++Eastleigh by-election on February 28

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.

Candidate selection
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.

Eastleigh
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 campaign
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.
Thank you,

Keith
Cllr Keith House
Leader of Eastleigh Council

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20 Comments

  • I wish you all the very best – for the past 2 years many Lib Dems have resembled rabbits staring into the headlights – this must be a chance to shine. Losing is not an option but the massive confidence boost a win would give the party is immeasurable. I hope that the whole party can unite behind the candidate – visiting or phoning. This has to be a must – dont leave this one to others – please!

  • Simon Beard 6th Feb '13 - 6:15pm

    Shouldn’t Tim have said ‘…and clearly a fight that’s between Liberal Democrats and UKIP.’?

  • Andrew Martin 6th Feb '13 - 6:26pm

    This is a good sign. If we were struggling to choose the right candidate, prepare the constituency etc. we would be putting off this by-election.

  • Julian Critchley 6th Feb '13 - 6:53pm

    I bet £50 that the LibDems will lose Eastleigh. Anyone want to have a bet they’ll retain it ? Loser donates cheque to charity of winner’s choice ?

  • I will take that bet – but only if you are prepared to take the bet off everybody on this who wants it? You obviously seem very confident – but who do u think will beat them? Lab or UKIP?

  • That seems awfully quick for a by-election. Were the other by-elections announced and held so quickly?

    I wonder how dirty the campaign tactics are going to be between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats,
    It will be difficult for them to argue on different economic policies considering they have already set out spending plans which takes them into the next election.
    Will there be any smear tactics used against each coalition partners and what will that do to the stability of the coalition.

    I can not see labour winning this seat, though I think they will increase their share of the vote, as they have done over the last 2 years in local elections, the same will be true for UKIP.
    I think the end result will be a Tory gain, unfortunately. Though I suppose the constituency could decide to give the coalition government a smack on the arse voting UKIP or Labour into the seat to send a signal to government that they are displeased with coalition politics and the appalling record of Liberal Democrat Ministers and the scandals they have been caught up in whilst in government.

    It’s going to be an Interesting February that’s for sure, blowing away those winter blues.

    One thing you can be sure of though. The Tories will be leaning on their friends in the media to fill their papers with as many scandalous and damaging headlines about Chris Huhne whilst the trial of his wife Vicky continues.

  • Leekliberal 6th Feb '13 - 7:39pm

    @Julian Critchley ‘ I bet £50 that the LibDems will lose Eastleigh. Anyone want to have a bet they’ll retain it ? Loser donates cheque to charity of winner’s choice ?’ Put me on the list of those who wish to punish the stupid!

  • If Chris Huhne receives a prison sentence will be be allowed to take his trouser press with him?

  • The Conservatives started their campaign weeks ago. It will be a bruising battle.

    Those damn psychic Tories….

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Feb '13 - 11:51pm

    matt

    I wonder how dirty the campaign tactics are going to be between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats,
    It will be difficult for them to argue on different economic policies considering they have already set out spending plans which takes them into the next election

    It is a mark of the Liberal Democrat leadership’s failure to make coalition work that people say this.

    It ought to be obvious that an agreement reached between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is not necessarily going to be the ideal of either. If it’s reached between 303 Conservatives and 52 Liberal Democrats, then rather obviously it’s going to be skewed towards the Conservative view.

    That is how democratic politics work – we have to come to agreements because we don’t fight until one side physically destroys the other, neither do we have complete deadlock because no-one will concede anything to anyone else. Agreements may not be our ideal. I accept the legitimacy of the elected government on that basis, it is doing a lot of things I dislike, but I accept the need for a government, and therefore I have to compromise and accept the one elected, rather than mount a military coup or at least suppose I am not bound to obey laws it passes because any form of acceptance of the government counts as personal agreement with its policies.

    So, the fact that an agreement has been reached between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in government should not mean either side is bound to say that’s its ideal, what it would be doing if it alone were running the government.The Liberal Democrats should feel free to say that if they were stronger in government than one sixth of it, they would be pushing things in quite a different direction than where they have had to agree due to being just one sixth of the whole.

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Feb '13 - 10:18am

    Matthew Huntbach

    If it’s reached between 303 Conservatives and 52 Liberal Democrats

    should, of course, have been 56.

  • @Peter Tyzack

    Details of the HQ are here: http://www.eastleighlibdems.org.uk/hq

    I’m sure they’ll be able to find you accommodation if you give them a call.

  • paul barker 7th Feb '13 - 2:10pm

    Can I just point out that while the result of this by-election will have huge effects on party morale, the media narrative & so on, the effect on the next General Election will be zero.
    It looks like we probably win & if anyone wants to bet there are proper markets open, Cons evens & Libdems 5/4 the last time I looked.

  • @paul barker

    How are you coming to you conclusions? are you basing them just on the bookies betting odds, or ironically are you basing you opinions on the polls?

  • “Can I just point out that while the result of this by-election will have huge effects on party morale, the media narrative & so on, the effect on the next General Election will be zero.”

    IN May 2000 we won the Romsey by-election – before then the media narrative had been about how we were certain to lose seats from our “high water mark” of 1997. After we wom the press completely changed their attitude.

    Winning in Eastleigh will turn the “Lib Dems bound to lose big in 2015″ narrative around. Though of course losing will do the reverse!

  • Peter Chegwyn 7th Feb '13 - 5:57pm

    Hywel is right. Sensational Lib Dem by-election wins over the past 40 years can transform our fortunes over the whole remainder of the Parliament and into the next General Election.

    Eastleigh can also give a major boost to all the County Council candidates fighting to win seats in May.

    An emphatic Lib Dem win will also massively increase the pressure on Cameron from within his own party.

    I feared this would be the first Parliament in half a century (Feb-Oct 74 excepted) when the Liberal Party in its various forms had failed to win a single by-election. Not any more!

    Eastleigh could in many ways be the saviour of our Party. Sad as the circumstances causing the by-election are, now it’s here we all need to pile in and ensure we win with the biggest possible majority.

  • Julian Critchley 7th Feb '13 - 6:55pm

    @david

    I’m willing to risk £50 for charity on a shock result. That’s my limit, though, so only one bet from me. However, if others want to back their colours with their cash, then I’m sure my nominated charity wouldn’t object to receiving multiple £50s. Still want the bet ?

    For the record, the charity which will benefit from a LibDem defeat at Eastleigh would be ActionAid http://www.actionaid.org.uk/

    Name yours and we have a bet. But I’m only paying out once, no matter how many optimistic buggers might offer to take my cash.

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