- Yesterday Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, officially launched John Leech's 2016 campaign for Didsbury West.
- "The one party state in Manchester is in danger" warns former MP, who twice defied the odds when he was elected with the biggest swing in the country in 2005.
- John Leech pledges to build communities, safeguard the vulnerable and bring a "fresh voice to an often complacent council"
- Recent data shows the seat will be one of the most fiercely contested in the country this year.
Tim Farron MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats, launched John Leech’s campaign on Monday at Didsbury Lounge.
John Leech was the MP for Manchester Withington for 10 years, after he was elected in 2005 with the biggest swing in the country.
The former ‘MP of the Year’ award winner* is standing for Didsbury West ward which the Liberal Democrats lost out in 2014 by just 162 votes. Recent data shows that gap is narrowing fast and is set to be one of the most fiercely contested seats in the country.
In a rally speech delivered to a room packed full of press, activists and campaigners, John Leech said; “Fear has won where liberalism, hope and hard work has been trampled on by politics wreaked by division, complacency and the attitude of 'that'll do'. Well it doesn't. It's not good enough for me. And it's not good enough for Manchester."
John Leech received roaring applause as he set the tone for another positive campaign stating that; “Nothing keeps me and the Liberal Democrats fighting more than an unjust system. And as long as residents in Manchester aren't getting the best deal I'll be here fighting and challenging that every step of the way.”
The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron MP officially launched the campaign, slamming John Leech’s parliamentary loss last year as “an absolute injustice”. He said; “Nowhere did last year’s result feel more unjust, more unfair or more undeserved than right here in Manchester Withington.”
He added: "People talk about pavement politics, community activists and campaigners, well they don’t come any bigger or better than John Leech. His dedication to Manchester is genuinely inspiring and he is absolutely the right man for the job.”
“His voice is needed more than ever on Manchester council now that it has plummeted into a one party state.”
John Leech is fighting to return to Manchester council after his election commitment, saying: “I promised not to give up on the residents of Manchester Withington, and I'm not going to. I will continue to fight for south Manchester as I always have done. I’m not going anywhere.”
Currently Labour has 96 out of 96 councillors in the town hall and John Leech hopes to lead the voice of opposition.
Last night, John Leech promised; "We will rebuild. We will start making a difference again. We offer a fresh and strong voice on an often complacent council."
Local resident and MEN 'Mum of the Year', Rebecca Blinkhorn, whose son had a severe battle with CMV, also showed her support for John saying; “Councillors had turned their backs and doctors had washed their hands of him, too worried about committing to an opinion and getting it wrong. It was then, that John Leech stood out to me. He took the reigns, he navigated the systems I was lost in, he listened to me when I was shouting at brick walls and he fought my corner.”
She added that; "John wore his heart on winning our battle, he fought our corner every single step of the way, he really was there for us in our darkest hours. And tonight I am so immensely proud that I can now stand here and publicly show our support, tell you this story and say thank you to John for listening to me, supporting us and getting Mike what he needed. He really is one of a kind."
She concluded; "If it wasn’t for John, my son would still be severely ill, in a wheelchair and living a really unpleasant life.”
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- *John Leech won the Patchwork Liberal Democrat MP of the Year award for “tireless work with minority and under-represented groups in his constituency.”
- A full copy of John Leech's speech can be found here.
- A full copy of Rebecca Blinkhorn's speech can be found here.