Lewisham East…what can we expect?

First of all, a massive thanks to all the staff who have worked so hard to deliver a stellar campaign in Lewisham East. Then to Lucy Salek who has done so much to get herself known in the community. To get such name recognition on the doorstep in just over 6 weeks is incredible.

And also to people who have gone to help and those who have made phone calls.

So, sometime in the middle of the night we’ll find out the result. What would be a good one?

Well, given that we got 4.4% just over a year ago, which was around a sixth of the second placed Conservative vote. Labour were a million miles ahead. Heidi Alexander got almost 68% of the vote.

In 2015, we did slightly better, retaining our deposit with 5.7% of the vote but were in 4th behind the Tories and UKIP.

We are going to do a lot better than that tonight. The party has been briefing that they expect us to come a strong second place. Business Insider says we are looking at around 25% of the vote:

In canvassing seen by BI, the Lib Dems are set to finish second place with 25% of this vote, up 21 points on last year’s election. Labour will retain the seat but with a vote share 19 points down on last year. The Tories will drop 7 points to third.

The Lib Dems believe that voters are going to punish the government for its handling of Brexit and Labour for being too timid in its opposition to it.

“They don’t like the absence of an opposition to Labour in Lewisham and feel taken for granted,” one Lib Dem source said.

Another said: “We think we could end up in a strong second. It looks like the Conservatives haven’t done much, Labour has been quite very quiet and the anti-Brexit message has got through to people.

“What you could see is this being a warning to Corbyn that he needs to start taking a real anti-Brexit stance.”

What would be really impressive would be an increase on the 28.2% we got in 2010. But anything in the ball park of what’s been talked about would be an excellent result from such a low base. We have to remember as well that this hasn’t had the Witney or Richmond Park intensity of campaign. But a strong result will leave us in know doubt that we should throw the kitchen sink at any similar seat that comes up.

It certainly looks like we are going to do a lot better – and we must capitalise on that by trying to engage the people who have voted for us. Too often, after the by-election machine has left town, the work isn’t done to consolidate the campaign and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen this time. The local party should get the help and support it needs to recruit and activate our supporters there.

We’ll know all too soon…

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

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  • Yes we need a by-election after-care strategy for all Parliamentary by-elections.

  • More like 5 weeks.

  • It is worrying if it is as Caron says and “this hasn’t had the Witney or Richmond Park intensity of campaign”. If that is the case, the question we all have to ask each other is why not? Are we serious about rebuilding our party after the disaster of the last seven years? We have twelve MPs now, not the pitiful eight we had in 2016. Where were our record number of new members? Or are we all just leaving it to someone else?

    Of course we can all say “The local party should get the help and support it needs to recruit and activate our supporters there.” The question is, who is going to volunteer to do it, day after day, week after week, month after month, once the by-election circus is gone?

    The simple fact is that nothing less than outright victory generates the resources to do it. 25% is nowhere near good enough except for minor bragging rights, and gaining a bit of momentum in the media for the next by election. Despite all the hype here, we still need a massive result and quickly or we will be out of the EU for good and so far we have nothing like enough of a national presence to get us there.

    We aren’t the big party we were Nick took over, we are back to where we were forty years ago, totally dependent on getting big results in by-elections, just to get noticed.

    Being right isn’t good enough, except to feel good about ourselves and what we are doing. If we want other people to feel good about what we are doing, we have got to start to win, and WIN BIG!

    And that means we all have to work massively hard, week after week, month after month, year after year, until we get back the chance to make a positive difference next time.

  • Labiur Hold, Turnout 33.4%. Total Votes 22,056

    Labour 11,033
    Libdems 5,404
    Con 3,161
    Greens 788

    As predicted – good 2nd place with 25% of vote

  • Watched the News Headlines at 02:30 on the BBC News Channel. No mention of the result. Why am I not surprised ?.

  • Alex Macfie 15th Jun '18 - 6:46am

    For once I agree with David. This is a by-election we might have won if it were held anytime between 1997 and 2010. Now we need a strategy to make sure we build on the result, rather than fade away as often happens after by-elections.

  • David Allen 15th Jun '18 - 9:56am

    Here’s an independent view:

    “Remainers have a massive incentive to register a protest. I estimate Labour will get somewhere between 45-55% and am leaning towards the lower end. ….

    Could such a result change the wider political landscape? Unlikely. As I’ve written before, there may very well be a large pool of ‘centrist’ voters, looking for an alternative to the Con/Lab duopoly, but the Lib Dems are not the vehicle to capitalise upon it. Their brand remains fundamentally damaged from their time in government and they are part of the ‘establishment’. Remainers will no doubt celebrate an improved Lib Dem result on Friday morning but ultimately, they’ve missed a trick.”


    Food for thought?

  • It was a by election in a safe Labour seat. One third do not vote at General Elections even where the result was fairly close before. It was a good result for the Liberal Democrats.

  • Ah Martin – Again a partial comment taken out of context. As you well know it was in response to your rather pessimistic comment in the members only area, which I will not quote here because it would be wrong to do so. Suffice it to say that my final sentence in that post was “For these two reasons it is vital as many of us as possible go to Lewisham and campaign and get out our vote.”

    Clearly, many Lib Dems worked hard to get as good a result for Lucy as possible, but it was not enough to turn the party’s fortunes around as we did in Witney. Suffice it to say, if we had got the same vote in Lewisham as we got in Witney – 11,611, we would have won.

  • Neil Monnery 15th Jun '18 - 4:58pm

    @David Allan – the person who wrote said piece is by no mean an independent. Voted Lib Dem in 2010 but hated the notion of a coalition and is now a fully paid up Corbynista…

  • Alex MacFie — 2003 and 2010, I’d agree. Pre Iraq the Blair mania shored up red seats in much the same way as the delusions of Corbyn are doing now. Leeds Central was the outlier in that era and even there Labour held on by a good margin.

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