Wigan will go to the polls twice in as many months with its Labour MPs heralding a chance to shape post-Brexit Britain.
Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday announced a snap General Election and will be looking for support in the House of Commons today.
This General Election must be about the post-Brexit Britain we want to build. A tolerant, open country that invests in our people and public servicesLisa Nandy MP
The vote will take place on June 8, a month after the borough takes part in the election for the first Greater Manchester Mayor.
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue and Wigan colleague Lisa Nandy said the Labour party will continue to fight for the interests of the majority.
But Conservative leader of the council opposition, Michael Winstanley, told the Wigan Post it was inconceivable that voters would see Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as Number 10 material.
Ms Fovargue said: “The general election will be an opportunity to change direction and vote for a Labour Party that will fight for the interests of the majority.
“I will fight this election on the future of our NHS, our schools and building a strong economy that works for all and dignity in retirement especially for the thousands of local WASPI women who face hardship because of unfair changes to their state pension.
“I will also stand on my record of fighting to protect our greenbelt land that once again is under threat by proposals contained in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.”
Likewise, Ms Nandy said: “This General Election must be about the post-Brexit Britain we want to build. A tolerant, open country that invests in our people and public services.
“We must not allow the Tories to create a country that attracts companies by allowing them to drive down wages and job security, to evade tax, and run down our public services.
“Wigan deserves good, well-paid jobs, a strong National Health Service and investment in our young people. Only Labour will deliver it.”
The June vote means there will be no by-election in Leigh, a possibility if incumbent Andy Burnham won the race to be GM mayor.
Mr Burnham has said he will step down as an MP if he wins next month’s poll. The new mayor will be announced on May 5, with final candidate lists for the general election finalised the week after.
So should the mayoral berth be filled by a non-Labour candidate, the former cabinet minister would have the chance to stand again in the June election.
But Mr Burnham tweeted: “Tory Party puts its own interests before the national interest.”
Coun Winstanley said he did not know if he would stand for the Conservatives but told the Wigan Post: “I have been genuinely surprised by the announcement, there’s only a few things that surprise me in politics these days but this was one of them.
“I can understand why the Prime Minister has taken this decision as it will deliver a strong mandate for the Government to continue with Brexit negotiations. I just can’t see how anyone in their right mind can see Jeremy Corbyn as a statesman. I expect an increased Conservative majority, I don’t think anyone will think, hand on heart, they want to see him as Prime Minister.
“The people of Wigan have a genuine choice in this election. A vote for a Labour candidate is essentially a vote for Jeremy Corbyn as PM. In logistical terms, for all parties, this snap election means everyone will be very, very rushed.”