David Morris won a second term as MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale with a vastly increased majority. GREG LAMBERT spoke to him to find out his plans for the next five years.
THE STATE of ROADS IN MORECAMBE
It’s not my brief, but I will be working on this. Spending all my time tramping the streets of Morecambe during the election campaign showed me just how bad our roads really are. It’s time Lancashire County Council did something about it.
HELPING THE NHS
There’s going to be more money pumped into the Clinical Commissioning Group and the local health trust. I’m meeting with Jackie Daniel (chief executive of the trust) as a matter of urgency. I don’t want to do the NHS down and say it’s in crisis. For her to do her job properly, she needs government help. I’m working to get them money for their Better Care Together plans to go through.
I’m really going to start pushing for Heysham 3. Now we have no coalition we are going to get money into the nuclear power industry.
I’ve never decried the West End, I want to see it go in the right direction. The Labour party were trying to paint Morecambe as a down and out place by the sea, but it’s not, it’s on the up, and everybody knows it. I’m having a meeting to see what we can do for areas like Skerton and the West End, to encourage home ownership. One in 10 houses are empty in Skerton and the West End.
HIS DECISION NOT TO VISIT MORECAMBE BAY FOODBANK
The foodbank is set up and run by the Labour party. They want me to walk through that door, take a picture of me and shout at me. That’s not going to help anybody. We have a monthly meeting with the Job Centre as a direct result of this particular issue. I don’t think for one minute there aren’t people using that foodbank who are in need. If they give me the figures, the raw data, I will go in with (owners) the Trussell Trust and social services to see what we can do. I do care about the people who are starving. But I can’t help them by being shouted at under a political banner. I am doing my damndest. I’m not sticking my head in the sand.
THE HEYSHAM to M6 LINK ROAD
It will transform the whole area. Critics say I didn’t get the money for the road, even though it took 65 years to happen. It took me knocking on doors to get the cash released. Mike Penney was minister for roads at the time. The road was put on hold due to the Comprehensive Spending Review (in 2010). I went in to see Mike every day to say: “When is my road coming? When is my road coming?” When it was approved, Mike said: “Now I can get my breakfast in peace.” The result matters. I know I’m not everybody’s cup of tea but I get things done.
A ROAD TUNNEL UNDER MORECAMBE BAY
It will link up the bay industries, the nuclear power industry with BAE (shipyard in Barrow) and regenerate the whole area. We’re looking at a feasibility study within the next year. I’ve said from day one it will be a long-term project, 10-20 years. It will happen after I’m gone but if we don’t start now we won’t get it. I asked James Wharton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) straight out: “Where’s my tunnel?” The Prime Minister keeps talking about ‘David’s tunnel’ so he knows about it.
Last Monday we had a meeting of the 1922 Committee (of Tory MPs). The Prime Minister said he’s going to implement everything in the manifesto. I believe he will. He gave me a big hug in front of everyone! He was happy I was still MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale.
BEING AN MP
Ten years ago people in Morecambe were suspicious of me. Now I’ve shown my worth. It’s business as usual. I’m already thinking about how to get money into the constituency. I have colleagues in the House of Commons who say to me, you can’t make a difference. I say the opposite.