Liberal Democrats

How we took on the Tory Government, and won!

Getting Lib Dems elected to local councils is about so much more than getting brilliant people in place to make better decisions across the country.

By Lisa Smart, Oct 14, 2020 12:10

Getting Lib Dems elected to local councils is about so much more than getting brilliant people in place to make better decisions across the country. It's about getting the change we need for our local communities and fighting back against this useless Tory government.

Recently, here in Stockport, we used the powers we have as local councillors to overturn a dreadful decision from the Tory Government.

Northern Trains announced in July that they were going to pause trains on our local Rose Hill line for three months. This is an important line in our area and we knew we had to act fast as the school term was approaching and furlough was unwinding.

We took matters into our own hands.

We did all of the normal things out of the Lib Dem campaign manual. We set up a petition, wrote to the Secretary of State and the Mayor of Greater Manchester and worked with our community to push to reverse the decision.

As Northern Rail had been nationalised earlier in the year, we knew the Government could keep the rail service running if they wanted to.

But despite a huge campaign and immense local pressure, the Rail Minister refused to bring our train service back. So we took matters into our own hands.

We used little-known power in the council's constitution and agreed to spend some of our local area budgets on running the train service ourselves, proving it could be done.

The news hit the press. It caught the imagination of the community (and rather a lot of rail enthusiasts) and wound up our opposition in a very satisfying way.

A week later, the minister was at the dispatch box explaining that actually, Northern were going to run a service on the Rose Hill line. It wasn't going to close after all.

There's a huge amount more to fight for in our area.

All of the other parties tried to take the credit - but we had the petition with over 5,700 signatures, we had socially distanced photos of the team campaigning and we had the responses from the Department for Transport that showed who had done the work on this.

There's a huge amount more to fight for in our area, not least a full return of the service on the Rose Hill line.

And that's why, when I'm delivering leaflets in the Greater Manchester rain this winter, I'll keep going.

Because getting Lib Dems elected matters.

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