Another late night waiting a by-election result: Lib Dems doing “better than expected”

So who’s still up waiting for the Sleaford result then?

This would be the sort of seat where, in recent years, we’d have without question lost our deposit.

We just managed to retain it last year in the General Election, polling 5.7%.

So what would be a good result for us?

Well, anything above that would be good.

Very good would be double figures.

Absolutely miraculously excellent would be exceeding the results we had in 2010 and 2005 – 18.2%.

What does the party do when they are already focused on a highly winnable by-election in a held seat and another one happens? During the coalition years, we might have just ignored it, but this was an opportunity to try out new things in an area which had voted to Leave. So we sent a couple of our acest campaigners up there – Lincolnshire lad Ed Fordham who has form for inspiring the troops and pulling off unexpected results, and Yorkshire’s Ian Horner. They led a fantastic team of East Midlands activists who delivered an incredible campaign.

They have been thinking not just of the result tonight, but of the legacy they leave for the county and other local elections in the future. They have been creative and insurgent and had lots and lots of fun. “We are having the time of our lives” was something I heard time and time again from those involved in the campaign.

Twitter is reporting a collapse in the Labour vote to below deposit level. That might well mean that we end up moving up a place or even, at a long shot, two places.

Here’s a flavour of what Twitter is saying.

The turnout is really low, even for a by-election in December – just 37%.

It’ll be a while before we know anything, but let’s hope we have some encouraging news to wake up to.

And thanks so much to our marvellous candidate, Ross Pepper, to great campaign managers Ed and Ian and everyone who has taken part. The East Midlands region has really come together and, after the trauma of the coalition years, has discovered that campaigning can be fun again.

Four of the five Council by-election results are in. We stood in two of them and where we stood we did well.

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

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Thanks to everyone who’s put their all into this – sounds like there may be a decent return on the labours. Fingers crossed.

  • The elections team has done a great job. Thanks to Ross. Fantastic work and commitment from him and Ed.
    Waiting is tough! If Labour sinks as predicted, could it open the way for a realignment?

  • Nuttall now saying he’d be happy with second place and Labour talking about 4th/5th, not what you would of been expecting from them at the start of this campaign.
    I think the Lib Dem campaign has got some attention from the other parties, which is all thanks to the effort of the candidate and the campaign team.

  • Mark Goodrich 9th Dec '16 - 2:18am

    Just trying to keep you company from Asia, Caron! Looking like a night where Tories, UKIP and Lib Dems can all claim to be happy while Labour has a complete horror show. Perhaps this will show them that pandering to the Brexit vote isn’t such a great strategy when you were previously solid for Remain. Existential crisis for them on where to go next.

  • A cool morning in Bangkok 75F. Fingers crossed.

  • David Evans 9th Dec '16 - 3:22am

    Third place with 3,606 votes, 243 ahead of Labour, but sadly 820 less than UKIP. Even more sadly, the Conservatives got 17,570. How any party can be rewarded for splitting the country in a vain attempt to avoid splitting itself is almost beyond comprehension.

  • Eddie Sammon 9th Dec '16 - 3:24am

    The result from Britain Elects:

    CON: 53.5% (-2.7)
    UKIP: 13.5% (-2.2)
    LDEM: 11.0% (+5.3)
    LAB: 10.2% (-7.0)
    LIND: 8.8% (+3.6)

    I thought Caron was talking about a council by-election at first. I didn’t know the Sleaford by-election was tonight. Arguable pro-remain bias from liberal journalists.

  • David Evans 9th Dec '16 - 3:31am

    … and Congratulations to Ross and the Lib Dem Team.

  • Some crumbs of comfort.

  • Mark Goodrich 9th Dec '16 - 3:49am

    With reference to my earlier comment and seeing the result, I don’t think UKIP can really claim to be happy either.

    Vote share down in an election they were targeting (strong leave constituency) shows little appetite for their hard Brexit stance.

  • Floiating voter 9th Dec '16 - 11:12am

    Big swing to Tories in Tonbridge & Malling council election. Hope this meanms the end of any “progressive alliance” to include Corbyn’s Labour Party

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