Tag Archives: oldham east and saddleworth

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

Opinion:We’re in government – get used to it

Consulting my calendar recently, I was astonished to see that I visited the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election for the first time on 17th and 18th November. A long time ago. I don’t mention this to boast (oh, all right I do!) but to highlight that the Liberal Democrat campaign started in earnest very early. I remember wistfully that “GUILTY” tabloid – that word in red dominating the front page in size 94 font (I think). A classic of understatement.

My return for a couple of days at the beginning of last week confirmed that our campaign was as good as …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , and | 59 Comments

After Oldham: what does the result mean for the party’s targeting strategy?

After all the anticipation and build-up, yesterday’s Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election was a bit of a damp squib.

Labour retained the seat with a decent and improved majority, as would be expected of the only major opposition party. The Lib Dems held our own, Elwyn Watkins nudging up the share of the vote he received in May 2010, but not surprisingly proving unable to break the 30-year run of governing parties not gaining at by-elections. And the Conservative vote collapsed after a half-hearted campaign, provoking a few squeals from activists and a shrug of indifference from their party leader.

Looking …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged | 86 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

Eric Illsley MP pleads guilty to expenses fraud charges

From the BBC:

Former Labour MP Eric Illsley has admitted he fraudulently claimed more than £14,000 in parliamentary expenses.

He pleaded guilty to three false accounting charges over claims for council tax, maintenance, repairs and utility bills for his second home.

Illsley, appearing at Southwark Crown Court, previously denied all charges.

He was re-elected as Labour MP for Barnsley Central in May, but had the party whip withdrawn after being charged and now sits as an independent.

The hearing has been adjourned for four weeks, for a pre-sentence report. If Illsley receives a prison sentence of less than a year he may remain an MP, but if he is sentenced for longer, he will be disqualified from being an MP under the Representation of the People Act 1981.

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Those Oldham East and Saddleworth polls: what do they mean?

We reported last night the results of the three opinion polls published ahead of the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election this Thursday. Let’s take a look now at the only two questions that matter when reading these polls…

1. Will the opinion polls prove accurate?

Opinion polls in by-elections have a notoriously patchy record — unsurprisingly, as the pollsters are unable to refine their techniques over time and measure their snapshots against actual results as they are able to with their general election predictions. For example, pre-by-election polls in Glasgow East (2008) and Blaenau Gwent (2006) showed the wrong winners.

They …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections and Polls | Also tagged | 94 Comments

Opinion: One good reason to vote Lib Dem

With the looming by-election in Oldham East & Saddleworth and each candidate eager to win, with each of their respective parties hoping to be able to boast about the win for years to come, I’d imagine the people of OE&S are probably scratching their heads. A Labour party that endorsed the Phil Woolas who combined pretty much everything we hate about politicians in his lies intended to stir racial tensions? A Liberal Democrat party that, let’s be honest, is not the most glamorous of groups at the moment, still reeling from scandals and broken pledges? A Conservative party barely even …

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By-election polls: Labour 17% ahead – or 1%

Two polls out tonight (so far – there may be a third) on the Oldham by-election:

ICM for Mail on Sunday: Labour 44%, Lib Dem 27%, Conservative 18%
Populus for Lord Ashcroft / Sunday Telegraph: Labour 46%, Lib Dem 29%, Conservative 15%

UPDATE: New pollster Survation (who are applying for membership of the trade body, the British Polling Council) makes it much closer with Labour 31%, Lib Dem 30% and Conservative 6% (don’t knows not excluded, hence the lower figures all round).

Posted in News, Parliamentary by-elections and Polls | Also tagged | 72 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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The Liberal Democrat challenges for 2011: winning elections

Over the festive season we’re running a series of posts on the main Liberal Democrat challenges for 2011. You can find all the posts as they appear here.

Yesterday I took a look at the economy, an issue on which Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will sink or swim together. Where the parties will be directly fighting each other will be in the ballot box, both in the big round of scheduled elections in May, in by-elections all through the year and in the AV referendum, where most Conservatives will be lined up on the ‘no’ side.

The combination of huge …

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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

On the doorstep in Oldham East & Saddleworth

Dear fellow Lib Dems,

It’s two weekends before Christmas and I’m writing this from the Campaign HQ in Oldham East and Saddleworth.

There’s a really good atmosphere here – the place is buzzing with people, and I’ve just unveiled the official campaign Christmas tree!

I’ve just come back from canvassing with Tom Brake MP and a team of people who’ve travelled up from London for the day to volunteer to help. We’ve had a (very nice and very quick!) Christmas lunch and then …

Posted in Parliamentary by-elections | 6 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 …

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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

Tim Farron asks Labour where they stand on Phil Woolas

From a party news release:

Liberal Democrat Party President-Elect Tim Farron has written to the General Secretary of the Labour Party, Ray Collins, asking him to clarify the Labour Party’s position on Phil Woolas following criticism of Harriet Harman’s decision to suspend him by a number of backbench MPs.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear General Secretary,

Firstly may I offer you my heartfelt congratulations on the news of your elevation to the House of Lords.

However, I am writing to you to raise the matter of the judgement of the Election Court in Oldham East and Saddleworth on November 5th and

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LDVideo: “Come to Oldham” edition

A twin travelogue treat to tempt Lib Dems to go and help in the Oldham East and Saddleworth election rerun:

If you choose your delivery round carefully, you can see some pretty scenery in the constituency – Chris Davies MEP gives us a glimpse of the countryside while urging us to turn up soon:

Video also available on Youtube here.

Next, Lib Dem President-elect Tim Farron takes us behind the scenes at Campaign HQ – those leaflets won’t deliver themselves…

Posted in Lib Dem TV and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 9 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

Ed Miliband’s home affairs appointments: can we really take him seriously on civil liberties?

One of the more cheering bits of Ed Miliband’s speech to the Labour party conference was his pledge that the party under his leadership would once again take seriously the issue of civil liberties, of individual rights

My generation recognises too that government can itself become a vested interest when it comes to civil liberties. I believe in a society where individual freedom and liberty matter and should never be given away lightly. … we must always remember that British liberties were hard fought and hard won over hundreds of years. We should always take the greatest care in protecting them.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 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 …

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged , , , , and | 7 Comments

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



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