Column: Delivering Brexit is not enough to strengthen Tory standing in Doncaster - but a new hospital could
Delivering Brexit alone will not ensure Conservative inroads in Doncaster – real investment is needed from the bubble of Westminster and a new hospital for the borough will go some way in cementing the so-called Don Valley piece of the Red Wall.
For Nick Fletcher, the Conservative freshman in this historical Labour stronghold of Doncaster, It’s hard not to be frustrated at Government’s failure so far to deliver obvious infrastructure.
We can talk about town funds and other piecemeal pots of money but the national Conservative party has already tested those who placed their faith in them, many of the first time, three times already.
No new hospital, no new rail link to Doncaster Sheffield Airport and no Freeport are three project snubs that have not gone unnoticed. Fletcher’s brick in the Red Wall could be seen as loose if this continues further.
Mr Fletcher, well aware he doesn’t want to upset the Tory London machine too much so early into his tenure, must speak out in a big way if his party does not deliver on something so desperately needed in a new hospital.
It said a lot when Tory powerhouse Michael Gove said that he would be ‘worried’ if Caroline Flint was elected leader of the Labour party.
Flint, a supporter of Brexit and the will to get it done, much to the displeasure of many in her own party, had many in the Don Valley constituency placing a cross in the Tory box at the ballot with a heavy heart.
“I like Caroline, but I can’t vote Labour because of Corbyn and Brexit,” said many when I spoke to voters in Conisbrough back in December 2019.
If Johnson doesn’t deliver tangible projects that voters can physically point to, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Flint on the ballot again come 2024 – and Fletcher should be worried.
In delivering a hospital, it will go some way to turning those ex-Labour voters who loaned their ballot to the Tories into something more permanent.