MPs gearing up for December general election as local Labour politicians recorded as abstaining on crucial vote

A ballot box
A ballot box

MPs in the borough are gearing up for a general election in December after parliament approved the decision for the country to go back to the polls.


However, there was confusion behind-the-scenes as a number of local Labour politicians ended up being recorded as abstaining on the vote due to an error made by the party's whips.

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While Wigan MP Lisa Nandy voted in favour of the election on December 12 her colleagues for Makerfield and Leigh Yvonne Fovargue and Jo Platt, along with West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, were listed as abstaining.

It is understood this was due to them being told they did not still need to be in the House of Commons for the third reading stage of the bill, only for a full division vote to be called .

Conservative MP for Bolton West Chris Green, whose constituency includes Atherton, also voted for the general election.

Parties and politicians have now shifted into campaigning mode, talking up their respective visions for the country and urging residents to go to the ballot box to make their views known.

Ms Fovargue said: "A decade of Tory and Lib Dem austerity has cut our public services to the bone. NHS waiting lists up, our local schools starved of funding and a chaotic transport system.

“It’s time for real change and hope for our country. Labour will publish a fully costed manifesto on a transformational platform for the many, and we will be a Government that gives ordinary people a real stake in our country.”

Ms Platt said: "I am extremely excited to support this much-needed general election and put forward a positive and optimistic local campaign that offers genuine and bold transformation for our community.

"As the local, trusted candidate who raises my children in the constituency, I realise first-hand the change that we desperately need to get our voice back and get our towns working for us once again.

"As a proud-working class mum I have seen how the last decade of austerity and cuts has sucked the soul out of our hardworking towns, it has divided us and left us feeling held back by the Whitehall establishment. But it doesn’t have to be this way any longer.

"I’ll be making the case over the next six weeks, just as I have for the last two years in Parliament, for real town investment, transport infrastructure, education provision, an end to poverty, a plan to tackle the climate emergency and a local economy that works for everyone.

"Leigh cannot afford another day, let alone five years, of Conservative rule, so I cannot wait to get stuck into this exciting and hope-filled, if a little chilly, campaign."

Mr Green spoke of honouring the result of the 2016 European Union referendum, in which the borough voted heavily to Leave, and took a swipe at Labour both locally and nationally.

He said: "Health, education, law and order are the peoples’ priorities, but this Parliament has blocked Brexit and so blocked the Government’s ability to deliver for you and your family.

"At last, Jeremy Corbyn, bowing to pressure from Boris Johnson and the Liberal Democrats, has been forced into agreeing a general election so you, the people, will be able to vote and get the government you want.

"The Conservatives will recruit 20,000 more police officers, invest in the NHS and give a boost to schools and education. To do this, we will respect your decision to leave the European Union and take back control over our laws, our borders and our money.

"Labour have been blocking Brexit and so have been blocking the work of Parliament – they have been holding us back. They talk about your priorities but have failed us in the North for decades."