This is what Burnley's new Conservative MP had to say about Brexit, the NHS and what people in the town can now expect

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has urged the town to judge him on what he achieves in the next five years after promising to fight day and night for the borough.


On one of the shocks of the night, Mr Higginbotham ousted Labour's Julie Cooper by 1,352 votes to turn the town blue for the first time in 109 years.

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

Speaking to the Express after the result, he said Burnley had been misrepresented in parliament for far too long and he wanted to ensure it didn't become a "forgotten heartland town".

"This is going to be a Conservative MP working with a Conservative government who will be able to do far more than an MP in opposition, with all due respect, sniping from the sidelines.

"I'm going to be able to knock on Boris Johnson's door and say this is an issue we have got, or the hospital needs this. We've got the secretary of state, we've got the prime minister, we've got a Northern Powerhouse minister who's just next door.

"Judge us on our record. For a long time this town has been misrepresented in parliament. Judge us on what we achieve. This was a close win and so I fully expect when I'm coming up for re-election I'm going to have to demonstrate what I've achieved here and not rely on any votes that just come my way because everyone has always voted Conservative; I'm not sure we have that here."

Mr Higginbotham, said that while the result will come as a shock to many he did think he was in with a chance following a positive campaign.

"I did think there was a chance, actually; a slim chance. This is probably one of the upsets of the night. I'm not sure Labour thought they were going to lose this. I think it tells a story about what is going on across the country.

"There was no ward in this constituency we didn't go into. Wards that traditionally would not vote conservative and we went into them. There were a lot of undecided voters but there were also a lot of voters who were swinging towards the Conservatives; life-long Labour voters, Liberal Democrat voters.

"This is a clear message to go and deliver on the plan that we have put forward."

He said that while Brexit was undoubtedly the hot topic – and one that needed resolving quickly – he was looking forward to getting to work on tackling the local issues.

"I'm hoping Boris brings his deal back before the end of this year, we can vote on it in Parliament, get it passed and then by the end of January we've left; and we start negotiating those trade deals.

"The NHS was undoubtedly an issue [that was brought up a lot while canvassing]. It is a tough one. We've got an ageing population and people want to make sure that the NHS is fit for the future; a big part of that is getting social care right and what we've committed to in the manifesto isn't a flashy policy that gets undone in five years' time; it's a commitment to work with all political parties to come up with something long-term.

"And actually, when I explained that on the doorsteps – when people raised the concern of the NHS being underfunded, 'is it going to be there in five years, 10 years 15 years?' – that went down really well because it shows that we're mature as a country; that we can work with other parties, and find solutions that have a broad consensus."