A great gain and 2 strong holds in this week’s by-elections

There were a couple of great results in this week’s local government by-elections.

In the Four Marks and Medstead ward of East Hampshire District Council, Roland Richardson held on to the seat with 62.2% of the vote! Thanks to ALDC for compiling the results.

Also in Hertfordshire, Caroline Smith-Wright held the Tring West and Rural ward on Dacorum District Council with an even greater vote share.

DACORUM DC; Tring West & Rural Ward

🔵 Con, , 21.1%, -3.0%
🔴 Lab, , 7.6%, -0.3%
🔶SMITH-WRIGHT, Caroline, LibDem, , 62.7%, +12.8%
🟢 Green, , 8.6%, -9.6%

EAST HAMPSHIRE DC; Four Marks & Medstead

🔶 RICHARDSON, Roland, LibDem, 1212, 62.2%, +11.7%
🔵 Con, 736, 37.8%, -11.7%

Avenue ward in Hull has been the site of many a good scrap between us and Labour over the years. The ward was represented by ALDC’s Abi Bell until she stood down a couple of years ago and in this year’s local elections returned 2 Labour and 1 Lib Dem Councillor.

That changed on Thursday when Rhiannon Beeson took a seat from Labour:

KINGSTON-UPON-HULL UA; Avenue

🔶 BEESON, Rhiannon, LibDem, 45.7%, +4,3%
🔵 Con, 1.7, -1.3%
🟢 Green, 7.6%, +7.6%
🔘 Ind, 5.3%, +5.3%
🔴 Lab, 39.7%,-8.7%

And thanks to Susan Jay for standing for us and making sure people had the chance to vote Lib Dem in the Rhos ward of Neath Port Talbot

Lab, 137, 14.5%, -30.9%
🔶 JAY, Susan Helen, LibDem, 60, +6.3%, +6.3%
🟢 Green, 15, 1.6%, +1.6%
🟩 Plaid, 242, 25.5%, -29.1%
🔘 Ind, 494, 52.1%, +52.1%

Elsewhere, the two parliamentary by-elections have taken up most of the headlines. The Wellingborough and Kingswood seats were not great prospects for us, but we did have excellent candidates in Andrew Brown and Ana Savage Gunn. We lost our deposits, but that happens in seats where we are not in competition. These were not the same kind of places as the four by-election seats we have gained in this Parliament.

We will have done valuable work in both seats to help boost our local election chances.

One very concerning thing is that the Conservatives might have hung on in Kingswood if Reform hadn’t stood, although in Wellingborough Labour had a much bigger margin.

It is horribly disappointing to see such a right wing, populist party gain such a high vote. The result in Kingswood shows that if Reform lets the Tories off the hook as its predecessor the Brexit Party did in 2019, the result could be much closer than we hope. There is no room for any kind of complacency from anyone who wants the Tories out of office.

The full result in Kingswood was:

Damien Egan Labour 11,176 44.9% +11.5% since 2019

Sam Bromiley Conservative 8,675 34.9% -21.4% since 2019

Rupert James Graham Lowe Reform UK 2,578 10.4% +10.4% since 2019

Lorraine Antoinette Francis Green Party 1,450 5.8% +3.4% since 2019

Andrew Charles Brown Liberal Democrat 861 3.5% -3.4%

Nicholas David Wood UK Independence Party 129 0.5% 0.5%

And in Wellingborough:

Gen Kitchen Labour 13,844 45.9% +19.3% since 2019

Helen Jane Harrison Conservative 7,408 24.6% -37.7% since 2019

Ben Habib Reform UK 3,919 13.0% +13% since 2019

Ana Savage Gunn Liberal Democrat 1,422 4.7% -3.2% since 2019

Marion Eileen Turner-Hawes No description 1,115 3.7% +3.7% since 2019

Will Morris Green Party 1,020 3.4% -0.1% since 2019

Kev Watts Independent 533 1.8% +1.8% since 2019

Alex Merola Britain First 477 1.6% +1.6% since 2019

Nick The Flying Brick Official Monster Raving Loony Party 217 0.7% +0.7% since 2019

Andre Pyne-Bailey Independent 172 0.6% +0.6% since 2019

Ankit Love Jknpp Jay Mala Post-Mortem No description 18 0.1% +0.1% since 2019

Our candidates will have had to basically put their lives on hold to represent the party, doing media interviews and campaigning. We owe them and the teams flying the Lib Dem flag so much gratitude. Neither of them should ever have to buy a drink for themselves at Conference ever again.

The next by-election is Rochdale, rarely out of the headlines this week, on Leap Year Day. This has been full of drama with lots of entirely preventable problems on Labour’s part and the Green candidate stepping aside as well because of problematic social media posts. We are represented by Iain Donaldson who told Rochdale online:

The people of Rochdale have been hammered by the double whammy of a cost of living crisis and an NHS on its knees. This disastrous Conservative government has utterly failed our area and they need to be held to account.

Locally, Labour have also taken people for granted because they just don’t listen. I’ll be a strong voice for Rochdale, listening to local people and getting real action for them.

It is vital that the people of Rochdale are represented with a voice that will take our community’s issues right to the heart of Parliament and force ministers to address their concerns. That is what my campaign will be focused on as I fight for every vote.

Iain was endorsed by former Lib Dem MP Rowen:

I’m delighted that Iain, an experienced local campaigner, has been chosen as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Rochdale.

After years of a failed Conservative government Rochdale needs a fresh start. Iain with his energy and experience will give us that.

The prospect of George Galloway in the Commons again is not a happy one.

I feel for Paul Waugh, who stepped aside from his job at the I to try and get the Labour nomination. However, even if Labour manages to hang on, it seems unlikely that they would give the whip to their candidate and so will need another candidate for the General Election.

While this week’s parliamentary by-elections were never going to provide us with our moment to shine, the fact that we are winning well in campaigns against the Conservatives and Labour should reassure us that where we put the effort in we can get great results.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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41 Comments

  • On the Polls, nothing has changed much for Months now –
    Labour bobs around an average of 44%
    Cons around 25%
    Libdems 10%

    Most of the “News” is froth.

    There are really only 2 broad probabilities for The General Election, depending on the level of Tactical Voting & whether Reform hang onto their Voters or not.
    By far the most likely result will be a repeat of 1997 only more so – a bigger Labour Landslide & fewer Tories.
    That doesn’t make feel complacent, only excited.

  • Philip Rutherford 18th Feb '24 - 12:37pm

    Tring and Dacorum Borough Council are both in Hertfordshire, not Hampshire.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 18th Feb '24 - 12:40pm

    Thanks, Philip. Now amended. A senior moment

  • Ian Patterson 18th Feb '24 - 3:00pm

    Reform could also stop us from winning those fluffy southern seats. Every GE since 2005 we were bound to win dozens of Tory seats. Mysteriously they remained Tory by substantial margins.

  • Iain Donaldson deserves all the support the party can give him. The dramatic events of last week mean that whoever wins will have benefitted from an open goal. Yes, it is short notice for upgraded campaign plans but anyone going to Rochdale can assure those voters across the Pennines that George Galloway as MP was a dire experience for Bradford West. He is a good speaker but I was at his count when he won and I was shocked by one of the few political egos that could match that of Boris Johnson.

  • John McHugo 18th Feb '24 - 5:12pm

    After the Rochdale chaos in Labour became apparent, why wasn’t there a piece in LDV urging party activists to go there to campaign for Iain Donaldson this weekend? Quite apart from anything else we are the only UK wide party with the courage and integrity to call for an immediate bilateral cease-fire in Gaza, and would have a fair chance of picking up many Labour votes. I sincerely hope this failure on our part doesn’t lead to that divisive figure George Galloway being elected.

  • Steve Trevethan 18th Feb '24 - 5:26pm

    Might our considerable success in local elections and our lack of success in national elections be, at least in part, due to our party having something real and lively to talk about locally and, it seems, so little of relevance and appeal to talk about nationally?

  • Peter Davies 18th Feb '24 - 8:38pm

    The bookies currently have Galloway odds on to win Rochdale with Labour second and us third. Beating the Tories, Reform and even Labour could still be done.

  • Peter Davies 18th Feb '24 - 10:29pm

    If I were advising the Tories, I’d say go tomorrow. Mind you, I think even they would work out that I don’t have their best interests at heart.

  • I’m not old enough to remember the 1958 Rochdale by election, where Ludovic Kennedy was our candidate.
    But the 88% turnout then is hardly likely to be repeated on the 29th!
    Even half that turnout would be remarkable.

  • Leekliberal 19th Feb '24 - 6:21pm

    Steve Trevethan – you posed the question ‘Might our considerable success in local elections and our lack of success in national elections be, at least in part, due to our party having something real and lively to talk about locally and, it seems, so little of relevance and appeal to talk about nationally?’ My answer sadly is ‘YES!’ The unwillingness/inability of our leadership to articulate any compelling reason to support us is tragic when the Tories are in dire straights and Labour are only way ahead in the polls because they are not the Tories. Yet we languish at ten percent in the polls while we could do so much better! Our target seat strategy is admirable, but it’s not enough. When, in the national debate on contentious issues like the need for a ceasefire in Gaza, have our leadership said anything timely or memorable? We have become the ‘us to’ party. As the third, or fourth ranked party if we count the SNP, we will never get significant media coverage on any issue unless we are first to comment and are willing to be bold in articulating a unique Liberal position on it. With the recent surge of support in opinion polls for the UK to move closer to the EU, our leader could shock everyone by actually mentioning the word ‘Brexit’, or is this just too much to ask?

  • Steve Trevethan 20th Feb '24 - 9:59am

    Might this presentation of factors of ghastly government and opposition opportunities stir H. Q. into more drive, clear purpose and political prominence?

    https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/18/recession-hits/

  • Peter Martin 20th Feb '24 - 12:16pm

    “our leader could shock everyone by actually mentioning the word ‘Brexit’…..”

    ‘Brexit’ will gradually fade from the political lexicon as the years roll by. The deal we had is no longer on offer. So we should really be talking about the EU rather than Brexit.

    It’s often said that a majority of voters think that Brexit was a mistake. But does this mean that a majority of voters are actually in favour of the EU itself?

    I doubt that. If they are then the pro-EU parties should be pushing for us to join on the same terms as Germany, France, Italy etc. This means adopting the euro, Schengen, agreeing to “ever closer union” and foregoing all the opt -outs we had previously.

  • Peter Martin 20th Feb ’24 – 12:16pm:
    It’s often said that a majority of voters think that Brexit was a mistake.

    Opinion polls will be greatly influenced by the constant barrage of ‘anti-Brexit’ propaganda and misdirection promulgated by rearguard remainers who seize upon any opportunity to talk the country down. Outside of the Department of Business and Trade, the government has been lackadaisical in taking advantage of our new freedoms and mysteriously reticent at even mentioning the many Brexit Benefits that are now coming through. How many voters have heard of our recently launched Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS)? It’s been widely welcomed by the 65 countries it covers and acclaimed by many organisations…

    ‘UK’s new trading scheme promises huge benefits for African countries’ [June 2023]:
    https://venturesafrica.com/uks-new-trading-scheme-promises-huge-benefits-for-african-countries/

    Implementing the DCTS now offers a lifeline for these affected African countries and provides them with renewed prospects for trade and economic growth.

    How many are aware of innovative new legislation such as the Procurement Act 2023 which will allow previous performance to be considered when awarding public contracts (current EU law prevents that) or the pioneering Electronic Trade Documents Act (ETDA)?…

    ‘A Worlds First for Digital Trade’ [September 2023]:
    https://www.fortvale.com/news/a-worlds-first-for-digital-trade/

    The first ever fully digitalised goods shipment landed in Singapore from Burnley yesterday (24 September) after the UK introduced world-leading legislation to make trading cheaper and easier for businesses.

  • Leekliberal 20th Feb '24 - 6:17pm

    Hi Peter Martin and Geoff and welcome to our discussion group. It’s hard to believe that any Lib Dem would be quite as ferocious as Brexiters as you are. Before too long you will be feeling as bad as did in June 2016 when by a knife edge margin, under the influence of Russian propaganda and an avalanche of Brexiter lies, the British people voted to leave.
    According to Bloomberg, Brexit is costing the UK economy £100 billion a year ($124 billion), with the effects spanning everything from business investment to the ability of companies to hire workers. That and with all the EU travel hassle we have to deal with, it’s no wonder that the latest poll of polls shows 58% wanting to rejoin against 42% who want to stay out. It’s just a matter of when, if only because older Brexiters will be replaced by young Re-joiners.

  • Alex Macfie 20th Feb '24 - 8:47pm

    Ian Patterson: We were never even in contention in most of the Blue Wall seats we are now targeting. Previously safe Tory seats are now ultra-marginal, and that’s without Reform UK splitting the right-wing vote.

  • Jeff… our recently launched Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS)? It’s been widely welcomed by the 65 countries ……..

    I looked at the ‘trading giants’ listed…Nepal,Niger Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe,Senegal,Sierra Leone,Solomon Islands,Somalia,South Sudan are just a few I copied; There are countries I couldn’t place on a world map..

    If you find a 10p piece it is a nice surprise but, when you have just lost £1000, your pleasure might be a little muted..

  • Chris Moore 21st Feb '24 - 4:29pm

    Hi, Leekliberal, Peter Martin is a left-wing Labour supporter.

  • @ Alex Macfie “We were never even in contention in most of the Blue Wall seats we are now targeting”.

    …… and what makes you so sure they won’t return to type in due course – adding to an existing vacuum beyond… ?

  • Peter Martin 21st Feb '24 - 8:09pm

    @ Martin @ Chris @ Leekliberal,

    I’ve always been puzzled why so many who claim to be on the left seem to have fallen in love with the most neoliberal of capitalist organisations which is the EU. Relative living standards for the least well didn’t start to fall in Jun 2016 or even in Jan 2021. Its been going on a lot longer. For most of the time we have been in the EU/EEC in fact.

    There’s more than a few of us who haven’t though. Mick Lynch and RMT union, for example, have always had a pro leave policy. Many labour voters have agreed with that even though ant-EU Labour MPs do seem to be just about extinct as a species now. I doubt if any colourful characters similar to Dennis Skinner would be ever be accepted onto Starmer’s longlist.

  • Chris Moore 21st Feb '24 - 9:13pm

    Peter, good stuff, but as you’re aware, many Tories see the EU as a socialist affront to free enterprise.

    The reality does not match up to your or their stereotype.

  • Ian Patterson 21st Feb '24 - 10:34pm

    @Alex MacFie mostly fluffy seats south of the Trent/severn line.

  • Martin Gray 22nd Feb '24 - 3:48am

    “however in a choice between maintaining living standards for the worse off”….
    @Martin & Leekliberal…. Seriously…?
    The worse off couldn’t give a fig about the EU – it was an irrelevance in their lives . Plenty food banks around in 2016 + insecure mw agency work the norm. Voting out held no fear in those communities – looking around who could blame them . Anonymous Mep’s woeful election turnouts fom a one way ticket – the EU just wasn’t as popular as you like to believe…
    The Euro & Schengen – good luck trying to persuade the British public on those two ..

  • Peter Martin 22nd Feb '24 - 10:58am

    @ Chris,

    I’m not sure it’s helpful to think in terms of stereotypes.

    Even from a perspective which is neither of the right nor the left, the operation of the EU’s euro is fundamentally flawed and causes many of the problems we see arise there. It’s inevitable that euros will gravitate to the stronger economies, principally Germany with its penchant for running large export surpluses, leaving the weaker economies in deficit and debt, and so with a need to borrow or be given them back. However, the hardwired rules in various EU treaties insist that debts and deficits have to be kept within tight limits.

    The forced application of austerity economics in these weaker economies, to try to meet EU targets, benefits neither businesses nor workers. Businesses close down due to lack of demand. Workers lose their jobs.

    The far right (bringing politics back into it) then feeds off the political discontent in a way that no-one, with any knowledge of European history, should be at all surprised at.

  • @LeekLiberal: There’s really nothing un-liberal about being pro-Brexit. The EU is an organisation that has some benefits (economic benefits, cooperation between nations) and some disbenefits (over-centralisation of powers, issues with excessive migration and bureaucracy). It’s neither liberal nor illiberal to be opposed/supportive of membership, but it is very liberal to look rationally at the pros and cons and make a judgement of where the balance lies, while recognising that others may weigh that balance differently. Personally I’m baffled by the way so many LibDem members obsess about the EU, irrationally refusing to even acknowledge that there were disadvantages of membership. And I’m saddened by the way you condescendingly dismiss the very real concerns of much of the population as ‘under the influence of Russian propaganda and an avalanche of Brexiter lies’. I’d like to think that as liberals, we’d be more willing to respect the opinions of those we disagree with.

  • expats 21st Feb ’24 – 8:24am:
    I looked at the ‘trading giants’ listed…

    This makes my point perfectly. As with other Brexit benefits, the government has failed to publicise the DCTS so even the politically engaged on LDV are uninformed about its objectives. The DCTS is designed to help developing countries grow their economies by enabling them to move up the value chain. The quickest way to lift people out of poverty is through trade rather than aid. Trade enabled Singapore, once very poor, to become wealthy in just two generations. Vietnam, is a current example. Not so long ago many ambitious Vietnamese sought to migrate by boat; today they aspire to join the CPTPP’s fastest growing middle-class.

    The EU’s protectionist tariffs on processed goods act like a ‘benefits trap’ for poor countries by suppressing their ability to develop beyond supplying raw commodities. The DCTS is more liberal and allows cumulation.

    ‘The EU Is Keeping Poor Countries Poor’ [July 2017]:
    https://fee.org/articles/the-eu-is-keeping-poor-countries-poor/

    …the EU stunts the development of poorer countries. Take its tariff regime, which sets higher tariffs for more processed products. Raw coffee beans, for instance, can be exported to the EU tariff-free, while roasted coffee is subject to a 7.5 percent tariff. If the coffee is decaffeinated, the tariff rises to 9 percent. The same goes for chocolate – cacao beans have no tariff, but chocolate bars are subject to a 30 percent tariff.

  • Mick Scholes 25th Feb '24 - 10:01am

    Martin Bennett: Copied from our candidates post to By election FB page. Hi all, well we have just seven days to go in what has possibily been the most action packed by-election since Little Dunny on the Wold.
    This week I have been interviewed by Politicsjoe, Granada Reports (as we still insist on calling ITV Regional News up here), Chris Mason of the BBC, and the New Statesman. Last night I was supposed to be interviewed by Crescent Radio but they cancelled last minute as ‘others have pulled out’.
    Today I was to appear on a BBC Radio hustings, initially with just me, Labour, the Tory and Danczuk. The Tory has now gone on holiday (had he planned to he wouldn’t have accepted the interview) and Ali pulled out this morning, so faced with the prospect of being shouted at by two conspiricy theorists (Danshit and Rula Lenska’s cat) I have pulled out but given the journalist the option of a one to one interview.
    This evening we have a community association hustings. It will be me, Galloway, possibly Chris Clarkson subbing for the Tory, Ali hasn’t confirmed, and Danczuk hasn’t been invited because they ‘don’t want his sort’ there.
    There will also be press and about 150 residents.
    The independents will also be present and will be offered their 2 minutes at the end.
    We are also going to need to get out a lot of A3 leaflets in the next few days, so any help will be gratefully received.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Feb '24 - 8:51pm

    @David Raw: Nearly all our seats “returned to type” in 2015, whether that was Tory or Labour. We all know the reason why. Obviously we have to play our cards much better in future if we don’t want it to happen again.

  • Sorry, Mr Macfie, but the blue wall seats are not the same as the seats lost in 2015 for quite different reasons.

  • Peter Martin 27th Feb '24 - 9:17am

    A curious story in the Telegraph today about the possibility of the eurozone going bust!

    It’s all nonsense of course. The “central banks” of the EU can never go bust. The Bundesbank has more than enough euro credits at the ECB to be quite stable.

    Nevertheless the story does illustrate the irrationality of the narrative the EU has created for itself. A single currency requires only a single central bank which is the ECB. There is no more need for Germany, France etc to have their own central banks than the state of Texas or the English county of Yorkshire. They might have a sub branch of the ECB but that’s all.

    If the Bundesbank doesn’t exist it can’t make a loss!

    Incidentally, if the paywall in this link is a problem, quickly copy (CTRL A) everything before the block comes up and paste (CTRL V) everything into a Word document.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/02/26/the-eurozone-could-soon-go-bust/

  • Peter Martin 27th Feb ’24 – 9:17am:
    It’s all nonsense of course.

    The sub-editor’s headline is, Lynn’s article isn’t.

    The “central banks” of the EU can never go bust.

    Some may need to be recapitalised to the cost of their owner’s public.

    Amounting to the equivalent of 82pc of its GDP, the ECB has printed far more money than the Federal Reserve, on 36pc of GDP, or indeed the Bank of England, on 39pc of GDP. The member central banks were forced into buying bonds at near zero interest rates, and now have to pay far higher rates on the cash deposited with them. At the same time, the financial imbalances inside the zone, with huge trade surpluses in Germany matched by deficits elsewhere, have to be recycled through the banking system, creating yet more liabilities. And right now, there is no end in sight to the red ink.
    […]

    …most importantly, if the Bundesbank does have to be recapitalised by the government in Berlin, it will surely break the patience of the German voting public with the central currency. They were told again and again that the euro wouldn’t mean they would be forced to pay for a bailout of other countries, and that promise will have clearly been broken. The trust will have been shattered forever, with unpredictable results. One point is certain. If the Bundesbank is bust, then so is the eurozone – even if it takes a few years for that to become clear.

  • Peter Martin 27th Feb '24 - 1:25pm

    @ Jeff,

    The reason for putting the quotation marks around “central banks” is to question that they are in fact central banks in the same way the BoE is or the US Federal Reserve. We in the UK have had far more frequent economic crises than has Germany, (at least until they joined the eurozone) but as far as I know the BoE has never had to be “recapitalised” by taxpayers. This includes periods of wartime. Neither has the US Federal Reserve. There simply is no need.

    Germany has some 900 bn euros in its Target2 account at the ECB. There is simply no need to increase German taxes.

    Just the opposite in fact. There is a need to reduce them, and/or increase Govt spending, to help stimulate their economy and provide an engine to pull the rest of the EU out of recession.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARGET2#/media/File:Target2%25_20graph%25_20-%25_20%25_20ecb%25_20data(1).jpg

  • Peter Watson 27th Feb '24 - 3:28pm

    @David Raw “the blue wall seats are not the same as the seats lost in 2015 for quite different reasons”
    Ooh! Another chance ( 😉 ) for me to cite Alasdair Rae’s infographics (https://twitter.com/undertheraedar/status/1390632762105806856, and especially https://twitter.com/undertheraedar/status/1390633746408296448) that show Lib Dem representation has become increasingly concentrated in more affluent areas.
    Sadly, the current blue wall strategy looks like a deliberate decision to capitalise on that trend rather than attempt to reverse it and make the party look less exclusive. 🙁

  • Alex Macfie 27th Feb '24 - 7:55pm

    @David Raw: So? They were exclusively Lib Dem ~ Tory battleground seats (we lost seats to Labour in 1997), won by us when the Conservatives were self-destructing (as they are now). The Tories did start to claw some of them back, particularly in 2010 when they seemed to have put their post-1997 lurch to the right behind them, before getting everything back after the Coalition disaster. BTW we are targeting historic Liberal / Lib Dem heartlands in the South West; indeed 2 of the 4 by-elections we won were in that area, one in a formerly held seat. Wherever our targets happen to be, they are easy pickings because of the Tory troubles, and the risk of the Tories getting them back is if the Tories return to the centre ground of politics (or at least appear to), which isn’t likely any time soon. Or if we make another spectacular Clegg-like miscalculation.

    @Peter Watson: Our target seats are mainly Tory-facing, and obviously it’s easiest to win against Tories anyway under a tired, discredited Tory government. These seats tend to be middle-class more than working class, although this does not mean that there aren’t less well-off people living there as well. There are, and often we get more of their votes than we do from the affluent voters. We have to target where we can win, rather than spread out all over the place and win hardly any seats as in 1974 and 1983.

  • Martin Bennett,

    It would be foolish and foolhardy of the Conservatives to hold on into Autumn

    Rushi Sunak will hold on for as long as possible in the hope that something will turn up and improve their opinion poll rating.

    Leekliberal and Martin Bennett,

    The Stability and Growth Pack of the EU is a neo-liberal economic measure which wants Euro member states to keep their government deficit not higher than 3% of their GDP and their national debt not higher than 60% of GDP. Members on here often criticise our party for not having radical economic policies. If we re-join the EU we would have to comply with the Stability and Growth Pack and this would reduce the freedom of the UK government to run our economy to the maximum benefit for people. When the UK didn’t follow neo-liberal economic policies it reduced poverty. Therefore while leaving the EU is reducing the UK’s economic growth, not pursuing neo-liberal economic policies would benefit the poorest in society more by increasing their living standards. Neo-liberal economic policies make the rich richer and poor poorer and this can be seen in our society.

  • Alex Macfie,

    Previously safe Tory seats are now ultra-marginal

    In 2019 we came second in 80 seats. We are not targeting them all. As in 1997 Labour will leap over us and come second in the next general election in some of these seats. There is no chance that we would have 94 MPs after the next general election. If we end up with more than 30 MPs we will have done well. The YouGov MRP poll published in early January has us winning 48 MPs. This is the highest number of MPs we might get elected.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Mar '24 - 8:54am

    @Michael BG: I’m not making any predictions about number of seats we’re going to win. What I can say about the MRP polls by YouGov and Electoral Calculus is that they are suggesting entirely unrealistic rises in the Labour vote in many of our Tory-facing held and target seats where Labour has virtually no local organisation. One possible conclusion is that Labour’s campaign message is so strong that potential Lib Dem voters are passing over us and switching directly to Labour. However, based on my experience living and campaigning in a Tory-facing Lib Dem stronghold is that the pollsters’ assumptions about the movements of voters are flawed. In particular, they don’t take sufficient account of local factors that lead voters to consider us, rather than Labour, to be the principal opponents of the Tories — not just tactical voting, but also the fact that we’re active and Labour are not.

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