THE LIBERAL Democrats’ assertion that North Shropshire is a ‘non-battleground’ for Labour has been dismissed by the local party.

On Tuesday, Liberal Democrats in the county announced they had seen documentation from the Labour Party that North Shropshire, with South Shropshire and also the Wrekin, were ‘all written off as unwinnable’.

This led to North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan to claim that the Lib Dems were set to make gains in rural areas -  but now the local Labour party has hit back.


“In rural counties like Shropshire, it’s the Liberal Democrats providing the opposition to the Conservatives,” said Mrs Morgan, who won her seat in a by-election in 2021.

“At the 2021 by-election, thousands of people who normally supported Labour or the Greens switched to the Liberal Democrats.

“The General Election will be another close two-horse race where every vote will count.

“The announcement by Labour shows that they know they can’t win in North Shropshire or in our county’s other rural constituencies like South Shropshire.”

However, Stephen Clifford, secretary of the North Shropshire Constituency Labour Party (CLP), says that the party is close to drawing up a shortlist to fight the seat at the next election.

He added that ‘non-battleground’ was used by the party to signify a -non-Labour held seat and is looking forward to contesting a future election.

“The quote from Helen Morgan as it stands is not inaccurate, but very selective,” he said.

“Labour nationally has just authorised us, and about 100 other CLPs which 'fall into the “non-battleground” and non-Labour held category' to select our candidate for the General Election to be held next year.

“This is something North Shropshire Labour, and I know also South Shropshire, have been pressing for some time to be allowed to do, as we are very keen to be able to start campaigning for an identified candidate.

“Applications opened through the national website last Friday and will close at noon on January 10, 2024.

“After applications opened I, as CLP Secretary, circulated this good news to all our members locally, inviting them to submit their own applications if they wished to put their names forward to stand.

“As this is done through the National Party organisation, we shall not know more until after that date in January, though I have encouraged members to let the local Executive Committee know as well if they do decide to apply.

"Finally, you will notice that the Labour Party list, to which the Liberal Democrat Press Release provides a link, classifies the seat as 'Conservative held'.

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“As always General Election results will be given in terms of the last General Election in 2019, and the list reflects that rather than expectations for 2024.

“We look forward to choosing our candidate by the early Spring, and making them known to voters throughout North Shropshire as we prepare for what should be a close contest here.”

Mrs Morgan will be looking to retain her seat while the Conservatives have chosen current Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes to take North Shropshire back.