Lib Dem by-election candidate apologises after ‘comparing Priti Patel to Goebbels’

North Shropshire candidate had urged minister to tear up ‘Goebbels’ manual’

Adam Forrest
Tuesday 07 December 2021 10:50
<p>Home secretary Priti Patel </p>

Home secretary Priti Patel

The Liberal Democrat candidate for the upcoming by-election in North Shropshire has apologised after comparing tactics used by home secretary Priti Patel to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

Helen Morgan has said sorry after it emerged that she had attacked Ms Patel over her immigration policy and attacks on lawyers – urging the minister to tear up her copy of “Goebbels’ manual”.

The now-deleted tweet came last September after the home secretary said the government had removed some of those who had come to the UK via small boats. Ms Patel also complained: “Removals continue to be frustrated by activist lawyers.”

Ms Morgan responded: “I think we would all appreciate an explanation of the difference between a lawyer and an activist lawyer.”

The Lib Dem added: “In the meantime, please tear up your copy of Goebbels’ manual; it is most unbecoming of one of The Great Offices of State.”

The North Shropshire candidate expressed her regret over the comparison. “I apologise for this insensitive tweet which I have taken down,” she said.

“I am focused on standing up for the people of North Shropshire who are being taken for granted by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.”

Ms Morgan has previously apologised over historic social media posts which cited the experience of Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz when discussing migrants coming across the English Channel.

The Lib Dems believe they can cause an upset in next Thursday’s contest in North Shropshire, caused by the resignation of former Tory MP Owen Paterson after he was found to have broken parliamentary lobbying rules.

Sir Ed Davey’s party is hoping that local anger over sleaze and underperforming ambulance services may give them an opportunity to take the seat – despite the fact that Mr Paterson held a majority of almost 23,000 for the Tory Party.

Labour officials are also talking up the chances of victory – claiming that internal polling from the local party shows candidate Ben Wood has a better chance than Ms Morgan of defeating the Tories.

But the Lib Dems claim that their own internal canvassing data shows they have a better chance than Labour of causing an upset in North Shropshire.

As figures from the two opposition parties squabbled over the data on Twitter on Monday, former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron claimed Labour “will very likely lose their deposit … talking them up now is a dream for the Tories”.

Oddschecker, the odds comparison site, has the Conservatives at 11/21, the Lib Dems at 16/9 and Labour further out at 66/1.

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