Updated: Wednesday, 20th November 2019 @ 5:06pm

Substance Over Style For John Leech

Substance Over Style For John Leech

By Mohammed Usman

JOHN LEECH has urged Manchester Withington constituents not to be fooled by the tactics of his closest rival, Labour’s Lucy Powell.

The Liberal Democrat MP and Mrs Powell have campaigned relentlessly for the Withington parliamentary seat which is expected to be one of the tightest constituencies around the country on May 6th.

But Mr Leech believes Mrs Powell, like her predecessors, will fail to live up to her promises.

“Lucy has tried to distance herself from certain unpopular policies to try and get elected,” said Mr Leech.

“But this is in stark contrast to her record of backing unpopular decision made by the Labour Council such as supporting the closure of Ewing School.”

The Labour candidate called in comedian Eddie Izzard in an attempt to boost her campaign but Mr Leech is unimpressed.

 “As I understand it, Mr Izzard is a close friend of Mrs Powell,” said Mr Leech. “But she is fooling herself if she believes people will be majorly influenced by it.

“I know the Withington people. They are far too clever and want substance over style.”

Mr Leech caused a major upset in 2005 by overturning a mammoth 11,500 Labour majority, winning by 667 votes, and he expects a close battle.

According to Mr Leech the winner of the upcoming election will come from the Lib Dems or Labour but he believes he stands above his competitor.

He said:  “I have a track record of standing up for local people and local services and the Lib Dems offer a real opportunity for change.”

Last week a debate was held at the University of Manchester featuring all the candidates except Mrs Powell who failed to turn up.

The Campaigns Officer for the University’s Student Union, Laura Williams, said: “They may have thought that our students would give them a hard time with respect to their stance on tuition fees.

“But this was the ideal opportunity to fight their corner. Mr Leech did so and did his chances no harm.”

The Lib Dem MP is promising to fight and protect local services which he believes have been undermined by successive Labour and Tory governments.

“Where was Mrs Powell when we protested to keep the Burnage walk-in centre open? She wasn’t even aware of it.  It is the Lib Dems who have the substance in Withington.”

Mr Leech feels the work undertaken since 2005 will stand him in good stead for the upcoming election.

“We will offer fair taxes, a fair start for children and young people, a fair future for the economy and a fair deal from politicians. We have a real opportunity after this election to change politics for the better. We need a new kind of politics based on honesty and fairness.”