James Grundy MP: Leigh is a town growing in importance

It is currently the summer recess for Parliament, which means that MPs are in their constituencies,attending community events and dealing with constituency casework.

Leigh MP James Grundy
Leigh MP James Grundy

There is also, of course, the Conservative leadership election going on, which will not only choose the new leader of the Conservative party, but also the new Prime Minister of the UK.

I am very pleased that both candidates, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, have agreed to attend leadership hustings events held in Leigh, organised by GB

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News.

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Conservative leadership contender Liz Truss to face audience in Leigh on GB News...

I hope that when both candidates visit Leigh for their respective events, local issues win the day, and that what matters to the residents of the Leigh constituency gets a proper and thorough airing, whether that be our need for a railway station, finishing the Atherleigh Way bypass, Leigh getting our own council back, popularly referred to as 'Lexit', or other, broader, issues of national concern.

Certainly, the cost of living will come up, as people face increased energy and food prices as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, and

both candidates will need to demonstrate the need to address the consequences of that conflict for ordinary people in communities like Leigh.

In many ways this illustrates how Leigh has become symbolically important for the next election, not just for the leadership of the Conservative party,

but for any party that seeks to form a Government, Labour or Conservative.

Only a few years ago, many would have found it very difficult to believe that Leigh could be a marginal seat, or in layman's terms, a seat that decides

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the outcome of elections.

As we now know, that became the case in the 2019 election, and it will remain the case in the next election, whenever that may take place, although

currently likely to be 2024.

So, expect to hear a lot more about the importance of Leigh at the next election, from news broadcasters, newspapers and magazines, the internet, pretty

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much all the political parties and their candidates.

Candidates and parties will be framing policies to appeal to constituencies like Leigh.

At the last election, we had 'Workington Man'. At the next election, will the typical floating voter be referred to as 'Leigh Man', or 'Leigh Woman'?

We shall see.

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I'm very pleased to see that everyone around the country now sees Leigh as being important, just as I and all the other local residents of Leigh always have done.

I also suspect the residents of Leigh are saying, 'It's about time!'

I'm glad we in Leigh are getting our day in the spotlight.

For too long in the past, when the town was a rock-solid Labour seat, no one was interested in us at all.

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And, let's be honest, no one wants to go back to that.