Leader of Lib Dems says he's 'confident' of winning Harrogate at general election

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey used a visit to Harrogate this week to set out the goal of retaking the town for his party at the next general election.

The MP for Kingston and Surbiton took a break from attending the Local Government Association’s annual conference at Harrogate Convention Centre yesterday, Wednesday, to meet local Lib Dem members and councillors at the Wesley Centre.

Jubilant from the Lib Dems’ historic victory in the Tiverton by-election, Mr Davey said the party was ready to win in Harrogate for the first time since Phil Willis held the seat from 1997 before retiring in 2010.

Harrogate Lib Dems outside the Wesley Centre with the party’s leader Sir Ed Davey. yesterday, front centre left, and Harrogate leader Coun Pat Marsh, front right, Wednesday.

“I can see Lib Dems here are in tune with the local causes that matter to people,” Mr Davey said. “It’s a very strong party here. They did brilliantly in May’s county council elections to become Harrogate’s biggest party.

“We have a great chance of taking back Harrogate and Knaresborough for the Lib Dems at the next general election.

“Phil Willis did a great job for this constituency for many years. It’s not so long ago that he was MP.

“I’m confident we will have a Lib Dem MP again after the general election.”

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said the party was ready to win in Harrogate for the first time since Phil Willis was the town's MP.

Answering questions on the national picture at Westminster, when asked whether he thought Boris Johnson would still be Prime Minister when the general election came, the Lib Dem leader said: “Whatever happens, he shouldn’t be.

“Boris is an incompetent law breaker who is trashing this country’s reputation internationally.

“Most of all, he’s failing to focus on the cost of living crisis which is causing so much damage.”

When confronted with an accusation much raised in the national press of electoral pacts behind the scenes with Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party, Mr Davy issued a firm denial.

“No, there is no pact and there won’t be one,” he said.

“Lib Dems have our own set of values and policies which are proving to be very popular, as our last three by-election victories show.”

Harrogate and Knaresborough has been held by Andrew Jones MP for the Conservative Party in the last four general elections. In 2019 he had a majority of 9,675 votes.