CONOR McGinn says St Helens should look ahead to its 150th anniversary next year and focus on ambitious plans to be at the “heart of the North West” and the “economic driver in the country’s fortunes” it used to be.

McGinn, who is campaigning to retain his seat as the Labour MP for St Helens North ahead of the June 8 general election says it is important the borough pulls together to attract jobs and businesses.

He told the Star: “Next year St Helens will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. We drove the industrial revolution we were the heart of the North West and a key town and economic driver in the country’s fortunes

“I think on our 150th anniversary we should be ambitious about rededicating ourselves as a community to be able to do all of that again.”

Mr McGinn, who was out on the campaign trail in Haydock, feels the fate of public services are critical to the discussion surrounding the election.

He added: “There’s going to be a lot of issues of concerns to people in St Helens North throughout this campaign, in my experience in the past two years our public services are critical to that.

“We have lost £9 million of funding for schools, which is equivalent to more than £300 per pupil and our NHS trust, because of lack of funding from the government last year, speculated that it might have to cancel operations and is nearly £13m in deficit.

“I think the past 20 years shows that the investment we saw in St Helens between 1997 and 2010 under a Labour government is in stark contrast to the deliberate denigration of public services, jobs and investment that we have seen in the past seven years of a Tory government.

“Just look at what they have proposed, they have proposed closing the fire station at Parr, proposed closing the job centre in Newton-le-Willows, they’ve closed the Magistrates’ court and are withdrawing £9m funding for schools.

“If they get five more years just imagine what they will do to a place like St Helens.”

“I will continue to fight, but there is nothing like having the power to do it yourself. I’m very proud to be standing as a Labour candidate, and I want to see a Labour government returned.”