Thursday, November 21, 2019

"That's the first and last time you'll see a Labour MP elected for Harborough"

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The Liberal Democrats came within four thousand votes of winning Harborough at the 2005 general election, but slipped into fourth place in 2015 and third in 2017.

Thinking of Labour's brief revival in the constituency has reminded me of John Shaw, one of the two Labour councillors Lutterworth sent to Harborough District Council when I was a member.

He was a good man, but like so many of the people I served on the council with, he is no longer with us. I believe he died in the summer of 2017.

I remember John telling me that his father had also been a Labour man and that they had both been at the count in 1945 when their party took the seat by 204 votes.

John's father had turned to him and said: "Well, son, that's the first and last time you'll see a Labour MP elected for Harborough." And he was right.

The successful Labour candidate was Humphrey Attewell, an official of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives. John remembered him as a large red-faced man.

The Liberal vote in 1945 was over 15 per cent, suggesting that some vestiges of loyalty and organisation remained from the years 1892-1918 and 1923-4 when we held the seat

That 15 per cent is more than we achieved in 2015 or 2017, but I confidently expect we will comfortably beat it on 12 December.

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