PM visits Lancashire on whistle-stop tour

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking at Mawdesley Hall in Ormskirk
Prime Minister Theresa May speaking at Mawdesley Hall in Ormskirk
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Prime Minister Theresa May visited the Lancashire village of Mawdesley today as part of a whistle-stop election tour of the north west.

The PM also campaigned in Ormskirk and took the opportunity to field questions about Brexit negotiations. Acknowledging that “these negotiations are going to be tough” she said: “Every vote for me and my team will strengthen my hand in these negotiations.”

She continued: “There will be 27 European countries on one side of the table. Who do they want to see standing up for Britain - me or Jeremy Corbyn?”

The PM was accompanied by the new West Lancashire parliamentary candidate Sam Currie who was selected on Saturday and County Councillor David Westley who is standing in this week’s county council elections and is leader of the Conservative group on West Lancashire Council.

Coun Westley said: “It was a special day to have the PM back in West Lancashire and the reception which she received from residents was truly heartwarming and extremely positive. She was actually knocking on doors which is something she loves. It’s quite brave for a PM to go knocking on doors.”

In the end door knocking had to be abandoned as the public stepped out of their homes to see her instead. It’s estimated around 80 people came out and took visits of the VIP visitor walking along a road off Wimbrick Crescent in Aughton.

West Lancashire is currently held by Labour but the constituency has, in the past, been regarded as a marginal swing seat.

Labour has held control since 1992 and current MP Rosie Cooper was first elected in 2005. But Tory Ken Hind had two terms as its MP – winning at the 1983 and 1987 elections.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has hit out at Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating strategy, warning her “megaphone” diplomacy would not get a good deal from Britain.

The Labour leader said threatening to walk away from the talks without an agreement was not a sensible way of dealing with countries responsible for half of the UK’s overseas trade.

His comments came amid weekend reports that European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker said Mrs May was from a “different galaxy” after they met last week for dinner in Downing Street.

Campaigning in Battersea, south London, Mr Corbyn said a Labour government would approach the negotiations with “respect and sense”.

And Tim Farron has stood by claims of being a Eurosceptic as he vowed to fight for a public vote on the terms of the Brexit deal.

The Liberal Democrat leader urged party activists who braved the rain in Kingston not to “weep into your latte” over Brexit as he pledged to put staying in Europe at the heart of the campaign.

As he kicked off the Lib Dems’ election battle bus tour, he was joined by Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney and former cabinet ministers Sir Vince Cable and Sir Ed Davey, who are both standing in south west London after losing their seats in 2015.

Mr Farron said there should be a public vote on the final Brexit deal and pledged to fight for a second referendum.

Asked about describing himself as a “bit of a Eurosceptic” on BBC One’s Andrew Marr show, he said: “I am massively pro-Europe but I am also somebody... who is sceptical about people who hold power.

“What we don’t want is somebody who is wide-eyed and complacent about taking us out of the European Union, particularly on the hardest version of Brexit that Theresa May appears now to have chosen.”