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Prime Minister 'bottled' big call on general election

Torbay Liberal Democrat general election campaign launch 2024 (Image courtesy: Torbay Liberal Democrats)

Torbay's Lib Dems launch campaign early

Torbay’s Liberal Democrats have accused prime minister Rishi Sunak of ‘bottling it’ in failing to call a spring general election.

The Lib Dems had timed the launch of their election campaign in anticipation of an announcement that the country would go to the polls on Thursday 2 May.

But Mr Sunak resisted the temptation to go to the country then, and will call the election later in the year.

Steve Darling, who leads the opposition Lib Dem group on Torbay Council, was chosen more than a year ago by the Torbay constituency party to fight for the seat currently held by Conservative Kevin Foster.

In last year’s local elections, 26 council seats were up for election in the constituency and Torbay returned 15 Liberal Democrat councillors, nine Conservatives and two independents.

The Lib Dems say this demonstrates that they understand people's concerns and are making positive changes for those living in Torquay and Paignton. It also shows, they say, that Cllr Darling has a good chance.

But they didn't say it also meant Cllr Darling losing his position as council leader, as control of the authority switched from a Lib Dem/Independent alliance and to the Conservaitves, against the national picture.

Chairman of Torbay Liberal Democrats, Pam Bagnall, said: ”The launch date was set in the hope that we would be having a General Election on 2 May. We now know the prime minister has bottled it and has run away from an election this spring.

“We have an extremely strong candidate who was brought up in Torbay.  With his decades of public service, whether as a case worker for former Liberal Democrat MP for the Bay, Adrian Sanders, or through his councillor role, he has helped thousands of people.”

Cllr Darling said people are tired of being ‘taken for granted’ and added: “It feels like a once in a generation opportunity to change who is running the country and who champions the bay in Westminster. I feel very humbled to take this challenge on for my community.”

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