Former Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle to stand for Liberal Democrats again in general election

Former Burnley Liberal Democrat MP Gordon Birtwistle, standing again for his party at the next general election, has told the Burnley Express he believes he can win.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Mr Birtwistle, a councillor in Burnley’s Deerplay and Coalclough ward for 40 years, was elected as Burnley’s MP in 2010, serving five years in a coalition government.

He has been selected again by the Liberal Democrats to stand in the next general election, believed to be later this year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Speaking to the Burnley Express from his home of more than 40 years in Burnley, the grandfather-of-five said the Conservatives had made a mess of the country’s economy, and believed he was in a two-way fight in Burnley with Labour candidate Oliver Ryan.

Former Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle is standing again for the Liberal Democrats at the general electionFormer Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle is standing again for the Liberal Democrats at the general election
Former Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle is standing again for the Liberal Democrats at the general election

The 80-year-old, who has said he is fighting fit, believes a large chunk of Burnley’s Asian population will vote with his party in response to Labour’s handling of the Gaza crisis.

He also described the town’s first Tory MP in a century, Antony Higginbotham, as “very average” and said that he was “nowhere to be seen” on the streets of Burnley.

“The country is in a real state at the moment,” he said. “When I was last in government, when I was parliamentary private secretary to Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, I recall the Chancellor George Osborne stressing that the national debt must never get above £1 trillion.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It never did, and I think the most it did was reach £991 billion. Today, it’s something like £2.7 trillion. Something has gone badly wrong. The biggest government spend is on debt interest.”

In terms of reducing the debt, Mr Birtwistle said he would like any future government to tax the highest earners in society more and to become more efficient.

“It’s not easy, especially when you consider the outrageous waste of our government during the Covid pandemic, in particular the PPE scandal. You either have to spend less or get more efficient,” he said.

Read More
Former Burnley MP and current Liberal Democrat candidate Gordon Birtwistle belie...

Mr Birtwistle, who once owned his own engineering company and for a time was the government’s apprenticeship ambassador, also says he would push apprenticeships in a bid to upskill the future workforce.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He added: “In many ways we’ve gone backwards as a country. Too many people are having to choose between heating or eating. Young people need technological skills for a future workforce and we need better cheaper housing.”

Finally, Mr Birtwistle addressed the state of the health service and social care, and what needed to be done and reduce waiting lists and people’s struggles to see a GP or a dentist.

“When I was MP I managed to secure an urgent care centre for Burnley General Hospital and the Fairhurst Building for orthodontic, maxillofacial surgery. People are struggling to see a GP or dentist in Burnley and that is because too many are going private.

“Insurance is far too expensive for most people. It shouldn’t be that you face the choice of paying or letting your teeth rot. Adult social care has virtually disappeared too. I believe staff in care homes and the like should be paid more. It’s outrageous.”