Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “We can be in government and win if we work together”

No prizes for guessing what dominates Nick’s weekly letter: the Eastleigh by-election, which he learned the Lib Dems had held with a majority of almost 1,800 when director of campaigns Hilary Stephenson texted him. ‘We didn’t win in Eastleigh “in spite” of our record. We won because of our record,’ says Nick. Significantly, though, there is also a paragraph dedicated to the party’s response to the allegations against Chris Rennard: ‘It’s clear mistakes were made in the handling of allegations and that is something we have to put right.’ Here’s his letter in full…

libdem letter from nick clegg

What a victory! After three weeks of seriously intense campaigning, we’ve done it. Mike Thornton is the new MP for Eastleigh.

Waiting for news from the count was nerve-wracking. We knew we’d had a stellar polling day operation and got our voters out: but was it going to be enough?

And then Hilary Stephenson, our campaigns director, texted me to say: the result is in. we’ve done it. And we did – a majority of nearly 1,800 votes.

There were hundreds of Lib Dems who made it to Eastleigh during this campaign. And the number of young people I saw out there confirmed for me, so clearly, that our party isn’t just alive but it’s thriving.

The most exhilarating thing for me about this victory is that no-one can dismiss it as a protest vote like they used to in the past.

Our critics have been telling us for two and a half years that joining a coalition would prevent us from winning elections again. We wouldn’t be able to fight on our own values and record again, they said. Well, this week we proved them wrong. We can be in power – locally and nationally – and still win elections.

The decision of the Eastleigh voters to stick with us is a vindication of the decisions we’ve taken, and the steps we make every day, whether in local or in national government, to deliver a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling every person in Britain to get on in life.

Keith House, the leader of Eastleigh council, and his team have done an amazing job over the last ten years, building support from local people by listening and delivering. Protecting green spaces. Cutting council tax. Investing to create jobs. Ask anyone who was out on the doorsteps in Eastleigh and they’ll tell you: it’s a winning message.

And now, on top of those local achievements we have a great story to tell about what we’re delivering in government in Westminster. Lower income tax for hard working families. A million new apprentices. A million new jobs.

We didn’t win in Eastleigh “in spite” of our record. We won because of our record.

I’m going to be so proud to welcome Mike to Westminster to help us continue that work, fighting for fair taxes, a balanced economy and opportunity for our young people.

Of course, this week wasn’t only about good news. The allegations of sexual harassment that have come to light in the last week or so are extremely serious. For me, the most important thing now is to ensure those women who have come forward are heard, with respect and dignity. That’s why I have established two investigations to follow up these allegations – and also to how we as a party deal with complaints and concerns. It’s clear mistakes were made in the handling
of allegations and that is something we have to put right.

I want to thank everyone who helped make our victory possible in Eastleigh: those of you who made it down to campaign in person, those who gave money or made phone calls. Whatever your contribution, you can be incredibly proud of the difference it made.

Our opponents threw everything they had at us over the last month. And we still emerged triumphant. That’s the kind of party we are: the harder they push us, the stronger we get.

The lesson from Eastleigh is clear: we can be in government and win if we work together. Let’s remember that in the next two months as we campaign for the local elections. They can push us as hard as they like; we will just get stronger.

Mike Thornton can win. We can win.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg

Do you know someone who would like to get Nick’s weekly email? Forward this message and they can sign up here:
http://www.libdememails.co.uk/nick

For those Lib Dem members wanting to receive Nick and the party’s emails, Mark Pack has produced a handy guide to help ensure you’re signed up: Why did I not get that email from the Liberal Democrats?

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/33495 for Twitter and emails.

4 Comments

  • “‘We didn’t win in Eastleigh “in spite” of our record. We won because of our record,’ says Nick. ”

    “What was the most important policy issue in deciding who you voted for?”
    Lib Dems – Council/Local services 26%.
    (Lord Ashcroft)

    We might have won Eastleigh on our record. We didn’t win it on yours Nick.

  • Caractus – I don’t think that’s true. There was a large contingent of Liberal Youth activists actively supporting the campaign

  • David Wilkinson 5th Mar '13 - 8:16am

    Nice to see that Nick is still fantasy land, he must have missed the massive drop in voters and the loss of 40 to 50% of our members
    His handling of the Rennard issue was painfully poor for those concerned the women, Rennard and the party.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohnTilley 23rd Apr - 6:34pm
    For people who think nuclear is a cheap or green way to generate electricity ask yourself why since 26th April 1986 the UK Government has...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 23rd Apr - 6:08pm
    "There are more jobs in sectors, like science and research that are funded by the EU (€80bn of EU funds will go into science in...
  • User AvatarTheresa-1 23rd Apr - 5:21pm
    Backing British manufacturing makes sense. Restoring a manufacturing based economy rather than placing reliance on the financial services “industry” is likely to be more sensible...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 23rd Apr - 4:58pm
    @ John Dunn, What I fail to understand is, if you are not MEPs to participate in the EU or fix it, how can you...
  • User Avatarterry 23rd Apr - 4:31pm
    All very well green but green tooooooo expensive and wont solve our energy needs and as for environment negligible UK wise and minuscule world wise
  • User Avatarmatt 23rd Apr - 4:02pm
    @RC No I do not think a survey sample of 1% of the working age population is an efficient way to measure employment. So you...