The increase in the Conservative majority in the Lichfield constituency from 238 in 1997 to 4,426 last night represents an increase of 6.2% in the share of vote (from 42.9% to 49.1% of the total vote cast) and a swing from Labour to Conservative of 5.1% – one of the largest swings from Labour to Conservative in the country.
Right from the beginning of the campaign, Michael said he would fight the election on local issues: the closure of hospitals, the unfair funding of Staffordshire schools, the lack of policing, the effects of the west coast main line widening, and other issues.
"There is no question that Health and Education as well as crime are the main issues people are concerned about", says Michael Fabricant. "During the election campaign, I continually asked colleagues running our national campaign to switch their attention away from 'Save the Pound' to these issues. Although I certainly share my Party's deep concern over the Euro and the European Union, we seemed to dwell on this single issue at the expense of all others night after night. It seemed an obsession.
"I believe that nationally we could have kicked at a Labour open goal by concentrating on these issues. After all, we had all paid the tax, but we have all experienced reduced services over the last four years. Tony Blair was right to say that Health and Education are important and I believe that if we had fought him on those grounds – as I did in Lichfield – the Conservative Party would have done far better nationally. Instead, we had turned into a dark cul de sac.
"Now, the work continues. Locally I shall continue to campaign to save the Victoria and Hammerwich Hospitals. Nationally, I shall try and help steer our great Party back into the mainstream of British politics".