Who will be fighting Richmond Park and Guildford in a snap General Election?

More selection news from seats the party used to hold comes in as we prepare for a possible snap election.

In Richmond Park, held by Susan Kramer until 2010, Sarah Olney has been selected to fight Zac Goldsmith. From the local Guardian:

Sarah Olney was selected on July 22 as the party believes new Prime Minister Theresa May might consider going to the country before 2020 to take advantage of Labour in-fighting and to precede a possible recession.

Ms Olney, who campaigned for GLA member Caroline Pidgeon during May’s London Assembly elections, said it would be a huge honour to represent the

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LibLink: Elaine Bagshaw: Turning things round in Tower Hamlets

Last month, Liberal Democrat Expand launched with an ambitious plan for the party to widen its net, to work in those areas where we had disappeared.

After the devastating election result last year, one of the first people back into the fray was Elaine Bagshaw, who had to run in a by-election for Mayor in Tower Hamlets.

Since then, she has built a team that is out there on the streets several times a week building an organisation from the ground up.

She writes about what she’s been doing on the Liberal Democrat Expand website:

The first has been about being brave and changing the mindset about “no go” areas. Wards that we were told would never vote Lib Dem had actually never been asked. I’m still shocked that in some places people won’t go and knock on council houses because apparently “they aren’t our people”. We definitely haven’t found this to be the case in Tower Hamlets. From a London perspective, it’s a foolish way to approach things as people move so often. At one point in Tower Hamlets 25% the electoral roll would change every time a new one was issued.

My other issue with “no go” areas is that for us to be in majority government we absolute have to win in places like Poplar & Limehouse and other areas that we dismiss as ‘not our territory’. Poplar & Limehouse is a passion project of mine partly for this reason but also because it’s in these areas that people need Lib Dems the most. Every time we write-off an area we write-off the people in it and that’s not a narrative we should be signed up to.

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Tom Brake calls for Turkey to be suspended from NATO

As the human rights situation in Turkey worsens, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson Tom Brake has called for Turkey to be suspended from NATO and for the refugee deal between Turkey and the EU to be scrapped.

He said:

Erdogan’s ongoing purge of newspapers, academics, teachers and judges has nothing to do with Turkey’s security and everything to do with blocking any opposition to his increasingly authoritarian rule. Today’s news that dozens more media outlets have been shut should send shivers down the spine of any person who believes in a free and open society.

The preamble to NATO’s founding treaty refers to it being “founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law”, all of which are under threat in Turkey currently.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

ALDC’s by-election report, 26-28 July 2016

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)What a fantastic set of results again. With by-elections on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week we have seen a great deal of success amongst Lib Dem teams.

On Tuesday night in East Hampshire, the Lib Dems increased their vote share by a massive 43.6% in The Hangers & Forest ward having not stood there in 2015. Sadly this still meant coming second, with the Conservatives holding the seat by just 9 votes.

News on Wednesday was extremely positive with a gain in Totnes. Labour had failed to stand a candidate in a seat they had previously held, although the Independent candidate was a Labour member. The Lib Dem candidate John Birch won with 812 votes, increasing our vote share by 14.6%. It is a ward where we lost narrowly, by 12 votes, to the Greens in the last by-election in October 2015.

John fought the campaign on tackling the acute shortage of affordable housing and rented social housing in South Hams stating that priority should be given to reducing the housing waiting list and continual development of affordable housing in Totnes.

Our normal by-election night of Thursday did not disappoint with two holds and one gain. In Sutton, the team’s 30 years winning streak in Carshalton Central continued. The team won with 43.4% of the vote, with the Conservatives coming second with 36.9%. Noticeably UKIP’s vote decreased by 10.5% since 2014 when the seat was last fought.

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My first three months as a Liberal Democrat Councillor

On the day after I won my first election in May, while still elated and shattered in equal parts, my agent told me that is it typical for the first three months after election season to be relatively quiet and that I would have plenty of time to adjust to my new role. I can think of many words that might apply to these last three months in politics. ‘Typical’ and ‘quiet’ are not among them.

Nationally, as the EU referendum has triggered both a change of government and an opposition leadership election, the mood of our country is uncertain and fearful. Locally, in East Surrey, this is as true as anywhere. It was saddening but not surprising that our residents voted to leave the EU as many people took their opportunity to vote for something to change. Immediate worries for residents are about public services and infrastructure. Deep cuts to local authority budgets over recent years have meant reductions to just about every public service that people notice. Fewer bus services, shortened library opening hours, earlier closing times at the recycling centre and less regular grass cutting in public green areas are among the factors that all add up to make life less pleasant than it used to be. Meanwhile, a couple of decades of intense house building in my ward means that the population of our compact geography has more or less doubled while investment in infrastructure has failed to keep up. Roads are now overwhelmed and there aren’t enough school places and doctors’ appointments to service the community. On doorsteps people have been regularly asking how long before breaking point?

We found our breaking point in Caterham on the Hill on 7th June when we experienced the worst flash floods for 40 years. Local drains failed and properties were swamped with rain and sewer water, making too many families temporarily homeless. Given the political maelstrom, the media have not had a chance to give the consequences of our storm much attention. Not for our families the COBRA committees, armed forces response and additional funding that have been made available previously for other communities. Our Conservative MP did not even bother to make a statement. He was too busy in Westminster. This left a massive void of leadership with just us Councillors left to fill it.

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Wikipedia “edit-a-thon” on Liberal History

Wikipedia will be holding an “edit-a-thon” on Liberal History at the National Liberal Club on Wednesday 24th August. All are welcome.

This edit-a-thon is a collaboration between the Club and the Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia), to get better, more in-depth coverage of liberal issues and liberal history in the online encyclopaedia, updating and expanding articles.

Wikipedia is the seventh-most-visited website and the world, and is the first port-of-call for many basic background facts, so the National Liberal Club thought it would be helpful to offer its backing to improve coverage of liberal issues. The NLC will be making its library — full of rare material around liberal history — available for the event.

The NLC is particularly proud to be doing this, as it has long been the spiritual home of Liberals and Liberal Democrats. Founded by Gladstone in 1882, the club provides a sumptuous “home from home” for those interested in liberal politics and the liberal arts: you can read more about it here, on the club’s own Wikipedia page.

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How to enter the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League 2016/17

LDV FANTASY FOOTBALLThe English Premier League kicks off a fortnight tomorrow, on Saturday 13th August, and LibDemVoice has revived its Fantasy Football League to mark the occasion.

So if you fancy pitting your soccer selection skills against fellow party members then here’s your chance.

To enter all you have to do is click on this link. Simply register your details, pick your team, and away you go. If you need the joining code at any point, it’s 527124-155741.

And for those who don’t feel they have the insider knowledge to compete, you can always …

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