Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

Sleaford & North Hykeham: Steeped in Lib Dem history and an important part of the Lib Dem revival

Every time I hear more about what’s going on in the Liberal Democrat campaign in Sleaford and North Hykeham, it just makes me smile.

My 11 years in the East Midlands has left me with a huge affection for the area and I’m just thrilled that an initially small band of Lib Dems with a mission are delivering an energetic and positive campaign in a part of the world that has been relatively unblessed with regular Focus delivery. Until now.

Candidate Ross Pepper and ace campaigner and regular LDV contributor Ed Fordham have put together a campaign that has reached all those communities the Tories have been taking for granted for years. They even have a minibus!

Ross has the advantage of being the only candidate who voted for Remain in the referendum so he alone is in tune with 40% of the electorate. But it’s not just about Remain and Leave. Many people are alarmed by what has happened since the Referendum, how the Tories are pushing us towards a hard Brexit and how Labour don’t really seem interested in doing even the most basic job of an opposition. They like what we have to say about putting the power in their hands by giving them a vote on the final deal.

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2 very good reasons to complain to the BBC

BBC - Some rights reserved by Tim LoudonIt’s been a pretty sensational week for the Liberal Democrats. You know, the party that was devastated in last year’s general election and written off for good. Sarah Olney’s win in the Richmond Park by-election showed that there is plenty life in us yet.

Now, there seems to be some weird, perverse rule at the BBC which means that the more newsworthy and relevant the Liberal Democrats are at any moment in time, the less likely they are to be invited on the main political programmes.

On the day we won the Richmond Park by-election, you would have expected us to be represented on Any Questions, wouldn’t you?

Similarly, the sensational result should have merited an interview on Andrew Marr at least. But, no, the by-election was a footnote of the newspaper review.

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Richmond Park: what happens next for Sarah Olney and her team?

10 years ago, I was part of the team in the last by-electon we gained, when Willie Rennie spectacularly won Dunfermline and West Fife in then Chancellor Gordon Brown’s backyard. At that time it was a political earthquake. It was also a huge victory at a time of crisis for our party. Only weeks before, Charles Kennedy had resigned as leader. During the by-election campaign there seemed to be a tabloid scandal about our leadership candidates around every half hour. We still came through and elected Willie as our 63rd MP.

A decade on, we only have a 7th of that number and the Richmond Park by-election win comes at a time when our party has stared down extinction. It confirms what we have come to realise over the past few months – that the old adage that where we have a presence, and are willing to put the effort in, we can have some spectacular results. That should also impress anyone who might be thinking about backing us financially. That backing in turn gives us the capacity to expand our operations, creating a virtuous cycle. We have to make sure that we seize this moment.

Sarah Olney enters the Commons as part of a band of 9 and as the only woman. The 8 men will need to make extra effort to make sure that they welcome her and listen to her.  One of the things we found really useful was the advice and support from colleagues and I’m sure that they will have lots of helpful advice for her and her team.  Susan Kramer as the previous MP for the constituency will no doubt be a marvellous help too.

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Richmond Park is an important milestone – but it’s only the start

Well, we’re winning parliamentary by-elections again. Who’d have thought it possible on that awful night almost 19 months ago?

Liberal Democrats everywhere are grinning this morning. We’ve seen the brilliant local government results over the past few months. We saw the amazing Liz Leffman surge forward in the Tory heartland of Witney in October. Now, we have actually won another MP.

We shouldn’t under-estimate how massive a task winning Richmond Park was. It’s only been 37 days since Zac resigned. We had just over 5 weeks to change the agenda from Heathrow to Brexit and win the argument. A combination of clever literature, a fantastic candidate and an army of activists prepared to drop everything did it. Way back in the 90s when we were winning by-elections all the time, we had at least 3 times as long to make our case.

We also shouldn’t under-estimate how important it was that we won this. It was a seat we used to hold with a whacking great Remain vote. If we hadn’t, even if we had had a Witney type surge, people would have doubted our ability to change the political weather.

Sarah Olney’s victory has shown that we have still got what it takes to win the big moments. That is incredibly important for the outside world to see. Theresa May will be hoping that her MPs in similar seats to Richmond, where there is Liberal Democrat history, don’t cause any further by-elections.

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Lib Dems win Richmond Park: Reaction led by Tim Farron and Sal Brinton

Here’s some of the reaction to Sarah Olney’s incredible victory in Richmond Park.

Tim Farron said that the Liberal Democrats are the standard bearers for those who oppose the dangerous path towards Brexit being pursued by the Government.

The message is clear: The Liberal Democrats are back and we are carrying the torch for all of those who want a real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government.

We are the only party fighting to keep Britain open, tolerant and united, and the only party that has said, loudly and proudly, that we want Britain to remain a member of the Single Market and that we want the people to be given the final say over the Brexit deal. That message has been resoundingly backed by the people of Richmond Park.

This was a remarkable, come-from-nowhere upset that will terrify the Conservatives. A year and a half ago, their man won by nearly 40% and had a majority of more than 20,000. In one fell swoop we have wiped that out completely.

If this was a General Election, this swing would mean the Conservatives would lose dozens of seats to the Liberal Democrats – and their majority with it. No one believes the Labour Party will win any seats off the Tories – and the SNP could only possibly take one off them. But there are dozens in our reach. So, as this by-election has demonstrated, the only way to prevent a Conservative majority at the next election is to vote Liberal Democrat.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 28 Comments

++++++++Breaking: Richmond Park Result: We’ve done it! Well done Sarah Olney, our Newbie MP

We have done it! We had just 37 days to persuade the voters of Richmond Park. To overturn a 23,000 majority in such a short time is incredible.

Initially, the two numbers that matter.

Zac Goldsmith 18,638

Sarah Olney 20,510

Monster Raving Loony Party 184

One Love Party 67

Christian People’s Alliance 164

Independent 173

Christian Woolmar (Labour) 1515

Liberal Democrat majority 1872 on a turnout of 53.6%. It’s a swing of 21.6%.

And the percentage changes via Britain Elects:

Sarah Olney is on Sky News now, saying that we didn’t know until the last minute how it was going to go. People wanted her to win, she says, because of Brexit. They were alarmed about the direction the Conservative Brexit government was going in.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 29 Comments

Richmond Park by-election: Liberal Democrats have very big smiles

“The mood music,” says the BBC’s Chris Mason, “is that the Liberal Democrats are running Zac Goldsmith very close.” He says that the Liberal Democrats have the biggest smiles.

The Guardian live blog has some piles of votes looking very close. They report that Labour and Betfair are saying we have won. Mind you, Labour are not always the best judges of such things, though, so that comes with a big health warning. We had to convince them that they had won in Glenrothes in 2008. Our box counts had the result within half a percentage point. They thought the SNP had won when it was clear to us that they hadn’t.

Let’s put some context into this.

Last year, we were absolutely stuffed in that seat, not to put too fine a point on it. We had an excellent candidate in Robin Meltzer, but this was on of the seats where the Conservatives’ scare tactics about Ed Miliband and the SNP took hold. Our support bombed from 42% to 19.3%, while Zac took 58.2%. The Labour vote unsqueezed itself. Their 12.3% was their best result since 1997.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 11 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarBilal 7th Dec - 6:46am
    What the media and the polling and betting pundits have overlooked is glaring: UKIP and the Tories are going to split the 60% Brexit vote...
  • User AvatarDavid Pearce 7th Dec - 6:45am
    Lot of very odd comments above which seem to have little to do with the article. To my recollection the libs have always been a...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 7th Dec - 5:49am
    Matt - I'm afraid some people do seem to have short, or selective, memories, don't they?
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 7th Dec - 4:57am
    Katharine, Thank you for your reply. I'm sorry if my comments seemed a bit negative. There were many things in your article that I did...
  • User Avatarethicsgradient 6th Dec - 11:48pm
    @Malc, I agree. I think the UK was always heading towards leaving the EU it was just a matter of when. Now in 10 years?...
  • User Avatarmatt 6th Dec - 11:37pm
    Stick to the values to win the war........ Tim Farron February 2008 https://timfarron.co.uk/en/article/2008/0105150/farron-denial-of-referendum-vote-is-an-outrage Tim Farron has expressed his anger the refusal of the Speaker of...