JO Platt has kicked off her campaign to become the next MP for Leigh and Atherton after the Prime Minister called a General Election for July.

After months of speculation, Rishi Sunak confirmed yesterday that a General Election will be held on Thursday, July 4.

Conservative MP James Grundy announced earlier today that he will not contest the seat that he won in 2019, which was the first time the Tories had ever been elected in Leigh. 

Following the news of the election, Mr Grundy's main rival, Jo Platt, who was the town's MP between 2017 and 2019, has kicked off her campaign to become the next MP for Leigh and Atherton.

READ > 'He was completely fit and well' - Man dies after routine check-up at hospital

Leigh Journal: Jo Platt is aiming to regain the parliamentary seat she lost in 2019Jo Platt is aiming to regain the parliamentary seat she lost in 2019 (Image: Jo Platt)
In a speech to local people and Labour activists, Jo Platt set out the Party's first steps for the local area, which she states will be:

  • Tackling the Conservative cost-of-living crisis and fighting for investment in the whole of our constituency·
  • Getting the National Health Service back on its feet and cut appointment waiting times
  • Working with police and residents to tackle antisocial behaviour and return to neighbourhood policing

This campaign continues after Labour leader Kier Starmer set out his first steps for government last week, with Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper visiting Leigh to speak about the party's six main pledges.

Labour says that its campaign to win back the Leigh and Atherton seat will centre on Labour’s plan to deliver a decade of national renewal following 14 years of the Conservative Party.

Jo Platt said:  “As a local resident, I am proud to launch my campaign to be the next Labour MP for Leigh and Atherton. I know that our community deserves better than the past 14 years of Tory decline.

“People here are desperate for change and over the next few weeks, I will set out my plans to build a better Leigh and Atherton.

“Together we can change Leigh and Atherton.”

Following the election announcement, Labour Leader Kier Starmer emphasised that the Labour party has changed over the last four years and has "returned it once more to the service of working people".

Mr Starmer said that "a vote for Labour is a vote for economic and political stability, an end to Conservative chaos, and a long-term plan to rebuild Britain.”

Leigh Journal: James Grundy MP said that he will not stand in the next electionJames Grundy MP said that he will not stand in the next election (Image: James Grundy MP)
Announcing his election plan on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he would “fight for every vote” as he attempts to overturn a 20-point opinion poll deficit.

Mr Sunak said: “This election will take place at time when the world is more dangerous than it has been since the end of the Cold War.”

He highlighted Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the tensions in the Middle East relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict, China’s efforts to “dominate the 21st century” and migration “being weaponised by hostile states to threaten the integrity of our borders”.

“These uncertain times call for a clear plan and bold action to chart a course to a secure future,” he said.

“You must choose in this election who has that plan.”

Leigh Journal: Rishi Sunak announced that the General Election will take place on July 4Rishi Sunak announced that the General Election will take place on July 4 (Image: PA)
Mr Sunak’s announcement came after the Office for National Statistics said Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation slowed to 2.3% in April, down from 3.2% in March.

He said that inflation was now “back to normal”, meaning “the pressure on prices will ease and mortgage rates will come down” – although interest rates are actually a matter for the independent Bank of England.

It was “proof that the plan and priorities I set out are working”, Mr Sunak said, but he acknowledged “for some it might still be hard when you look at your bank balance”.

He added: “On July 5, either Sir Keir Starmer or I will be prime minister. He has shown time and time again that he will take the easy way out and do anything to get power.

“If he was happy to abandon all the promises he made to become Labour leader once he got the job, how can you know that he won’t do exactly the same thing if he were to become prime minister?".

Leigh Journal: Opinion polls since the 2019 electionOpinion polls since the 2019 election (Image: PA)
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “This Government is out of touch, it’s out of excuses and it’s out of time – and it’s time to get this Conservative Government out of office.

“And if we do, we can transform our politics, we can sort out the crisis in the health and care system, we can get our economy back on track, we can end the sewage scandal and we can get the fair deal people deserve.”

Reform UK leader Richard Tice said: “The electorate have a clear choice – people know that the Tories have broken Britain. Labour and ‘Starmergeddon’ will do what they always do, which is bankrupt Britain.

“It’s only Reform UK’s common sense policies that can now save Britain.”