Candidates come under fire for claims made at hustings

11th December 2019
Southport’s Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates have all come under fire following the main hustings meeting of the election campaign, held at Christ Church on Lord Street on the final Monday of the campaign.
Conservative candidate Damien had already been criticised before the hustings for his claim to have ‘secured £25 million for Southport” from the government’s Towns Fund, whereas in fact it seems a bid has yet to be made for this funding. However, he chose to double-down on the claim, much to the derision of the large audience.
Damien Moore was also criticised for ‘pinching’ his opponents’ policy pledges. “There isn’t any bandwagon Damien won’t jump on”, said Liberal Democrat candidate John Wright, after Mr Moore climbed support for bringing back Children’s A & E to Southport, and for the ambitious job-creating, energy-producing Southport Tidal Lagoon plan, both long-standing Lib Dem campaigns in the town.
Labour candidate Liz Savage also attracted criticism for her stance on Europe, and for her claims about establishing an NHS Walk-In Centre for Southport.
On Europe, to the surprise of many at the meeting, Ms Savage claimed “I’m a Remainer’, but then seemingly contradicted herself by saying she could vote to Leave in a second referendum, if Labour negotiated a different Brexit deal. Lib Dem candidate John Wright said afterwards “Everyone is still confused about Liz’s position. What is it? We suspect she will just say and do whatever it takes to get a few extra votes. In this case, she thinks she can attract Lib Dem voters by saying she’s a Remainer when, in actual fact, she’s not said or done anything in support of the People’s Vote campaign until this election, and her party says it is ’neutral’ on Brexit”.
Ms Savage was also criticised for her claim that she can deliver a ‘Walk In Centre’ for Southport. “We’ve written to the NHS Trust Chief Executive about this, and our understanding is that plans for a Walk In Centre are not even being considered”, said Councillor John Pugh, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Sefton Council. “It looks like this may just be an election gimmick, and our worry remains that if we did get a Walk In Centre, it would be the first step on the way to losing our A & E department”, he said.
Liberal Democrat candidate John Wright was criticised at the hustings for his support for his party’s plans to abolish business rates, and replace them with a new tax on commercial property landlords, and also to introduce a national tourist tax, but he responded that both plans were “essential to help local businesses and the tourist industry, to revive our high streets, and put more money into the local economy”.
Voters go to the polls in Southport on Thursday 12th December in a fascinating three-way marginal which could go any way.

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