Theresa May personally rang Jason McCartney to apologise to him for losing the seat to Labour, the former Colne Valley MP has said.
Tory Jason said the Prime Minister had taken full responsibility for losing the seat, adding: “Theresa May did actually ring me up. I was in my local pub in Honley a couple of Sundays ago, the first Sunday after the election campaign. I went outside into the car park and I chatted to her for 20 minutes.
“I think she’s accepted full responsibility for it and she’s also apologised which at least shows good character in her.”
Speaking to BBC Look North last night, he told of the difficulties of canvassing during the campaign, citing controversial policies from the party’s manifesto.
He said: “We sort of sensed in the last week that in the national picture that things were tough going. People do say tell us how it really is and how tough it is.
“The problem is it’s an election campaign - it’s a popularity contest.
“You need something to sell on the door step. You can’t be telling pensioners that some of them might be losing their winter fuel payments. You can’t be telling people that care home costs might increase. You can’t be telling parents with young children that you’re going to take away their free school lunches. We needed positive policies.”
Jason lost the seat to Labour’s Thelma Walker, who won with 28,818 votes to Jason’s 27,903. The ongoing campaign to stop the downgrading of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary has been cited as a major factor for the swing.
Speaking about the hospital campaign, Jason added that Thelma Walker needs to act on her promises to save the A&E department.
He said: “It was my biggest local focus. I’m the one that led the debate in Parliament on it, I went to all the rallies, I spoke at lots of PMQs on it. I met health ministers.
“I actually think Thelma Walker now has to walk the walk. She made a specific pledge during the campaign that a vote for her would save the A&E. She’s now backtracking on that pledge and it’s up to me and all of our community to hold her to that pledge because she’s made a very, very specific promise.
“She’s now saying that she will just fight to save the A&E. That was what I was doing.”