By Chris Osbourne

With only a few days to go before we cast our votes, election fever is growing in Grimsby. Over the next few days we take a look at the main candidates in the race to be elected as our MP. Today we look at our current representive, Melanie Onn of the Labour Party.




Although it sometimes seems like eaons ago Ms Onn was first elected as MP for Great Grimsby in 2015 only 4 years ago. In that relatively short time she is now heavily embroiled in her 3rd General Election. By now she should be used to polls predicting her failure. In 2015 She was heavily tipped in many polls to lose out to UKIP candidate Victoria Ayling. When the counting of votes had finished, she had triumphed. Not only did she increase Labour’s vote she beat Ayling into third place behind runner up Marc Jones who stood for the Conservative Party. Onn will be hoping for a similar result next Thursday.


In the 4 years since she was first elected, she has become a battled hardened veteran almost unrecognisable from the eager, friendly young woman who sprang onto the political scene hoping to replace long term Labour MP Austin Mitchell. Experience has taught her to be more cautious in her dealings with the press, She exhibits a growing maturity and a more thorough understanding of the many issues that Grimsby faces.


In a town beset by many challenges she displays a broad understanding of these issues and a willingness to confront them head on in Parliament. There is a growing respect for her in the Commons, and should she retain her seat, she is likely to be awarded a higher position in her party.


All is not that simple however. Described by many of those who know her as warm and affable, she is described as somewhat cold and distant by many outside her inner circle. The public have mixed feelings about Onn. Some back her unreservedly while others find her unnapproachable. In such a tight race as this one seems to be, the public’s perception of a candidate is likely to figure highly on whether or not they secure their votes.


Melanie’s main opponents in this election are the Conservative’s Lia Nici and the Brexit Party’s Christopher Barker. The contest is being widely cast as the Brexit election and while 71% of local voters elected to leave the EU, Onn like Lia Nici, voted to remain. This has not gone down well with much of the local electorate, who see her as divorced from their views. It this dichotomy that is being exploited heavily by the Brexit Party. Many forget or choose to ignore the fact she voted to support Johnson’s Brexit Agreement in defiance of her own Party whip. In voting in accordance with the wishes of Grimsby voters rather than her own party’s she showed a degree of independence welcomed by many. Melanie has always seen her role as MP as that of a representative not a mere delegate.


Like Nici she is hampered in this election by having an unpopular party leader and a manifesto that doesn’t reflect the needs or views of large sections of the electorate. With the battle running close it may well be matters exclusive to Grimsby, outside of the manifesto that sway voters. As important as the Brexit issue is, the decision of who will represent Grimsby the better, will ultimately win or lose the day.





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