Contenders eager to fight for Morecambe election seat

Political hopefuls say they are ready to challenge David Morris if they get the nod as candidates in the general election.

Monday, 24th April 2017, 3:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:22 pm
Election hopefuls have spoken as candidate announcements loom.

Mr Morris, the sitting MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, has been officially chosen by the Conservatives to defend his seat on June 8.

Labour councillors Darren Clifford, John Reynolds and Vikki Singleton have all applied to run against him and the party is expected to announce its chosen candidate next week.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats are set to confirm Matthew Severn as their candidate on Wednesday.

The UK Independence Party and Green party will also announce candidates for the election.

Mr Morris was unanimously adopted as Tory candidate after a meeting of the Morecambe and Lunesdale Conservative Association on Saturday.

He said he was “delighted” and would “continue with my plans to increase prosperity in Morecambe and Lunesdale”.

“This election will be about securing a strong and stable leadership nationally to ensure that Brexit can be delivered but will also be about strong leadership locally,” he said.

“Since my election we have secured over a billion pounds of government funding locally, the link road has been completed, the hospital has been brought out of special measures and is now good, and the prosperity in the area is rising.”

Mr Morris won a second term in 2015 extending his majority from 866 to 4,590.

Coun Clifford, 45, is chairman of Morecambe Town Council, a Lancaster city councillor and is also fighting to retain his Morecambe South seat in the upcoming Lancashire County Council elections on May 4.

“If I’m lucky enough to be selected as Labour’s candidate I hope to be able to give people of the whole constituency an opportunity to elect one of our own,” he said.

Coun Reynolds, a Lancaster city councillor for Carnforth and Millhead and a candidate for Lancaster Rural North in the county elections, announced last week he would be putting his name forward.

“When we select our candidate, this person will be presenting an alternative to Mr Morris’ version of local representation, one that will focus on reconnecting with people and the communities that this Tory government has left behind,” he said.

Vikki Singleton, 33, was a Lancaster city councillor for Westgate in Morecambe from 2011 to 2015.

After moving to Blackpool, she successfully stood for Blackpool Council in the 2015 election.

“Having lived there for quite some time and having a close relationship to Morecambe, I feel that the people need a voice and I don’t think David Morris is providing that,” she said.

Amina Lone, who came second to Mr Morris in 2015, has not applied to stand for Labour in Morecambe and Lunesdale this time.

Matthew Severn is expected to stand for the Liberal Democrats in Morecambe and Lunesdale, as he did in 2015.

The local Lib Dems will meet on Wednesday night to decide if Mr Severn will be adopted as candidate.

Mr Severn, 30, who came fourth in 2015, said he was “opposed to a hard Brexit”.

“It was a great privilege to stand last time and if they do select me on Wednesday, I will be delighted to take the fight to our Tory MP and stand up for the needs of the area,” he said.

“Membership of the Liberal Democrats in this area has more than doubled and is heading towards tripling compared to two years ago.”

Robert Gillespie, of the UK Independence Party, said UKIP would be announcing candidates for both the Morecambe and Lunesdale, and Lancaster and Fleetwood seats shortly.

Steve Ogden, who came third in Morecambe and Lunesdale for UKIP in 2015, will not be standing this time.

Cat Smith, Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, has confirmed she will be standing again on June 8.

The Conservatives are expected to announce their candidate for the seat on Friday.

We understand that Robin Long is expected to be chosen as Lib Dem candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, as he was in 2015.

The local Green party have a meeting to discuss their candidates for Morecambe and Lunesdale, and Lancaster and Fleetwood on Tuesday and are expected to make an announcement by next week.