Rail link still key, says MP Cat

Cat Smith and her supporters celebrate at Lancaster Town Hall
Cat Smith and her supporters celebrate at Lancaster Town Hall

Fleetwood’s re-elected MP Cat Smith has vowed to keep the return of the town’s rail link high on the agenda after retaining her seat in the General Election.

Ms Smith, who won the Lancaster and Fleetwood seat with an increased majority, had pledged before the polls that Labour would invest £20 million over five years into the link’s restoration if the party won power.

Labour fell short of that, but Jeremy Corbyn’s party performed well in the polls, winning seats and strengthening its hand in opposition.

The Fleetwood seat had been considered one of the most marginal in the country.

But Ms Smith saw the Labour vote rise over the Conservatives from the 2015 total to 6,661 votes, an increase of 12.8 per cent. She ran a campaign focusing on stopping Tory cuts to the NHS, education and other public services.

She told the Weekly News: “Sadly we didn’t win the election but I will ensure that Fleetwood’s rail link stays on the table.

“There is a strong economic argument for it and this will not end here. It would be vital to the town and pressure needs to continue to bring it back,”

In her victory speech, Ms Smith said: “The country is turning against the failed Conservative dogma of cuts to our NHS, schools and public services, which has seen wages fail to keep up with prices, which has seen many pay the price for the perks of the few.

“They have chosen the policies of hope over fear and division.”

The Conservatives’ Eric Ollerenshaw, who previously held the seat before narrowly losing to Ms Smith in 2015, was clearly unhappy after the vote and hit out at Labour’s constituency campaign.

He said: “Nationally and locally we’ve been overwhelmed by the Labour momentum machine but I’ve got to say that some of the campaigning bordered on the disreputable, in this constituency.”

Asked about Mr Ollerenshaw’s comments, Ms Smith said: “Apart from stating that he lived in London and was not a locally-based candidate, which is true, the campaign was never personal. It was a fairly contested election and was fought only on the issues.”

Results

Cat Smith (Lab) - 25,342

Eric Ollerenshaw (Cons) - 18,681

Lib Dem Robin Long - 1,170

Green Rebecca Novell - 796