'This country is desperate for change' - Labour's shadow foreign secretary visits Leamington

The shadow foreign secretary for the Labour Party spoke to more than 100 people outside the Leamington Town Hall this afternoon (Thursday November 21).

Emily Thornberry, the Labour Party's Shadow Foreign Secretary, joined Matt Western as part of the Labour Party's election campaign. They both spoke to the people on the steps of town hall about the Labour Party's new manifesto, which was launched today (Thursday November 21).

Matt Western is trying to retain his seat in parliament in the upcoming general election next month. Six other people are running for the Warwick and Leamington seat in parliament, who include Louis Adam (Liberal Democrats), Xander Bennett (Social Democratic Party), Jonathan Chilvers (Green Party), Bob Dhillon (Independent), Tim Griffiths (Brexit Party) and Jack Rankin (Conservative).

Mrs Thornberry later spoke to the Courier about retaining the Warwick and Leamington seat for Labour and the future of the student population in the area.

Matt Western and Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary for the Labour Party, speak outside the Leamington Town Hall.

She said: “I think the first thing is that Matt has been a good MP and he's been a really good strong voice for the area.

“We keep it as a labour seat because people vote in an election like this for hope and hope that there can be another way and that we can deliver another way. This is exactly the sort of battle ground seat we need to win.

“If they think they're going to vote for one of the other parties then we kind of know the result is going to end up with a conservative and that won't be to the advantage of this community.

“We need to have a labour government that will invest in health, will invest in social care that is going to give free broadband and is going to invest in infrastructure.

Matt Western and Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary for the Labour Party, speak outside the Leamington Town Hall.

“What we're saying in our manifesto is we just want people with the broader shoulders to pay a bit more. Those over £80,000, we will increase their taxes. Though we won't increase the other people's taxes and we're just going to make sure we have a fairer country and a more equal country.

“And after 10 years of austerity in a conservative government this country really needs a change. It's absolutely hungry for change, and it's desperate for it.”

“So that's why I'm here I want to do everything I can to ensure that this good MP is re-elected.

Mrs Thorberry also spoke about the importance of young people and the election.

She said: “I hope that students will understand the party that offers them the best future is Labour. It is isn't just about fees and it isn't just about having to pay to go to university, which we're going to stop.

“We're going to ensure there is free education from cradle to grave. We're going to have a national education service that will invest in people. We're going to make sure people are as well educated as they can be, clearly that's to their advantage.

“I think giving them the opportunity to remain in the European Union by having a second referendum is another important point for them to consider.

“I think the other thing students, young people, we all ought to be interested in is being serious about having a green industrial revolution whereby we can really revamp our economy.

“We can go back to areas that used to be in our industrial heartlands whose economies have died and breathe some life into them again by way of giving them new opportunities of making of sure that we are building our wind farms, we are building our electric cars, we are investing in a new way of creating energy and making sure that we are doing our bit of protecting the planet, which is in crisis.

“I think that's obviously important because they are going to be inheriting the planet from us.”

Mr Western, who also spoke to the Courier, said:

“The manifesto I think has been a really galvanising factor today I think people are so energised by it. We have three weeks now to make sure those messages get across. But there are some very potent promises in the announcement today.

“I think the social transformation fund is really important in terms of how much money we'll be putting into health, whether it be mental health, physical health and so on. There has been a catastrophic under-investment these last nine years by the coalition government, the conservative and Lib Dem government and now the conservative government. We have to reinvest urgently in healthcare.

“We have to remind people over the coming three weeks that we have to get the vote out. We have to remind people why it is so important that we held the conservatives in check for the last two and half years. That we stopped them in Warwick and Leamington. We have to stop them again.”

Nearly a dozen students from the University of Warwick Labour Society attended event.

Isaac Little, a student with the society, said: “We're very excited to hear about the manifesto. She's a very inspiring speaker. We're very enthusiastic about the new green deal because as a young person it matters a lot to us about climate change.

Another student, Kieron Warren, from the society who lives in Leamington, said: “I think free public transport for young people is good for the environment. I won't have to worry about how much it costs to get into town or to university.”