Labour's candidate for Mid Bedfordshire by-election says constituents feel 'let down' by MP Nadine Dorries

Alistair Strathern (centre). Image supplied by Labour PartyAlistair Strathern (centre). Image supplied by Labour Party
Alistair Strathern (centre). Image supplied by Labour Party
“I’m going to be here day in, day out, speaking to people, having those conversations to show people that I’m on their side”

Labour’s candidate for the possible Mid Bedfordshire by-election said constituents have told him they feel “let down” by their current MP.

Alistair Strathern said: “Speaking to people right across the towns and villages in Mid Bedfordshire over the last few weeks, it’s been really clear that they’re felt really quite let down, whatever their political persuasion, by how absent their representation has been. Not just in Parliament, but also in the constituency.

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“So my first real commitment to them, if I am elected, is to be much more present, to have a real physical presence in the constituency.

Strathern, who has taken unpaid leave to start his campaign, is one of around a dozen candidates who are vying to become Mid Bedfordshire’s next MP following Nadine Dorries announcement that she will be resigning with “immediate effect”.

However, the LibDems have already said that they are the only party that can beat the Conservatives in Mid Beds, so is it worth Labour trying?

“I just think they’ve completely misread it, I think they’ve seen the rural situation, they’ve seen some of the other by-elections and they’ve thought this is for them,” he said.

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“But if the conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks are anything to go by, if all the data we’re seeing back from the responses, and if previous election results tell us anything, the fact is this is actually a seat where it’s going to be between Labour and the Conservatives this time around.

“I have spoken to lots of families over the last few weeks that have moved from maybe more traditionally Labour areas like Bedford, Luton, Milton Keynes into this constituency and they’re looking for a Labour representative who’s going to be on their side,” he said.

“I think [people] really understand that it’s going to take time to turn around these problems and they’re not looking for someone who’s going to promise miracles,” he added.

“It’s about trying to secure more GP places, school places, child care places locally, I spoke to a family earlier in the week in Shefford who are going to have to send one of their children to a third different primary school now because they’ve been struggling so hard to find places locally.

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“I’ve got friends in Cranfield who have real issues getting somewhere for child care for their young kid, which is really delaying one of them getting back to work.

“These are problems that need calling out, and the council needs to be held accountable to make sure we’ve got local solutions.

“Then building towards a bigger national change that can really start to turn around some of the bigger problems we have in the NHS, in transport, in schools,” he said.

“I’m going to be here day in, day out, speaking to people, having those conversations to show people that I’m on their side.

“I’ve got to earn their trust and hopefully be able to deliver some real change locally for the first time in a while,” he said.