Triumphant Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan used her victory speech to thank party activists and to attack what she described as Boris Johnson’s “lies and bluster”.
The new MP, the first non-Tory elected in North Shropshire since the seat was created in its current form in 1983, made her speech immediately after the result was declared in the early hours of Friday.
Speaking from the podium at Shrewsbury Sports Village, she praised her “incredible” campaign team for their efforts in the most challenging circumstances.
Although few party supporters were allowed into the indoor bowling green where the result was declared, she told those present: “Your amazing efforts have delivered a gift of hope to our country, just in time for Christmas.
“Tonight, the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people.
“They have said loudly and clearly: ‘Boris Johnson, the party is over’.
“Your Government, run on lies and bluster, will be held accountable. It will be scrutinised, it will be challenged and it can and will be defeated.
“Tonight the people of North Shropshire have said enough is enough. They have said that you are unfit to lead and that they want a change.”
Ms Morgan, who came third with just 10% of the vote in the same seat in the 2019 general election, added: “And let me say specifically to all those Labour supporters who lent me their votes today: thank you.
“You have shown tonight that, together, we can defeat the Conservatives. Not with deals behind closed doors, but with common sense at the ballot box.
“These are testing times for our country.
“Our NHS, as we know here in Shropshire, is teetering on the brink. Our rural economy is in a precarious state with people’s livelihoods at risk.
“Our country is crying out for leadership.”
Ms Morgan added: “Finally, thank you most of all to all the people of North Shropshire.
“Not just for your support throughout this campaign, not just for putting your faith in me to be your champion in Parliament, but for all the hard work and sacrifices you have made over the past two years, to get our communities through this awful pandemic.
“I will never take it for granted.
“My priorities are your priorities – improving our local ambulance service, GPs and hospitals.
“Supporting our farmers and defending our rural way of life. Helping our communities through this new wave of Covid.
“As your MP, I promise I will work for you and only you. I will always put local people and our communities first.”