I tend not to write pieces for political websites as I don’t consider myself a great writer and often shy away from the challenge.
However, I couldn’t resist an opportunity to talk about, and thank our many volunteers, for the excellent results we had in Liverpool on Thursday night and Friday morning.
First, a bit of context. When I became Chair at the end of 2014, the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool were facing an enormous challenge. Once the largest Lib Dem groups in Europe could soon face having just one councillor left with Erica Kemp CBE. As brilliant as she is, I’m sure she wouldn’t have enjoyed the council on her own. So we put in place a strategy to identify a number of different wards where we could hold and finish a strong second – not just spread our resources too thinly across the city. We decided that a huge door-knocking effort would be to key to success alongside lots of hard hitting leaflets. The result was holding on to Richard Kemp CBE with an increased majority and a good result in our target wards going forward.
A year on, nearly 11,000 doors knocked and hundreds of thousands of leaflets delivered we have reaped the rewards of our strategy.
Richard Kemp secured 21.1% of the Mayoral vote (up from 6% previously), finishing second and cutting into the ‘gutter politics’ Labour Mayor’s vote, and finishing well above the Greens.
In the City Council elections we gained Woolton, Allerton and Hunts Cross from Labour and held on to Church Ward (the ward we held on with Richard in 2015) with a 1,400+ majority.
Cllr Malcolm Kelly, Cllr Mirna Juarez and Cllr Andrew Makinson should all be proud of their campaigns.
In the Police and Crime Commissioner election Chris Carubia finished a strong third with a big increase in our vote and held on to the £5000 deposit!
In the wards where we made gains, it’s clear that a number of things made the difference. Door-knocking was key to feeding Connect with accurate information. We identified lots of Tory voters who we could squeeze to ensure victory. Our literature was superb. Andrew Makinson should win an award for the excellent newspapers and leaflets he designed.
Treating postal vote polling week seriously was so important and for a whole week we did nothing else but knock on postal voters.
This weekend I’m sure our team will want to rest and try to return to a state of normality. However, in a couple of days I will be meeting with our executive to decide on how best we can use our resources to ensure we stay in the European Union in the upcoming referendum.
I can’t thank our candidates, members and volunteers enough for all their hard work. I know that if we keep up the same momentum we can make more gains in city council elections in 2018.
* Kris Brown is Chair of the Liverpool Liberal Democrats. Kris was also agent for Richard Kemp (Mayoral candidate), Chris Carubia (PCC candidate) and the majority of city council candidates