2015 Result:
Conservative: 9389 (20.7%)
Labour: 23625 (52.2%)
Lib Dem: 1255 (2.8%)
Green: 1273 (2.8%)
UKIP: 8818 (19.5%)
Independent: 165 (0.4%)
Others: 768 (1.7%)
MAJORITY: 14236 (31.4%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: North West, Greater Manchester.

Main population centres:



Current MP
LISA NANDY (Labour) Born 1979, Manchester. Educated at Newcastle University. Former policy advisor. Hammersmith and Fulham councillor 2006-2010. First elected as MP for Wigan in 2010. Shadow Energy Secretary since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 10917 (25%)
Lab: 21404 (48%)
LDem: 6797 (15%)
UKIP: 2516 (6%)
Oth: 2506 (6%)
MAJ: 10487 (24%)
Con: 7134 (21%)
Lab: 18901 (55%)
LDem: 6051 (18%)
UKIP: 1166 (3%)
Oth: 1026 (3%)
MAJ: 11767 (34%)
Con: 6996 (21%)
Lab: 20739 (62%)
LDem: 4970 (15%)
Oth: 886 (3%)
MAJ: 13743 (41%)
Con: 7400 (17%)
Lab: 30043 (69%)
LDem: 4390 (10%)
Oth: 536 (1%)
MAJ: 22643 (52%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
LISA NANDY (Labour) See above.
MARK CLAYTON (Liberal Democrat) Former Manchester councillor. Contested Wigan 2010.
GARETH FAIRHURST (Wigan Independents)
BRIAN PARR (Independent)
Comments - 205 Responses on “Wigan”
  1. I said the most likely scenario was that there would be no disaster and that any campaign to Rejoin would be a long hard slog. You just basically said the same thing whilst pretending I said something different. I don’t think anyone doubts that, historically, many people switch to voting Conservative in middle age, and that’s the reason the Tories can keep winning elections.

  2. Well you were using the same argument the Cameroons thought was true (that Conservatives have to be less Conservative and more metropolitan to gain votes). True in London but not in the UK. Even DC eventually dumped all that in 2013 when he saw UKIP surging.

    I just don’t see Remainers winning a fight, whether physical or otherwise.

    Yes they can be offensive – such as the commemorative tea towel of Leave voters who have died – and sign e-petitions from abroad but that’s about it.

  3. Similar reasons why I haven’t signed the petition and don’t intend to.

  4. Did a certain someone just compare the abolition of fox hunting with leaving the EU?! Talking absolute garbage as per usual, even by his low standards.

  5. You see, abuse is all the little Tristan and Tamaras of Chelsea have left, in the face of facts and polls.

    A river of tears is sure to follow in Hampstead – or will they all wail as that young Democrat did on the anniversary of Trump’s victory.

  6. Why can’t we have a civil exchange of views without people resorting to that kind of silliness.

  7. True.

    52% supported a ban on fox hunting in 1999 in a poll.

    50.1% supported the Welsh Assembly in the Ref.

    Hence my use of both as comparisons.

  8. What we fox hunting ban support during the time the Hunting bill was prominent on the news.

  9. Though one was not a referndum and the other didnt draw up the white paper after the referendum

  10. @ HH

    To be honest I was a little bit teary at the end of that video.

    I’m not convinced that it added much to the Brexit debate, and in many respects you’re not left with a greater understanding of the leave vote from it aside from the occasional phrases such as “well how can it get any worse”.

    But as a documentary it did show people trying, people being held back and people clueless how to change their lives. The fir clemt project is pretty special and we’ve are members ourselves- I think £5 a year plus maybe a couple of pounds for virtually as much as you want to take of near sell by date food that would end up unused otherwise. They also provide stuff to schools and communities who would benefit. An example of a project that goes way beyond the soup kitchen and tackles a number of issues simultaneously- environmental, cheap food, community etc.

    To be honest I don’t think this type of documentary has ever been covered in the mainstream without trying to get some trashy Benefits Street ratings out of it. Maybe Harris is repeating himself and obviously has his own angles (he was unnecessarily huffy and puffy about parliament when debating Brexit is obviously their job) but I thought he did a great job with Wigan.

    Yes you are right about the 20% and obviously if you go into Wigan town centre during the day you miss all the Manchester commuters, nurses and teachers and so on but I did think it was a very humane film about the potential for things to be different and to show people as people, willing to work but being held back by lack of jobs or unable to pursue education and qualifications because of lack of support.

  11. Shevii: I do know if they already do this, but Fir Clemt are a real success story and I’m sure there are dozens of other post-industrial towns that would benefit from a similar set-up. They should publicise themselves more widely and encourage sister organisations in other places.

  12. @ Polltroll

    Fir Clemt is definitely a glowy success story that should be duplicated.

    I know very little about the set up there but I very much get the impression that this is a local initiative and perhaps no single person as the mover and shaker who could be a figurehead for a nationwide movement. They seem to have taken their inspiration from the real junk food project set up in Leeds and this has had publicity and expanding:


    I guess it is very much dependent on people with a knowledge of the food industry and forming ,local networks, as well as support from the council (at least the premises certainly look as though they were public service in a former life and are presumably heavily subsidised or little in the way of an alternative use unless sold to developers for housing).

  13. Thanks Shevii for a really good post.

    I too really liked the film (as I already said). I do think though that endless obsession about the Brexitiness of the Wigans and Walsalls of this world obscures the real problems in those places and probably makes it harder to get them addressed. Painting places in this light is also exceptionally damaging for them image-wise in the eyes of much of the rest of the country.

  14. Incidentally, though my Norwegian is very very rusty these days (I haven’t lived there since 2005), I’m pretty sure “glemt” means forgotten in the Scandinavian languages, not so far from “clemt” which I have never heard before. There’s quite a big Scandinavian influence on some colloquial words in the north of England and Scotland.

  15. I have a comment in moderation maybe for posting two links. I’m not sure Anthony checks things these days so will try again…

    Oh dear, I may be showing my bias here but I am full of dread for my ward voting in a second “Shevington Independents” councillor this year with Gareth Faihurst standing. I’ll leave other people to make up their mind:


  16. And the second part:

    Police have dropped stalking charges but apparently three other former or current councillors under investigation (presumably from various independent groups):


  17. Shevii – yes, that certainly is an unfair and biased stance.

    Quite apart from the obvious point that I suspect many would have agreed with what he said about a Council Chief Exec, it most certainly is true that Wigan’s was incompetent. Indeed what you failed to mention is that she resigned just after that article and left under a cloud.

    Apart from Wigan having a fine tradition of electing Ind Cllrs – I recall the Community Action Party around 2008 –
    The Fairhursts are electorally very successful and so I assume, popular locally.

    He achieved 60% of the vote in the ward as an Ind Cons and I think his relatives followed his success in the 2007-2012 period, although my main reason for remembering his name is that he managed to get Wigan Ind Conservatives registered as a Party and he owned the wignaconservatives domain, so in short he damaged the local Cons Party, or they were stupid to fallout with him from a psephological viewpoint.

    Yes Inds are often off characters, but this one merely reminds me of Steve Radford, ie he’s popular precisely because he shouts a lot and calls out council officers’ incompetence.

    This former CEO clearly was after all.

  18. Also no idea why you “presume” ex cllrs under investigation were Ind Cllrs, as the ex-Cllrs and candidates who have stood in Wigan and have since been convicted were:

    2 Labour
    1 Conservative

  19. @ Lancs Observer

    Surprised at your response to be honest. Is there any major political party that would accept a councillor who called someone a b*itch and then defended this by using Urban dictionary as a defence rather than an apology?

    It is not clear from the articles what time he visited her home but it says “at night”. I’m not sure there is any particular reason to go for the Chief Executive rather than just the council. It is clearly vindictive but obviously does not pass the test of stalking.

    As far as the Chief Executive being “incompetent” I have heard nothing but praise for her from various quarters including my wife. I have not found any news article that links her leaving a few months early to any incompetency issues- indeed it is just as possible that her leaving was the result of the harassment.

    The issue that kicked all of this off was over a resignation of an independent councillor in Bryn who took back word and decided to stay. This was something discussed on here and yes Wigan Council got the law wrong but it was more of a finely balanced debate that needed the courts to settle rather than clear cut.

    As far as Gareth Fairhurst goes I have seen his rants over the years on various forums- “rabble rousing” is probably a fair description. There was a case in Standish where he was a councillor where he wasted council money calling for an unjustified enquiry into the council’s actions that ended up in the council’s favour but cost the tax payer I believe around £30,000 if I remember rightly (can’t find the article now). This undoubtedly led to him losing his seat despite, as you say, an impressive percentage of the votes in previous elections.

    I assumed independents because this all seems to be around the same issue. I was not criticising independents as such and there are several different groupings of independents on Wigan council. The current independent councillor for Shevington, as far as I am aware, may be in the same party and be related in some way but has not gone down the same road of confrontation and rabble rousing.

    You seem well versed in North West politics and maybe even Wigan politics so I was rather surprised that you would have a different view to Gareth Fairhurst if you are that close to Wigan politics.

  20. “I assume, popular locally.” should be past tense.

    By the way of proof:

    2012 Standish:
    Gareth William Fairhurst Standish Independents 2069 (elected)
    Electorate: 9806 % Poll: 36.55

    2016 Standish
    Gareth William Fairhurst Standish Independents 1063 (Not elected)
    Electorate: 9525 % Poll: 41.43

  21. Shevii – You area again providing readers with an unfair and skewed view.

    I’m aware what “kicked this all off” – I posted the link on the previous page. Council incompetence and a Judge ruled that that by-election could take place. Proven waste of taxpayers’ money and not the first instance by Wigan MBC officers – presumably why so many Inds of various varieties have kept gaining seats from Labour in what were rock solid wards until a decade ago.

    As for the supposed “proof”, it only fair to point out that the victor in that ward only received 32% and so Fairhurst only lost by a mere 200 votes.

    You say that you are worried he might win, but then disagree that he is popular. Both cannot be true!

    So yes, I repeat what I said – that the Fairhursts are electorally successful – as can be seen from all of the contests:


    Shev Debbie Fairhurst 1,377 42%
    Standish George Fairhurst 2,018 58%


    George Fairhurst Wigan Ind Cons 1,672 43%


    Standish Inds 2,069 58%

    Shevington Inds also polled 30% in the most recent by-election on 14.12.17.

    Indeed the only example I can find other than the one you post is 2010, but that was due to GE turnouts of 68% in the wards and the Ind Cons defeated were not Fairhursts – and Labour still only scraped in on 32-34%.

  22. Judge ruled the by-election could *NOT* take place (if it wasn’t obvious from the rest of my para).

  23. @ Lancs Observer

    The proof I was providing you was that Gareth Fairhurst lost 1,000 votes out of his previous tally of 2,000 votes on a similar turnout. We can surmise with some certainty why 1,000 people didn’t vote for him again. We can also surmise that of the remaining 1,000, some may have supported his views and some may have just liked the idea of an independent councillor and/or not being paying attention and simply being influenced by election leaflets. But that is very significant drop in support for no other possible reason. So yes it was still close but clearly many voters had made up their minds about him.

    I am not commenting on the other members of the Fairhurst family. I understand the dad is OK and a “gentleman” regardless of whether you agree with his politics. As I made clear this was not about them and indeed the rest of them have supported motions against social media harrassment of council officials.

    Of course the risk for Shevington is that low voter awareness gets him in as clearly he did not wish to stand in Standish again.

    As far as wasting money goes you have your views and I have mine. I don’t know the ins and outs of this case. He said he was resigning, Wigan council got a wrong interpretation of the law, I don’t know what legal advice they took or where the blame is but taking it out on an individual is very different to having a beef with the council. Do you expect governments and councils to win every single legal case. They saved money by not taking it to an appeal.

    I do know that there have been plenty of times where he has wasted council money on various beefs. As I say can’t find the article now but there was one which he forced the council to take to an investigation and lost. He’s held up council meetings while the police had to be called to remove him, albeit for the relatively minor offence of deliberately ignoring council rules about tweeting in meetings, He’s forced investigations into a Tory councillor’s spending which turned out to be groundless- these are just some of the things I remember.

    I’m all for holding councils to account but not vendettas and even less so against people who are not in political positions. I’ve got things I don’t like about Wigan council, especially on environment and house building but I absolutely think they are an efficient council having experienced others.

    I notice you skipped replying to whether you thought calling a council executive a B*tch on social media was a good enough reason to be horrified at the prospect of them being your councillor…

    Anyway, didn’t mean to get in a debating thing which heads into party political territory anyway- just assumed any right minded person of any political persuasion would agree with me.

  24. You posted an historic link in order to slur a candidate you don’t like. Therefore I – in order to be fair to readers of this site – said the Fairhursts are popular. Your reply stated that that should be past tense. So I therefore detailed why that was also untrue.

    I wasn’t getting into party political territory at all – merely correcting the misleading content of your posts – which should be obvious from the content of my replies largely being actual full election results, as opposed to your sole entry – indeed even that was only a partial result posted in such a way to give a false impression.

    You stated the by-election court case was a finely balanced issue. It was nothing of the sort. Wigan MBC wasted huge sums on defending the Court case and holding the by-election.

    I didn’t bother responding to your rhetorical Q as to which major parties would accept people who used that word because several MPs have done so including John McDonnell and other Cllrs have said much worse, including Cllrs in this locality.

    I’m amazed you think that Wigan are right to discipline anyone for tweeting during meetings, let alone call upon police to intervene.

    I certainly do disagree that Council Officers should not be pursued for wrongdoing. Particularly so in the North West where 4 Chief Execs have had to leave under clouds and two others have been charged with criminal offences and are awaiting trial.

  25. This thread has moved onto an “I said that- you said that” so there is very little point continuing it and answering point by point as it will never end. I had already acknowledged that I was only talking about one of the independents.

    I don’t accept that linking to factual articles from an independent press can be considered a dictionary definition of “slur”.

    I assumed that almost anyone would have been concerned about a candidate who called a council officer a b*itch on social media and doubled down on it when given the opportunity to apologise for a heat of the moment remark. Clearly I was wrong..

    You are welcome to the last word but this is my last one on the subject.

  26. Happy to rest on the facts.

    Yes you claimed you were worried he would be elected again (but then also said he was unpopular) – and I corrected both with evidence, as well as the misleading historic link, which was almost entirely the Chief Exec’s viewpoint, so hardly independent at all.

    I reiterate that I suspect many would agree with what he said about any Council Chief Exec, but in particular Wigan’s former one, given what had gone on. Popularity is always relative and so it’ll be whether the Labour Council are or Ind candidates are whether they’re successful across the borough in May. Although, I’d argue that both low turnouts and Labour only mustering 30% in wards speaks volumes and not just here. It’s after all why Labour lost and came v close to losing more seats to Inds in Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton too.

  27. Wigan Council’s archivist is displaying party political posters from decades gone by including 141 from 1910.

    “A Vote for the Radicals is a Vote Against the British Navy”

    was eye catching as was Honest John Bull wearing a white vest adorned with a Union Jack fighting a suit of armour.

    Both were Liberal Unionist posters printed in Manchester.

  28. In time they’ll be catalogued and put online for those unable to travel to Wigan to see the display.

  29. @ Lancs Observer

    Is that at Wigan life council/library or museum/local studies? Can always wait for the online version anyway!

  30. Lisa Nandy said the feeling here is ‘a plague on all your houses.’

    The BBC Daily Politics also listed the following:

    Colchester: Tory candidate punched
    Gloucestershire: Tory candidate choked
    Great Yarmouth: Labour Cllr punched
    West Yorkshire: LibDems assaulted

    There’s also just been an assault in my area – that isn’t yet public – the police are dealing with it.

  31. The candidate attacked in Colchester was a 46 year old woman. I don’t care how angry you are about anything, that is cretinous behaviour. Mind you, a good deal of Colchester is rough as a badger’s arse so I’m not too surprised.

  32. The man choked in Glos was 70, but here’s a few more examples of attacks and threats:


    The one in my area had stones thrown at him and there’s just been a second attack.

  33. Net loss of 3 councillors for Labour, although Labour made a gain in Standish after a very long time and “held” Shevington (see above- won’t get into it again!) where they had lost a seat to independent the previous year.

    This election completed the set of gains over previous years for Independents and Tories in certain wards (Orrell, Atherton etc). So subject to further “events”, that may cap off the Lab losses for now. There are still the ultra marginals of Shevington and Standish (often 3 way) in play but not even sure if a Labour councillor is up next year (given the by election).

  34. Leigh constituency

    Lab 38.4%
    Con 21.3%
    UKIP 18%
    LD 1.4%
    Ind/Others 20.9%

    7 wards to Lab, 1 to Con (Lowton East) and 1 to Ind (Atherton)

    Makerfield constituency

    Lab 40.2%
    Con 12.7%
    UKIP 11.1%
    LD 4.4%
    Greens 4%
    Ind/Others 27.5%

    Lab win 5 wards, Con 1 (Orrell) and Indipendents 2 (Byrn and Hindley)

    Wigan constituency

    Lab 47.6%
    UKIP 13.8%
    Con 11.9%
    LD 6.4%
    Greens 3.8%
    Ind/Others 16.5%

    Lab wins all wards

  35. It will be interesting to see if in the European elections UKIP can keep all their voters yesterday or if they lose a lot of them to the Brexit Party (and Tommy Robinson in the North West.)

  36. Again, to give the full picture in Shevington, Labour scraped home, winning by 93 votes, on 34% (v 32% to the Ind Shevii can’t stand, with the 3 other anti-Labour candidates all rising too).

    Labour also held onto 3 in Manchester by 100 votes or less. Likewise in Liverpool.

    Our West Lancs gained 4 from Labour.

  37. “Labour also held onto 3 in Manchester by 100 votes or less”

    in 2/3 good holds in LD targets. Manchester Labour is a competent campaign machine and it showed again this week compared to other cities (Leeds and especially Sheffield Labour).

    Liverpool results were also ok in the context of the national picture. They lost what they were expected to lose. They did well in Allerton/ Hunts Cross and Greenbank. They were lucky in Cressington with their problematic candidate.

  38. @ Lancs Observer

    lol! I was leaving it alone and deliberately avoided mentioning it, but in response to your comment…

    I’m not sure where you are getting your “all other parties up” from- presumably comparing to a General election year in 2015 where Labour always does better in this ward on a higher turnout as opposed to last year’s results. Why you would wish to compare 2019 to 2015 rather than 2018? That is extremely selective in view that our discussion concerns an independent candidate and nothing else. Labour losing ground in recent years in Wigan is not under dispute.

    Comparing votes from 2018 to 2019:
    – Shevington Independents went from 1,107 votes to 895 and 40% to 31% (not your 32%)
    – Labour went from 1045 to 988- 38% to 34%
    – Tories were down from 487 to 356
    – Greens were up significantly from 120 to 336.
    – UKIP did not stand the previous year and got 324- this will distort the figures but in unpredictable ways. The Lab to Green and Tory/Independent to UKIP pretty much balances out in analysing the result. Either more people turned out to vote Green or Labour votes went to Greens (in line with national polling) but other Labour voters decided to vote to keep the independent out when they hadn’t bothered last year.

    I’ts not about me not standing a particular candidate (hands up- I can’t stand him)- it’s about the electorate not standing him and it is not about policy. In a year where independents were doing exceptionally well, including other areas of Wigan, a seat that was won last year by his party was lost this year with a 9% drop in vote share.
    I pointed this out to you in his Standish result where the drop was massive (1,000 out of 2,000 votes lost in 4 years or one year whichever you wish to take) and with less name recognition in Shevington he still dropped.

    Up thread you were rightly expressing concern at the physical attacks on candidates and canvassers. This stems from a toxic political atmosphere where newspapers call politicians traitors and I firmly believe that tweets that call a chief executive a b*tch fuels this anger and hatred.

    I don’t wish to kick this off again. I do accept that I shouldn’t have made my original post- I did it purely because I didn’t expect anyone to have an issue with it. I wasn’t making a party political point and I wasn’t making a comment about any other independents, even those from his own party.

  39. For shevii in particular, but more proof for others of what I said upthread:


    Operation Floret has been launched by the professional standards dept of GMP, after evidence emerged that inept Donna Hall, the then Council Chief and Wigan Labour Party got corrupt GMP officers to arrest and detain political opponents.

  40. Shevii – “Why you would wish to compare 2019 to 2015”

    Because those were the seats up for re-election and it is the norm to do so and it was in fact yourself who did likewise and stated that, “this completed the set of gains”

    You reveal by your admission (“hands up- I can’t stand him”) why you posted in the selective way that you did to begin with, but I accept that you now agree that you shouldn’t have done so in such a partial way. I was merely correcting that slanted view for others from elsewhere to read, because by definition your [Labour] stance is only supported by under a third of the population in the locals here and so doesn’t reflect in any fair sense the established view of locals.

    I disagree that incompetent Chief Execs shouldn’t be vilified, even if the choice of language employed wouldn’t have been mine. However, I expect that language is used by locals about her and so in that sense it wasn’t inaccurate.

  41. @ Lancs

    Paywalled after the first few lines so not sure who was making the complaint or what the “evidence” was. I’ll apologise if anyone gets done, although that was a bit of a subset to the main issue of Gareth Fairhurst.

    Seeing as we are the the Wigan thread- Lisa Nandy re-selected as Wigan Labour candidate- not sure if any individual voted for trigger ballot but was a unanimous result in terms of all branches and all affiliates.

  42. Lisa Nandy yesterday effectively threw her hat into the ring, saying she was “seriously considering” running.

    Nandy is the perfect candidate for Labour if their primary goal is to understand why they lost. But I’m not sure the membership is all that keen, if I’m honest. I have been pretty struck over the past 72 hours by the total lack of responsibility that Labour members have taken for the result.

  43. Personally I am very likely to give Nandy my first preference if she makes the ballot.

  44. I agree with Polltroll. The big difference between now and the aftermath of the 83 debacle is that back then Labour collectively recognised that it had to change- and it still took them 15 years to get back into government.

    When the likes of even Starmer seem to be reluctant to in any way criticise the leader responsible for their worst result since the 1930s, it’s safe to conclude the party has some pretty big problems

  45. “The big difference between now and the aftermath of the 83 debacle is that back then Labour collectively recognised that it had to change- and it still took them 15 years to get back into government.”

    But there are numerous “big differences”, not just that one, and some of them put Labour in less of a hole than they were in in 1983

    – The Tory majority is 80 rather than 140

    – Their vote share was much better than in 83

    – The Lib Dems/Alliance aren’t credible challengers for second place

    – We live in much more volatile times and voters are much less tribal and loyal to their normal party

    – Labour did far better in England than in 83, admittedly offset by doing far worse in Scotland

    If Labour can do some kind of coalition deal with the SNP it neutralises the problem of the Scottish seats, at least until Scotland becomes independent.

    Also there were large chunks of the Labour party which didn’t “collectively accept” the need for change for many years indeed after 1983. Kinnock didn’t make his famous anti-Militant conference speech until 1985 and it took until the early 90s to fully root out Militant on Merseyside and the London loony left. Labour didn’t drop its Eurosceptic national stance nor its commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmourment until 1988 (though there was no policy to actually withdraw from the EC in the 1987 manifesto).

    With a better leader than Corbyn Labour has a good chance of recovering faster than after 1983.

  46. But let’s not also forget that in the 1980s Labour was up against Thatcher, one of the most effective politicians of the post war period, and her cabinets containing various hard hitting, effective and seasoned politicians which would laugh Johnson’s collection of cronies out of office.

    Once Brexit happens I suspect the Tories popularity will plummet and if Labour do get it right in the leadership elections, things could look considerably more rosy for them in a relatively short space of time although making any predictions at the moment is somewhat a mug’s game

  47. To add to Hemmy’s list, it’s difficult to see where Boris Johnson’s equivalent to the great council house sell-off comes from. An underappreciated facet of Thatcherism is that it only works once, and once you’ve sold the assets they’re gone.

  48. Yes and no.

    Now the children of those who bought are inheriting those assets (which have soared in value).

    There’ve been quite a few boosts of late: from building societies converting to PPI reclaims, mis-sold packaged bank accounts, data breaches, council tax refunds etc*. Accessing pensions at 55. All of this and low interest rates means there’s been a boost for most.

    *I think Martin Lewis said there’s been £8 Billion reclaimed

    Boundary changes should increase the Tory majority from 88 to 125.

  49. Lisa Nandy is becoming the Rory Stewart of this contest. The most “interesting” candidate, generating lots of column inches and a cult online following – but she’s not going to come anywhere near winning. If anything, the hype she’s generating in the hated “mainstream media” counts against her among Labour Party members.

  50. It’s interesting as you might have expected Jess Phillips to fulfil the Rory Stewart role.

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