North Yorkshire Liberal Democrats’ plan to unseat Prime Minister

Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Richmond, Daniel Callaghan. Photo: LinkedIn.

North Yorkshire Liberal Democrats seeking to gain more ground after last week’s local polls have unveiled their plan to unseat Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in what has traditionally been viewed a safe Tory seat at the next general election.

The Liberal Democrats, who saw a potentially significant turnaround in the Fountains and Masham North Yorkshire Council by-election earlier this year when Felicity Cunliffe-Lister beat the Conservative candidate by more than 500 votes, said its prospective parliamentary candidate Daniel Callaghan possessed “local knowledge”.

Last week’s local elections saw the Conservatives lose 957 seats on councils while the Liberal Democrats gained 415 and Labour 643.

Mr Sunak has held the constituency since 2015, a year after Tory party members agreed it should be the former hedge fund manager rather than a candidate from the area who had been lined up to replace former Conservative Party leader William Hague in the seat.

At the last General Election in 2019 Mr Sunak secured almost 70 per cent of the Richmond constituency votes with some 36,693, while the Liberal Democrats came in third with just 6,989.

However, in a reversal of fortune the Liberal Democrats became the official opposition at North Yorkshire Council last May as its share of the vote with a Liberal member swelled at the elections to 17 per cent of the vote as the proportion of the vote for Conservatives dropped to 41 per cent..

The next General Election is scheduled to be held no later than January 28, 2025, but it is widely anticipated that Mr Sunak will call it for next year.

A Liberal Democrats spokeswoman said Mr Callaghan, who works in public affairs in the science and technology sector, was chosen for his “combination of local knowledge, liberal values and proven track record in successful political campaigning”.

With Mr Sunak’s attentions being drawn towards prime ministerial matters the party has immediately highlighted Mr Callaghan’s local credentials.

Born into an Army family at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, Mr Callaghan grew up in Catterick and Richmond, attending Richmond’s St Francis Xavier Secondary School and then Darlington Sixth Form College.

He sat on the Richmond Youth Council and forged links working in several local businesses before leaving to work and study in Bath, Paris and London.

Mr Callaghan said: “Having grown up in the constituency and being personally connected with many here, I know first-hand the issues that people in our towns and villages are facing.

“This is the place I will always call home and my deeply held love for this area and for the people here is the reason I want to be their voice in Parliament.”

Philip Wicks, a former leading member of Richmondshire District Council and chair of the constituency party, said the Liberal Democrats were delighted to have “an experienced political campaigner” to challenge on Mr Sunak.

He said: “Daniel has been at the heart of some of our party’s big success stories – working with the team in Bath, and with MPs Christine Jardine and Tim Farron.

“That knowledge, combined with the fact his roots are firmly embedded in our area, make him the perfect choice to take the fight to the Conservatives here in Rishi Sunak’s own back yard.”

Stokesley councillor Bryn Griffiths, leader of the Opposition on North Yorkshire Council added: “Lib-Dems are making great strides across the whole country, including here in North Yorkshire.

“It’s in seats such as this where Tories have been complacent for far too long that Liberal Democrats are making historical wins.

“Recent results have shown that there is no such thing as a safe Tory seat any more. Rishi Sunak is out of touch and out of ideas. Daniel is ideally placed to fight our case here in Richmond (Yorks). Rest assured, whenever the Prime Minister does risk calling a General Election, we are ready.”

2 Comments

  1. Good luck to Mr Callaghan! I shall certainly desert the party to which I’ve belonged for 26 years and the one I belonged to for decades before that in order to vote LibDem for the first time.

  2. Good Luck to Mr Calaghan at least we would have a local party that we don’t have to be ashamed of after all the lying, sleaze, corruption and cronyism.

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