Labour’s newest MP joins Mid Bedfordshire campaign trail

Alistair Strathern (l) and Keir Mather (r) Image supplied by Labour Party Eastern Region
Alistair Strathern (l) and Keir Mather (r). Image: Labour Party Eastern Region

Labour’s newest MP has said how he’s been struck by the similarities between Mid Bedfordshire and his own North Yorkshire constituency.

Keir Mather overturned a Conservative 20,000 majority in Selby and Ainsty at last month’s by-election.

And he came down to Harlington yesterday (6 August) to share his recent experience to assist Alistair Strathern with his campaign in Mid Bedfordshire.

“When we began our campaign it was for a seat with a very similar majority to the one we have in Mid Bedfordshire,” Mather said.

“And people thought it was insurmountable, and that the challenge for the Labour Party would be too great. But I think the reason we were able to have a very effective campaign there was because we really focused on local people’s priorities.”

He added that he was hearing the same priorities, such as mortgage rates, the cost of living crisis, difficulties in getting GP appointments and accessing other public services on Harlington’s doorsteps.

“This should be the absolute bread and butter of a local MP’s priorities,” he said.

“But it feels like for a long time people around here haven’t had that kind of care that they need from their elected representative and are clamouring for something different and something positive.

“This is something I was really picking up on the doorsteps today,” he said.

“People are looking to the Labour Party now because we actually have a future-focused vision to make Brexit work, to make sure that our immigration system is secure and fair.

“We are speaking to people about the issues that they care about and I think that we’ve got good answers to their questions,” he added.

Alistair Strathern said: “One of the things that’s been really striking speaking to Kier is just actually the lessons you can take from both constituencies in terms of how important changes in the party has been.

“[We have] a message that cuts through and speaks to towns and villages here in Mid Bedfordshire, and to those in Selby.

“It’s been really heartening to see that cut through so effectively up there.

“It’s giving us a lot of hope here, and it matches the response we’ve been getting so far on [Mid Beds] doorsteps.

“People who would never have considered voting for us before because this was always a Conservative [area], but recognising that the country has got to a place where things need to change,” he said.

Based on his recent success, Mather was asked what ‘why’ question people should ask candidates.

“Why do you think that you can offer a departure from what we’ve seen over the last 13 years,” he suggested.

“Alistair is very much looking forward to having those conversations with people across Mid Bedfordshire, and showing how having a hard working, local and accountable MP who’s on your side can make a real difference to your life,” he added.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter