Just released by Lib Dem HQ:
I can confirm that Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael will tomorrow, Thursday 7 February, move the writ to trigger the Eastleigh by-election.
The by-election will be held on Thursday February 28.
Liberal Democrat Party President Tim Farron said:
Liberal Democrats have proud 20-year record of action in Eastleigh, fighting for people in both local government and in Westminster.
The people of Eastleigh should have the opportunity to elect someone to serve the constituency as soon as possible.
This is going to be a tough fight, and clearly a fight that’s between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives. I know that we will be up to the task – and I am confident and determined that we will win.
On Saturday Eastleigh Liberal Democrats will select their parliamentary candidate. A shortlist of candidates, who have successfully completed the approval process, will attend a hustings in the constituency.
This is a private meeting, and every member of the local party in attendance will be given a vote. The winner will be decided by an STV ballot.
The Liberal Democrat council record in Eastleigh is stunning – every one of the 36 councillors in the Parliamentary constituency is a Liberal Democrat (the four Tories on Eastleigh Borough Council are all in the Winchester constituency).
In 2012 we took 47.2% of the vote in the local elections in the Eastleigh constituency (Tories 22%, Labour 16.8%, Ukip 11.7%). In 2011 we took 46.9% (Tories 25.8%, Labour 16.2%, Ukip 8%).
These are our best performances in both years’ local elections in the UK.
• Tax: By April, 60,000 people in Eastleigh will be paying £600 less income tax than they were under Labour
• Apprenticeships: Liberal Democrats have increased apprenticeships by 65% in Eastleigh since Labour
• Schools: The Liberal Democrats have put an extra £1.7m into Eastleigh’s local schools through our Pupil Premium
The leader of Eastleigh Council, Keith House, emailed all Liberal Democrat members today, (Wednesday) to announce that campaigning had already begun. He said:
Yesterday we started our by-election campaign.
As the Lib Dem Leader of Eastleigh Council, I’m really looking forward to seeing you here. It’s a great place to campaign. I’d like to invite you down this weekend!
Our campaign is well underway. We had to hit the ground running, just as we always do in Eastleigh. It’s why we hold every council seat in the constituency. Tim Farron was with us yesterday. All our leading MPs and campaigners are being booked in. Our by-election HQ opens tomorrow. Saturday marks the start of our first action weekend.
The Conservatives started their campaign weeks ago. It will be a bruising battle.
That’s why we need your help now.
Whatever help you can give will help us win and will be massively appreciated.
It’s been nine years since the Tories have won even a council seat in the Constituency. Labour lost their last seat in 2011.
Please help us keep up that record by committing to help today.
Cllr Keith House
Leader of Eastleigh Council