Tough gig for Labour’s Swanney in Conservative Shire heartland

It’s often said that being an MP is a thankless task. However, Labour’s Doug Swanney is fighting a similar battle in the Conservative shire of North East Hertfordshire.

Conservative Oliver Health holds a 19,000 majority, and the constituency have never had a Labour MP.

However the Glaswegian, who has lived in the constituency for 12 years, says that there’s signs with some policies that people could switch their votes towards Jeremy Corbyn’s party.

He said: “Living here for so long, you become aware of the issues that people are facing within the community.

“The fact it’s never had a Labour MP drives me even further, everywhere has the possibility of changing their vote if you get the message out there. The last few weeks has been about getting that message out there to people who haven’t heard that message or been willing to listen.”

The 43-year-old who lives in Letchworth, is the Connexional Secretary for the Methodist Church.

“When you speak to people about Labour’s policies, they start to question the way they have voted in the past.

“The biggest issue that we’ve heard is education. I’ve spoken with many head teachers, and they’re having to work with less and less, with more children, and with more targets.”

He also poured scorn on the Conservative Party’s pledge of repealing the ban on fox-hunting, which would affect the rural area in the constituency. “I would absolutely vote against the return of fox-hunting, it’s barbaric and I think we’ve moved on from it. This is not the time for frittering about with issues like fox-hunting.”

Swanney who has two degrees in Theology from Glasgow University is defiant despite the possible defeat that awaits him, needing an SNP-style swing to take the seat. “There are a lot of people who are positive about the choice that Jeremy and the Labour Party present, and are excited about the campaign. Defeat will be harder to take now than it was five or six weeks ago. You convince yourself it’s going to be okay, but it will be tough.

“We’ve run a good campaign, getting out to hustings and doing social media. I’ll be really fired up for the future, because the people of North East Hertfordshire want that change.”

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