Key battle lines are being drawn as candidates make their case in Wirral West ahead of a looming general election.
Voters will choose their next MP sometime before January 2025 but it could be as early as spring next year and due to boundary changes, the Wirral will only have three MPs going forward rather than the current four.
The last general election in 2019 in Wirral West saw Labour MP Margaret Greenwood re-elected with 48.2% of the vote, 7% ahead of the Conservatives in what has previously been a swing seat. Despite Labour’s current consistent polling lead of around 20%, the race in Wirral West could be tighter than in previous years as Conservative areas like Heswall and Clatterbridge join a reshaped constituency.
The seat has been Labour since 1997, with the exception of 2010-15 when Conservative Esther McVey held it. Labour also won six seats in Pensby and Greasby while the Liberal Democrats came within 21 votes in Heswall in the 2023 Wirral Council elections.
Matthew Patrick, a former Upton councillor, was selected by Labour members in September though there was some controversy over the final four candidates. Mr Patrick was considered the front runner in the race.
He said, “The Wirral is my home and I am proud to have been backed by so many Labour members, councillors, and activists. It shows that we have the movement to win here in Wirral West.”
“The people of Wirral West deserve better than this government. After 13 years, the Tories’ record is clear – longer hospital waiting lists, spiralling costs of living, and neighbourhood policing destroyed. They have no plan to fix the deep-rooted issues our country faces.
“Labour has a plan to help people through the cost-of-living crisis, tackle NHS waiting lists and ensure people feel safe on our streets.”
Going up against Mr Patrick is West Kirby councillor Jenny Johnson for the Conservatives. She said, “The people’s priorities here are the Government’s priorities and I want to help halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists, and stop the boats.
“Having served as a councillor for West Kirby and Thurstaston ward for four years, I have gained experience in representing residents both at ward level and at full council meetings. I am politically aware and convicted, displaying this through building relationships with representative community bodies and individuals alike.”
She added, “Until the next election, I will be working hard to show people here that I am the right person to become their MP and to help improve the lives of families right across the constituency.”
Meanwhile, Peter Reisdorf from West Kirby will once again be the Liberal Democrat’s candidate. Mr Reisdorf was a councillor for Greasby, Frankby, and Irby from 2000 to 2011 and ran in West Kirby for the most recent council elections gaining 634 votes – a 5% share.
He said, “I want to give a voice to people in this area who are as appalled as I am by the way the Conservative Party has moved to the right,” adding: “Their treatment of the public sector has left everything from the NHS to local councils underfunded and on the verge of collapse.”
He added, “At the same time Keir Starmer has taken the Labour Party from the hard left to the centre-right. They no longer offer a real alternative. They just want to be a more efficient version of the Conservatives.”
The Green Party has selected Emily Charley from Hoylake to be their candidate. Announcing her candidacy on X, she said, “For too long this country’s decision-makers have neglected the wellbeing of its young people – I say it’s time we make some noise.”
Paul Farragher will be the candidate for the True and Fair Party set up by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller. Mr Farragher said, “Our party is about cleaning up politics which I think we can all agree is badly needed. Wirral democracy has suffered over the last few years with the two-party system and we are about right and wrong not left or right.”
Ken Ferguson, who has recently campaigned against the council’s introduction of 20mph limits, confirmed he will be Reform UK’s candidate. He has lived on the Wirral for 20 years and currently lives in Heswall.
Reform UK was set up by Nigel Farage as the Brexit Party before changing its name in 2020 to become an anti-lockdown party. It has campaigned on immigration, against net zero climate targets, and tax cuts for those on lower incomes.
Mr Ferguson recently criticised the Conservatives over the sacking of former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and promotion of former Prime Minister David Cameron as Foreign Secretary.
He said, “They are saying that Brexit was futile and that they won’t implement it properly. I hope their party is destroyed at the next election.”