Breaking….Liz Barrett wins for the Liberal Democrats in Perth

I am actually bursting with excitement right now.

Great news from Perth where Liz Barrett has won a Council by-election, taking a seat from the SNP:

I have known Liz for a long time and she is one of the most competent and caring people I have ever met. She spent the pandemic making PPE for carers and organising a community foodbank. She was just 29 votes from victory in a by-election in the ward almost exactly three years ago and she hasn’t stopped working since.

She joins Scottish Party President Willie Wilson as Councilor for the ward.

Here’s the result of the first preferences count. She’s only 75 votes behind the SNP but wins on transfers under the AV system.

Congratulations to Liz and her fantastic campaign team. Celyn Ashworth, the organiser, has been particularly fabulous in getting people to help.

Local SNP MP Pete Wishart is upset. Oh dear. Someone call Rudy Giuliani.

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

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  • Excellent news. I was lucky enough to meet Liz a couple of times, and always found her to be very impressive and inspiring.

    Pete Wishart behaving with the grace we’ve all come to expect from him is a fun Friday bonus!

  • Fantastic news and I couldn’t agree more about Liz, who will be a brilliant councillor – along with her husband Peter of course who is there already.
    Willie Wilson of course is a force of nature, and I imagine his hands are all over this one. Really well done everybody.

  • I understand there was also a by-election in the Perth North Ward yesterday.

    Any news about how that went ?

  • Paul Barker 27th Nov '20 - 4:50pm

    @David Raw
    it was an SNP hold.

  • @ Paul Barker Have you got the details, Paul ?

  • Brian Ellis 27th Nov '20 - 7:00pm

    Great to see a WIN. I am a long way from Scotland, down in Dorset but always feel for the Party up there who have to deal with the SNP who ride on the back of populism and nationalism, not a pretty combination. WELL DONE.

  • Now got full details of Perth South. Counting went to the sixth stage with the SNP ahead in every stage, but when the Tory was knocked out in the sixth stage the great majority of his second preference votes were distributed to the Lib Dems.

    In the Perth North byelection held on the same day the SNP retained the seat with 62% of the vote with the Lib Dems came fourth behind the Tories and Labour.

    In the interest of fairness and truthfulness, it would be interesting to hear if Brian Ellis (of Dorset) could disclose what his knowledge of Scottish politics is based on ?

  • Simon Horner 27th Nov '20 - 10:26pm

    Surely Brian Ellis must have encountered plenty of populism and nationalism where he lives. Every Dorset MP belongs to a party that fits that description perfectly.

  • Richard Underhill 28th Nov '20 - 8:21am


  • David Garlick 28th Nov '20 - 9:28am

    The public have their way under a sensible voting system. Disappointing for anyone with the most first preferences but ultimately the better result more accurately reflecting the public wish.

  • John Marriott 28th Nov '20 - 9:47am

    Yes, I am so pleased for the Scottish Lib Dems and what a vindication for PR. However, where I live in Lincolnshire, however which way you count the votes, the Tories win. As Douglas Hogg said at his acceptance speech in the newly created parliamentary seat of Sleaford and North Hykeham back in 1997, after an unusually close run race with Labour (and yours truly a rather distant third); “Tories always win in the end”. I suppose, on current form, north of the border, some might be inclined to replace the word “Tories” with the initials “SNP”.

  • @ John Marriott Ah, wee squeaky Dougy. It must be gratifying to know that his moat was cleared and cleaned at the public expense to the tune of £ 2,200.

    I can remember him as squeaky at the Oxford Union back in ’64 and I gather he’s still squeaky now in the House of Lords.

    Must be gratifying to know there’s a non-stop moving escalator for you from Eton, via Christ Church, the Commons and then a life peerage because the inherited one didn’t count anymore….. Cosy that his missus is in the Lords as well.

    How the other half live. You were greatly remiss in not beating him, John.

    I’m with the disgruntled farmer from Anglesey, one Louis Hayward, who drove six hours from his farm to Kettlethorpe Hall to dump three tonnes of pig manure outside Hogg’s house.

    His greatest political achievement ?????? Failing to deal with BSE.

  • David Raw – it would be interesting if you could point me to the detailed report of the transfers at each stage. It doesn’t seem to be on the PKC website. Last time most Green votes went to SNP with us getting a quarter. Then most Lab votes (40%+) went nowhere with more to us than the SNP. But as we were still third 20% went SNP, 35% Con, and 45% couldn’t stomach either. That put the SNP ahead of the Cons at the very last step.
    The Cons lost because they received very few transfers at every stage – which must say something.

  • Oh yes, and I am very pleased with the result.

  • Nonconformistradical 28th Nov '20 - 11:07am

    “As Douglas Hogg said at his acceptance speech in the newly created parliamentary seat of Sleaford and North Hykeham back in 1997, after an unusually close run race with Labour (and yours truly a rather distant third); “Tories always win in the end””

    Unsure whether or not that means he understood his late father’s concept of ‘elective dictatorship.’..,_Baron_Hailsham_of_St_Marylebone

  • Nice one. Need a few thousand more of those.

  • How you take defeat is a test for any party. The North of England Labour Party is sometimes far from gracious after losing but the SNP responses to this one suggest that strong stomachs are required if you are fighting to win north of the border…

  • @ David Evans It was on the Council web site. Try again.

    Last week there was another by-election in Clackmannanshire not mentioned on LDV :

    “Clackmannanshire East will remain with the Tories after candidate Denis Coyne won 51% of the vote – up 10 percentage points from the previous election. Due to be held in March, the poll was rescheduled after the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland and held on Thursday.

    SNP candidate Stephen Leitch was second with 32% of the vote in an election with a turnout of just 35.1% – a total of 2,395 votes cast. The Labour Party saw their vote share drop by about 12 percentage points to 8.1%, compared to the previous election for the seat, and the Greens and Lib Dems finished on 5.8% and 2.9% respectively.

    There was another by-election in Edinburgh at Craigentinny – again not reported on LDV, that you can look up a couple of weeks ago.

  • John Marriott 28th Nov '20 - 4:00pm

    I don’t know where you live; but Lincolnshire, with the exception of the City of Lincoln and possibly the area around Gainsborough,, is virtually a one party state. My wife used to reckon that old Tories come here to die. Demographically, we have for many years suffered an exodus of young college educated people and acquired many people of a certain age, mainly from the south east, lured here in their early retirement by very competitive property prices and largely a way of life not dissimilar to what they think they remembered it to have been in the 1950s. Indeed the road network mirrors very much that of pre motorway Britain, while the speeds on it resemble those encountered at places like Silverstone! Visitors beware.

    Voting Conservative in most parts of the county at any level, with the possible exception of Lincoln (Labour) and Gainsborough (Lib Dem) is a way of life, both politically and socially. Will it ever change? I doubt it. You can make inroads at local level, as we proved in North Hykeham and Sleaford a couple of decades again; but, like gardeners, unless you keep up the effort, those weeds (ie Tories) just keep returning.

    Yes, Mr Radical, the present Lord Hailsham knew what he was talking about back then.

  • Tony Greaves 28th Nov '20 - 7:53pm


    Stage 2 Elimination of UKIP 18 votes
    SNP +2 LD +1 Con +7 LAB +1 Green +1 n/t +6

    Stage 3 Elimination of Green 136 votes
    SNP +60 LD +27 Con +8 LAB +19 n/t +22

    Stage 4 Elimination of Labour 224 votes
    SNP +57 LD +74 Con +16 n/t +77

    Stage 5 Elimination of Conservative 1729 votes
    SNP +93 LD +814 n/t +812

    Rather a good win for AV! Next time I see Pete Wishart I shall give him a good tease.

  • Thanks Tony

    I always find the transfers fascinating. It’s obviously all different when it’s a ward where we’ve done proper campaigning, or a by-election when people know the make-up of the rest of the Council, but I also think that a respected candidate, like Liz, makes a huge difference too. When it’s a regular election, knowing the past performance of existing councillors definitely over-rides some party political prejudices.

    Some of the transfers don’t seem that obvious, but I think we make the mistake of stereotyping voters of each party and forget they don’t all think that way. And of course a preferential voting system encourages less divisive campaigning, which I’m sure allows voters to be more open minded about who they want to represent them.

  • The result seems to show the natural gravitational attraction between the Tory and Lib Dem parties and their supporters. Not great news for the Lib Dems in Scotland surely?

  • Paul Barker 29th Nov '20 - 4:12pm

    The Scottish Greens are Pro-Independence but almost as many of their Votes went to Unionist parties as to The SNP, clearly their Voters dont neccesarily have the same priorities as The Party itself.

  • @ Paul Barker The Perth South vote was about electing a local Councillor. It wasn’t about a referendum on independence. Fortunately the Lib Dem candidate had a strong personal vote (see last para below to compare).

    Actually over 60% of the Green vote either (mostly) went to the SNP or didn’t vote. Of the rest that did the vast majority went to the two ‘left of centre’ parties (if that’s how
    Lib Dems can be described post 2010).

    I’m afraid you’re whistling in the dark, Paul. According to the latest Holyrood polls in Scotland the Greens are expected to elect more MSP’s than the Lib Dems next May.

    Interesting to read your reaction to the other byelection held in Perth on Thursday.

    SNP: 61.0% (+12.5)
    CON: 22.9% (-2.7)
    LAB: 9.5% (-6.3)
    LDM: 3.9% (+0.5)
    GRN: 2.6% (+2.6) (comparisons + or – are with 2017, and not happy reading for the Tories and Labour).

  • Alex Macfie 2nd Dec '20 - 8:02am

    Hireton: “natural gravitational attraction between the Tory and Lib Dem parties and their supporters. ” Only in one direction. The number of Tory → Lib Dem transfers was 814, only 2 more than the number of non-transfers. This suggests many Tories would have transferred to other candidates already eliminated, most likely Labour. Most interesting is the 93 who transferred Tory → SNP, a substantial minority demonstrating the existence of a Tory~SNP swing vote (perhaps more important in certain other parts of Scotland).

    It’s hardly a problem for us anyway. The Tory → Lib Dem transfers were probably Tory Unionists who considered us to be the most palatable among the other two Unionist parties (but even so, some may have gone for Labour). In any case, I would expect similar transfer pattern in England and Wales if we used STV. It’s pretty much a no-brainer that Tory voters are likely to prefer us to Labour in most cases.

    As for transfers the other way round, well the Lib Dem won, so we don’t know from the official results, but I think they would have been scattered among all the other parties. We could get some indication from the transfers in the Perth City North by-election, although presumably we diddn’t target that one, so the pattern may be different from where we target and win.

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