Lib Dems surge in Shapps’ constituency

Watford PPC Sal Brinton brings an account of the excellent Lib Dem performance in Welham Green.

The first by-election of 2008, and the first under Nick Clegg’s Leadership has given us a swing to the Liberal Democrats of 22%, and a very strong second place, in Welham Green, part of Welwyn Hatfield District Council (Grant Shapps MP’s local seat).

The full results were —

Conservative: 539 votes; 41% (67% in 2006); -26% change
Labour: 88 votes; 7% (19% in ’06); -12% change
John Elvy (Liberal Democrat): 484 votes; 37% (15% in ’06); +22 % change
BNP: 214 votes; 16% (n/a ’06); +16% change

John was a strong candidate fighting on genuinely local issues, with excellent literature from Watford’s Stephen Giles-Medhurst, and well done to Paul Zukowsky for managing the campaign over Christmas and the New Year. We out-delivered the BNP on literature (including a Christmas Card on Christmas Eve), woke a complacent Tory team up at the last minute, and trounced Labour into a very poor third place.

The election was called following the resignation of the Tory Cllr, following pornographic literature being found on his council laptop. We were determined not to let the BNP get a foothold, so colleagues from Hertfordshire piled in to help. Canvassing in the run up to and over Christmas was interesting to say the least!

During polling day the BNP teller numbers crept up (at one point there were three burly chaps crowding out the vestibule making it difficult for electors to get in), but firm action by the returning officer and the police sent all but one on their way. The police presence was welcome and reassuring.

There was a glorious moment at the count when Grant Shapps suddenly thought they’d lost it (I heard him swearing behind me!). It was matched only by the large BNP entourage slinking out during the result being announced.

A good start to 2008!

Sal Brinton is PPC for Watford

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9 Comments

  • Under the circumstances the Tories did well to keep the seat.

  • I’ve just had an email from Grant, who says he doesn’t swear, and given that it was an amicable (albeit exciting!) count, shall we just say that he certainly made his surprise known.

  • matt severn 5th Jan '08 - 11:37am

    yeah, but we didnt win.

    Still, Go Sal!

  • Justin at 2. I would call getting within 4% of winning a seat as close.

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