Tag Archives: elwyn watkins

Dominic Carman writes: Barnsley Central – a call to action

Six weeks ago, my son Charlie and I travelled up from London with Simon Hughes – to leaflet on behalf of Elwyn Watkins in the Oldham by-election. The campaign was fantastic: dozens of Lib Dems in a well-equipped campaign office and many more leafleting and campaigning on the streets. It produced an excellent result in difficult circumstances: Elwyn even increased his share of the vote to 31.9%.

On Saturday, I was selected as the PPC for the forthcoming Barnsley Central by-election, to be held on March 3rd. At the 2010 general election, the Lib Dems came second to Labour in …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

Tim Farron writes… Oldham proves rumours of the Lib Dems’ death have been greatly exaggerated

Last night, at 3am, I got to do the job of telling everyone how well we did in Oldham despite the fact that we lost… I’m aware that there are few things more clichéd than a politician who loses an election and makes this statement, but in our case it’s actually true. This result provides a good stepping stone towards the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and English council elections.

In Elwyn Watkins we had first class candidate and I am hugely impressed by the way he has handled this by-election and everything that lead up to it. By taking on Phil Woolas and challenging his dirty campaign, Elwyn made a significant leap in the fight towards cleaning up politics for good and for that we should all be grateful.

The election in Oldham East & Saddleworth has been the perfect opportunity for us as a party to come together after what has been, let’s be honest, a very difficult few months. Vast numbers of volunteers descended on Oldham to lend a hand from across the country and many more who could not make it to Oldham, got involved in other ways from telephone canvassing to addressing envelopes!

It was great to see Nick out rallying the troops and walking up and down the icy lanes to speak to voters and deliver leaflets, as well as many of our fantastic team of ministers joining the ranks, such as Scottish Secretary Michael Moore – who got stuck in to the polling day knock-up yesterday getting our voters out to the polling stations! Never before has a by-election been more cathartic and unifying for our party.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 72 Comments

“By-election was a hard-fought contest” – Clegg

From a party news release:

Commenting on the by-election result in Oldham East and Saddleworth, Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg, said:

This was a very hard-fought contest but we were not able to gain this Labour seat on this occasion. I’d like to pay tribute to our superb candidate, Elwyn Watkins, and his team up in Oldham who have run an exceptional campaign.

I am proud of each and every one of the hundreds of activists and volunteers who have brought the fight to Labour’s front door in a way that will have confounded our critics.

It was always going

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , and | 61 Comments

Oldham East and Saddleworth results thread

Comment away… and whilst we await the result there is new of a likely third Parliamentary by-election in 2011 in addition to the one expected in Barnsley Central. This one is Leicester South.

2am update -

The result of the Oldham East and Saddleworth Parliamentary by-election:

Labour 14,718
LD Elwyn Watkins 11,160
Conservatives 4,481
UKIP 2,029
BNP 1,560
Green 530
Monster Raving Loony 145
English Democrats 144
Bus Pass Elvis 67
Pirate 96

48.06% turnout

Labour HOLD.

Debbie Abrahams is the new MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 79 Comments

The Times’ advice to voters in Oldham: “They should vote Lib Dem.”

Well, here’s a bit of a turn-up… While the Lib Dems’ erstwhile friends, the Guardian and Independent, take delight in stilettoing the party, The Times has come out in support of the Lib Dems’ Elwyn Watkins in next week’s Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

No link, I’m afraid — blame the paper’s paywall — but here’s an excerpt the final line of which I imagine will find its way onto a few Lib Dem leaflets over the next seven days:

A Labour victory in Oldham might lead the party, quite wrongly, to think itself on the right course when, in fact,

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 43 Comments

For the Lib Dems, Paddy Power means something entirely different

There were only 103 votes in it back in May, a statistic the voters of Oldham East and Saddleworth may have noticed one or twice on Elwyn Watkins‘ Lib Dem by-election campaign literature.

But, according to bookmakers Paddy Power, the race is over. As The Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow acerbically notes on his essential daily live-blog, “I’m normally reluctant to quote bookies, because their press releases are cheap bids for free publicity which normally don’t tell us anything very new” — before breaking his own rule to quote a press release from Paddy Power (also received by the Voice):

“Victory

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Greg Mulholland writes… Just back from canvassing with Elwyn Watkins

I am just back from canvassing with Elwyn Watkins in Oldham East and Saddleworth. I’m writing this now from the by-election HQ in Greenfield in Saddleworth.

I came up to help today because I felt it was so important that after a tough week for us as a party, we work together to fight for what we stand for as a party.

Here in Oldham the fight is against a Labour Party that have been caught out lying about their opponent and stirring up racial tensions in order to get elected.

I don’t think there’s a Liberal Democrat who feels that’s right. It was quite clear to me on …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Lib Dems to move writ for Oldham East and Saddleworth by election tomorrow

From Andrew Sparrow’s PoliticsLive blog:

The Lib Dems are going to move the writ for the Oldham East and Saddleworth byelection tomorrow, a party spokesman has just told me. They want the contest to be held on Thursday 13 January. Normally the party that used to hold the seat moves the writ, but this is a convention, not a rule, and the Lib Dems say the constituency has waited long enough for an MP. If Labour opposes the move, there will be a debate and a vote.

I’m sure there is a precedent for holding a byelection campaign over Christmas, but

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 41 Comments

Now is the time to help in Oldham East and Saddleworth

As you may have heard on the news, High Court judges have dismissed the appeal by former Labour MP, Phil Woolas, against his conviction for illegal practices in the General Election.

There will now be a by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth with a likely polling day of January 13th.

Last May, Elwyn Watkins lost by just 103 votes because of the lies told by Phil Woolas that have been condemned by the Court.  A couple of days ago I canvassed one couple who told me: “We we’re going to vote Liberal Democrat, but when we read what Labour were saying about your …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

BREAKING: Phil Woolas loses bid to overturn election court ban

The BBC reports:

Phil Woolas has lost his bid to overturn an election court’s ruling that stripped him of his Commons seat and barred him from politics.

He narrowly won his Oldham East and Saddleworth seat in May but the result was declared void by an election court over his conduct in the campaign.

He argued that the election court’s interpretation of the law was flawed.

But three High Court judges upheld the election court’s decision. If he does not appeal there will be a by-election.

Lord Justice Thomas, Mr Justice Tugendhat and Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said that, although Mr Woolas was entitled

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January by-election in Oldham East & Saddleworth (but we can win before Christmas)

Item: The by-election team in Oldham East & Saddleworth have confirmed that Phil Woolas’s judicial review judgement won’t be given this week.

Item: According to Oldham Council, the last date in 2010 they can run a by-election is December 16th.

Item: Students of election law will already have calculated that the writ for a by-election on December 16th would have to be moved this week.

The result? We’re looking at the election being held very early in January.

I’ve written before about how by-elections campaigns have become shorter in recent years. Oldham East & Saddleworth will be a longer campaign – similar to …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Help early in Oldham East and Saddleworth, regardless of when it’s called

Unexpected by-election HQ poster!
There’s been a lot of speculation about the possible date of the Oldham East and Saddleworth election rerun. Three High Court judges are considering Phil Woolas’ request for a judicial review of the ruling that voided the election result in the constituency.

Today there have been reports that there may not be a court judgement this week, which would delay an election until after Christmas.

Lib Dem Voice understands that the situation isn’t quite so clear cut and there is still the …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

LDVideo: Andrew Stunell’s latest visit to Oldham East and Saddleworth

Government minister and Hazel Grove MP Andrew Stunell has already been to Oldham East and Saddleworth three weeks in a row to support Elwyn Watkins’ campaign and on his latest visit has recorded this message:

Posted in Lib Dem TV and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Oldham East & Saddleworth: It’s already on

We currently expect a parliamentary by-election for the Oldham East & Saddleworth constituency to take place well before Christmas. This will be one of the shorter by-election campaigns we have seen but it is important that people in Oldham are not left unrepresented after what has happened there.

Within 24 hours of Phil Woolas being found guilty of breaking election law last Friday, we had a new campaign HQ up and running. There is an experienced campaign team already in place: veterans of many victories, including the last by-election in this area, Littleborough and Saddleworth in 1995.

My experience of by-elections (and …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Allowing Woolas’ behaviour is not “vital to our democracy”

Phil Woolas has vowed to fight on to keep his parliamentary seat of Oldham East and Saddleworth, following the ruling on Friday that voids his General Election victory and bans him from standing as an MP for three years.

He no right of appeal against the judges’ decision, but wants to take it to judicial review, though on what grounds isn’t clear.

Mr Woolas would like us to think that the judgement is not only wrong but fundamentally damaging to political discourse – that it will allow politicians to get away with all sorts whilst their opponents cower, unwilling to risk …

Posted in Election law and Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments

Phil Woolas loses court case over his election

The Guardian (and many others) reports:

Labour’s shadow immigration minister, Phil Woolas, was ejected from parliament today after a court ruled he had breached election laws by falsely claiming his Liberal Democrat opponent had “wooed” extremist Muslims in the run-up to the 6 May poll.

For the first time in 99 years a specially convened election court has overturned the result of a parliamentary poll and ordered a rerun after two high court judges ruled the result of the Oldham East poll void. They upheld the claim by Elwyn Watkins that Woolas knowingly made false statements.

UPDATE 14:20 – Elwyn Watkins has …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged | 133 Comments

Woolas trial: court delays verdict

Lib Dem Voice can reveal that the rare Election Petition Court which was held in Uppermill for the constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth earlier in September will be delayed in giving its verdict.

Mr Justice Nigel Teale, one of the two High Court judges hearing the case, originally indicated that they would give their verdict sometime in mid-October.

Helen Mountfield QC asked whether there was a likelihood of a verdict at the end of the week of giving evidence, but Mr Justice Teale made plain in the politest and firmest way that neither he nor Mr Justice Griffith Williams, the other …

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Woolas trial report: day four

This report is from the Lib Dem Voice court reporter. You may also like to read Nick Thornsby’s account of the trial

Helen Mountfield QC today led the special election petition court through the substance of the arguments, case law and disputed facts of the case. Representation of the People Act 1983 section 106 was a specific time limited right of prosecution in relations to the conduct of a particular election. Both Helen Mountfield and Gavin Millar used many of the same pieces of case law and legislation. Amongst these was the Human Rights Act which …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Woolas trial report: day three

This report is from the Lib Dem Voice court reporter. You may also like to read Nick Thornsby’s blog for more trial news

Mr Woolas took the witness box for a third day in a row to answer questions in rebuttal from his own counsel. He insisted that photograph of a demonstrators often referred to in Labour emails as the mad Muslims had nothing to the article beneath which referred to Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins pandering to extremists in the Labour leaflet called the Examiner.

Next to be called to the stand was Miss Rebbecca McGladdery, who was a …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

Woolas trial report: day one

This report is from the Lib Dem Voice court reporter. You may also like to read Nick Thornsby’s account of the first day of the trial

Helen Mountfield is the lead counsel for Elwyn Watkins with James Laddie QC her able second from Matrix chambers.

Elwyn was in the witness box first. Mountfield’s opening statement was devastating in that it refered to email from Woolas’ campaign team which wrote “we have to make the white folk angry” or as they put it ‘angrey’.

It would seem that all trials now have to refer to the European Human Rights …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Phil Woolas election case: follow the online coverage

Monday sees the start of a court case against Labour MP Phil Woolas alleging false statements were made about his Liberal Democrat opponent, Elwyn Watkins, during the general election earlier this year.

The case will involve a court judging on how far it is acceptable to go in very robust election literature and involves the rarely used provision in Section 106 of the 1983 Representation of the People Act which covers false statements about candidates:

(1) A person who, or any director of any body or association corporate which—
(a) before or during an election,
(b) for the purpose of affecting the return of

Posted in Election law | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

Has Phil Woolas declared himself unfit to be an MP?

These photographs have clearly been altered. This is wrong. This man is clearly unfit to be a member of parliament. When you send out an election address it has to be right – his is not.

So said Phil Woolas in 2005 when he accused the Lib Dem Tony Dawson of doctoring an election photo, an accusation Dawson strongly denied.

Odd, then, that Mr Woolas should have put out a newspaper in the 2010 general election campaign which appears to use a clearly photoshopped picture to imply that his Lib Dem opponent Elwyn Watkins was having his collar …

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Phil Woolas’ future as an MP to be decided “before Parliament reassembles”

A High Court judge has ruled that an election court should sit in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency on 13 September, to decide whether Phil Woolas can continue as an MP.

As we reported last month, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Elwyn Watkins is challenging the result of the election in Oldham, alleging a breach of the Representation of the People Act (1983). Mr Watkins claims that literature distributed by the Labour party “contained numerous misleading and erroneous claims” regarding his personal character and reputation, and that of his campaign.

Today the BBC reports:

Two High Court Judges will travel

Posted in Election law | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Election court agrees to examine Oldham East slur leaflet

As we reported last month the Liberal Democrat candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth was petitioning for a hearing of an election court, alleging a breach of the Representation of the People Act (1983).

The BBC now reports:

A court is to examine claims that a Labour Party election leaflet from former minister Phil Woolas linked an opponent to Muslim “extremists”.

An election court has agreed to hear the case brought by Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins.

He claims Labour falsely portrayed him as taking “illegal” foreign donations.

The court could order a fresh election in the Oldham East and Saddleworth

Posted in Election law | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Trevor Phillips describes Phil Woolas leaflets as ‘not helpful’

Last week, Lib Dem Voice commented on Lib Dem candidate Elwyn Watkins’ election petition against Oldham East and Saddleworth’s Labour MP, Phil Woolas. Watkins, who lost to Woolas by just 103 votes, believes that false claims were made in the leaflets, including allegations that he was trying to woo Muslim extremists, and claims about the financing of his campaign by a wealthy Saudi businessman.

Now the Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has entered the row about the literature published on behalf of Woolas during the general election campaign. Former Labour politician Trevor Phillips described some of the language used in the party’s leaflets here as ‘not helpful’.

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Oldham election result heading to court

As we reported last month, the election result in Oldham East and Saddleworth – where Labour’s Phil Woolas hung on by just 103 votes – has triggered complaints from the Liberal Democrat candidate, Elwyn Watkins, that Labour’s campaign broke the law.

The case is now heading to the courts. As the BBC reports,

In the last few days of the campaign, Labour put out a small newspaper which was predominantly an attack on their Liberal Democrat opponent, Elwyn Watkins.

Mr Watkins believes the leaflet falsely portrayed him as a politician courting votes from militant Muslims; not a group known to be particularly

Posted in Election law | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Liberal Democrat Elwyn Watkins issues a legal challenge over Oldham election result

The Liberal Democrat candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth in the 2010 General Election has challenged the result.

Elwyn Watkins has submitted a petition for a hearing of an election court, alleging a breach of the Representation of the People Act (1983).

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments



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