Peer back in town despite double snub

Lord Shipley visiting The Blyth School to talk to pupils as part of the 'Peers in Schools' programme.
Lord Shipley visiting The Blyth School to talk to pupils as part of the 'Peers in Schools' programme.
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A PEER proved he bears no grudges against the voters of Blyth despite having two bids to become its MP rejected in a matter of months.

Former Newcastle City Council leader John Shipley, now Baron Shipley, was back in the town that twice rebuffed him in 1974 to give students an insight into the role of the House of Lords on Friday.

Lord Shipley talked to Year 13 students at Blyth School Community College about Parliament and life at Westminster as part of the Peers in Schools programme to encourage young people to get involved in politics.

The talk was followed by a question-and-answer session about Lib Dem policies and the impact being part of a coalition government has had on the party.

Iain Taylor, a teacher at the Chase Farm Drive school, said: “Events such as the Peers in School programme allow us to engage students and make them aware of how important their voice is and why voting at the ballot box is such a tremendous tool in which to make that voice heard.”

Lord Shipley, a Liberal and Liberal Democrat councillor for 34 years, contested the Blyth seat in the general elections held in February and October in 1974 general elections but was defeated both times, by independent Labour candidate Eddie Milne and Labour’s John Ryman.

He was made Baron Shipley of Gosforth in 2010.

“It is vitally important that young people understand the relevance of democracy and Parliament,” said Lord Shipley.

“They will all be able to vote soon, and democracy only thrives if people use their vote.”