, Liz Savage revealed:
 
“Jeremy has a soft spot for Southport, it’s the third time he’s been here in the last couple of years and at the last Labour Party conference he told me he was really keen to walk down Lord St next time.” 
 
“Now he’s seen it and is suitably impressed, though he also couldn’t fail to notice the effect the problems we’d been discussing earlier and nine years of Tory and Lib Dem austerity have made to here.” 
 
“That though that just makes him and us all the more determined to restore Southport’s fortunes and rebuild our services and our communities across the country and given the opportunity, we will do it.”  
 

Tory MP warned his staunch support for Universal Credit could lose him Southport. 

Over 2,000 Southport households are already on Universal Credit. Over 7,000 more will by hit by the next stage of rollout in the town.

Southport MP Damien Moore is one of 84 Tory politicians whose majority in their constituency is significantly smaller than the number of people being moved over to the failing Universal Credit system it’s been revealed.

Well over 2,000 households in the town have already been transferred to the discredited system since it was introduced last year, causing huge distress for some. The next phase of its rollout is expected to affect over three times as many residents though and bring more severe problems.

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