Baroness Ros Scott writes… Campaigning over recess

Despite what you hear in the press about a “zombie” Parliament, life in Westminster has been pretty busy for the Lib Dem team in the House of Lords. We’ve secured important improvements to the Counter Terrorism legislation, used the Deregulation Bill to reintroduce Sarah Teather’s provisions on retaliatory eviction, introduced measures dealing with revenge porn, and done battle with the Tory dinosaurs seeking to derail Michael Moore’s Bill intended to enshrine the principle that 0.7% of our wealth goes to the poorest overseas countries.

But this last week we, like the Commons, have been in recess, and many of us have been out and about campaigning with colleagues seeking re-election in May. And why wouldn’t we? Not only are we committed to our Party and its success, but many of us have been elected as Councillors or MPs and know how important an extra pair of feet can be! Some of my colleagues fought unsuccessfully for years to be elected to Parliament, and in doing so, laid the groundwork for their successors.

For me, recess means being at home in Suffolk where we are busy not just supporting our neighbours in Colchester, Cambridge, Norwich South and North Norfolk, but defending council seats in all-out District elections. For me, this one is personal, as it was winning Needham Market ward in 1991 which started my political career, and I want to make sure that the hard work of our current team is recognised.

I made the 140 mile round trip to Bedford, which might, at first look, not be an obvious place to go. But in May, one of the two elected Liberal Democrat Mayors is up for re-election. Dave Hodgson won a bye-election in 2009, was re-elected in 2011 and alongside a Lib Dem Council, has an impressive record of achievement. Although Bedford is subject to all the same financial pressures as other councils, Dave has a great record of defending local services, creating jobs and improving the environment – all without increasing Council Tax or extra borrowing. It was clear to me on the doorsteps that the Lib Dem team’s hard work and commitment to staying in touch is really appreciated.

And that campaigning zeal and genuine engagement with voters was a recurring theme on the doorsteps of Norwich South and Colchester, where I also spent time this last week. Bob Russell, “the voice of Colchester” has an eighteen year record of standing up for the town and an incredibly high recognition factor amongst voters. It’s really important that his common sense, straightforward Liberalism continues, not just to the benefit of Colchester, but to the surrounding area where we share media outlets. Ashcroft money is being poured into Colchester, so finding time to make the trip is vital, and you’ll receive a warm welcome from the team.

My third trip was to Simon Wright, defending his hard won seat in Norwich South, where Labour are the main challenger. What I found there are Tories willing to switch to keep Labour out, and Labour facing a real challenge from UKIP in its traditional strongholds in the City. Out in the town of Costessey, part of the Constituency but definitely not part of Norwich, the Lib Dem team on the town council has a great track record of community action which was clearly recognised on the doorsteps, alongside Simon’s hard work and commitment to the area. It’s all to play for there!

* Baroness Ros Scott is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, a former Party President and now President of the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors.

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This entry was posted in Campaign Corner.

One Comment

  • suzanne fletcher 28th Feb '15 - 6:11pm

    re used the Deregulation Bill to reintroduce Sarah Teather’s provisions on retaliatory eviction,

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