Liberal Democrat success in Liverpool

I tend not to write pieces for political websites as I don’t consider myself a great writer and often shy away from the challenge.

However, I couldn’t resist an opportunity to talk about, and thank our many volunteers, for the excellent results we had in Liverpool on Thursday night and Friday morning.

First, a bit of context.  When I became Chair at the end of 2014, the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool were facing an enormous challenge.  Once the largest Lib Dem groups in Europe could soon face having just one councillor left with Erica Kemp CBE. As brilliant as she is, I’m sure she wouldn’t have enjoyed the council on her own.  So we put in place a strategy to identify a number of different wards where we could hold and finish a strong second – not just spread our resources too thinly across the city.  We decided that a huge door-knocking effort would be to key to success alongside lots of hard hitting leaflets.  The result was holding on to Richard Kemp CBE with an increased majority and a good result in our target wards going forward.

A year on, nearly 11,000 doors knocked and hundreds of thousands of leaflets delivered we have reaped the rewards of our strategy.

Richard Kemp secured 21.1% of the Mayoral vote (up from 6% previously), finishing second and cutting into the ‘gutter politics’ Labour Mayor’s vote, and finishing well above the Greens.

In the City Council elections we gained Woolton, Allerton and Hunts Cross from Labour and held on to Church Ward (the ward we held on with Richard in 2015) with a 1,400+ majority.

Cllr Malcolm Kelly, Cllr Mirna Juarez and Cllr Andrew Makinson should all be proud of their campaigns.

In the Police and Crime Commissioner election Chris Carubia finished a strong third with a big increase in our vote and held on to the £5000 deposit!

In the wards where we made gains, it’s clear that a number of things made the difference.  Door-knocking was key to feeding Connect with accurate information. We identified lots of Tory voters who we could squeeze to ensure victory.  Our literature was superb.  Andrew Makinson should win an award for the excellent newspapers and leaflets he designed.

Treating postal vote polling week seriously was so important and for a whole week we did nothing else but knock on postal voters.

This weekend I’m sure our team will want to rest and try to return to a state of normality.  However, in a couple of days I will be meeting with our executive to decide on how best we can use our resources to ensure we stay in the European Union in the upcoming referendum.

I can’t thank our candidates, members and volunteers enough for all their hard work.   I know that if we keep up the same momentum we can make more gains in city council elections in 2018.

* Kris Brown is Chair of the Liverpool Liberal Democrats. Kris was also agent for Richard Kemp (Mayoral candidate), Chris Carubia (PCC candidate) and the majority of city council candidates

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  • Well done Kris – the whole party should be enthused by and ecstatic about your success. Hope we can all learn your lessons.

  • A huge amount of credit must go to Kris whose disciplined approach to door knocking is second to none. He’s deterred by nothing.

  • Bill le Breton 7th May '16 - 1:00pm

    Monumental result.

  • Simon Thomson 7th May '16 - 2:18pm

    Excellent result Kris, I’m originally from the Wirral and was previously Chairman of the Wirral South constituency party so I’m always interested Lib Dem results on Merseyside. Both yourself and the team in Wirral should be pleased, as one Lib Dem said on Twitter is does feel as if the gloom that has engulfed the party hasfinalky started to lift.

  • David Blake 7th May '16 - 3:43pm
  • Chris Davies 7th May '16 - 5:25pm

    So good to feel that we have turned a corner in Liverpool, even with such a long way to go.

    Richard’s 21% in the mayoral was really impressive given the difficulty of communicating to an electorate over such an area and with so few resources.

  • Jonathan Brown 7th May '16 - 11:54pm

    Don’t know if anyone else has commented on this, but UKIP’s vote was tiny. That’s really interesting. I wonder what is special about Liverpool that makes the city almost immune? Is it that people from Labour-leaning communities have other alternatives to UKIP if they want to move away (without going to the Tory dark side)?

    Or are there other local factors?

  • UKIP’s nasty out-there politics is already covered by Joe Anderson. Plus, ultimately Liverpool is a cultured and very diverse place. It isn’t a good growth area for UKIP.

    There is a huge potential for growth in Liverpool in the coming years. My contribution to the campaign was pretty just leafleting and making sure Old Swan had a candidate (I got 8%!), which was a tiny amount compared to the herculean effort put forward by so many others in the south of the city.

    Our next challenge is growing on this result in 2018. Labour here are a big, squishy target. With a breather year, we have a big potential to hammer home some really good results in 2018, cleanly return to being the largest opposition group on the council and from there threaten Labour’s perch by 2020.

    – Huw Dawson
    Candidate, Old Swan

  • Steve Comer 8th May '16 - 8:39am

    Great to see Allerton and Woolton back in the Lib Dem fold, and a truly impressive increase in the Mayoral vote shows this is not just a localised improvement.
    And great comment from Chris about the EU referendum. I’m sure many activists will be shattered this weekend, but we must rally round and defeat the authoritarians and demagogues who want to take us out of the EU.

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