Liz Leffman narrows the odds of a Lib Dem victory at Witney

Liz LeffmanIt’s all go at Witney. Here are some of the highlights of the last few days:

  • Hundreds of helpers descended on our Witney HQ over the weekend, with queues of party activists outside the building on Sunday morning, keen to do canvassing and leaflet delivery
  • Special pink Liz Leffman diamond posters have gone up to raise awareness of Breast cancer.
  • Two people came off the street to help the campaign on Saturday and, when they’d finished, joined the party.
  • Liz Leffman has launched a new petition to save services being cut by the Tories at local hospitals.
  • Liz Leffman started as a 50/1 outsider with the bookies. As campaign got into top gear, those odds were slashed to 12/1 and even 8/1.

Keep up to date with Witney campaign news by following Liz Leffman on Twitter and Facebook.

You can volunteer to help Liz’s campaignhere.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Parliamentary by-elections.


  • Richard Underhill 4th Oct '16 - 11:01am

    Weather good all this week. Signing lists from previous bye-elections have usually shown someone from the Orkney and Shetland local party.

  • Steve Griffiths 4th Oct '16 - 4:26pm

    I don’t have to go down to Witney constituency – I live there. I re-joined the party last year after a tuition fees/Richard Reeves/bedroom tax etc. induced ‘retirement’ – I had originally joined the Liberal party in the late 60s (as a Young Liberal). I worked in the Mid Oxon Constituency (which later became Witney) for the party for some 30 years eventually serving as district councillor (eight years) and vice-chair of housing. After much soul-searching; watching Tim Farron’s speeches and waiting to see whether any vestige of the party that I remember, still existed post Tory coalition, I have carried out my first act on re-joining. Yesterday I walked into the campaign office to offer my help.

  • Welcome home Steve.

  • Lots of people would vote for the Lib Dems if they thought you could win We have to let the population know that the Lib dems are back and that they can win.
    We need a hashtag for Witney that signifies the revival and we need to get as many as possible to use the hashtag. Maybe not one that implies victory, as if you don’t win it will stop the campaign in it’s tracks.
    I suggest #TheMiddleGround or #TheCentralGround something like that and focus that the Tories have gone far right and Labour far left. The libs need to emphasise in a massive way that they now have the middle 2/3rds of the political spectrum. Tories/UKIP have moved to the extreme right. Labour to the extreme left.
    Libs need to take #TheMiddleGround

  • The middle ground doesn’t sound very inspiring. Centre ground is a bit better, but it’s still a bit apologetic, especially as hashtag.

    However, I agree that it’s vital that people believe a vote for the LibDems is worth something. I think we have very strong arguments on why anti-Brexit, or anti-Tory protesters should give Liz their vote, so it’s a case of getting the message out there, so that people aren’t left swithering about where to place their X on the day. The team have done a great job so far, as evidenced by the bookies’ odds, but we can’t afford to be complacent.

    I was thrilled to see that the Facebook group “Scientists for EU” are encouraging their followers to lend their support to Liz.

    It’s quite interesting to read the comments, so long as you ignore the people trying to re-run the actual EU referendum campaign.

  • Andrew Chadwick 13th Oct '16 - 3:30pm

    There was a point here about ‘ignoring people who want to rerun the referendum’. I don’t know what the official brief is for campaigning, but here is the position I on Twitter as @chadatom, and many others seem to have arrived at, and so far as I understand it this is consistent with the LibDem ‘Plan for Europe’
    1) The Leave campaign was untruthful, gained a narrow victory and there are many Leave voters who now, seeing prices rising as the pound falls, are seeing that ‘Project Fear’ held many truths and not just a smokescreen – so we do need to consider that even now a majority may wish to Remain
    2) However, it is practical to recognise that the result fo the actual vote does commit the government at least to explore through negotation what might be possible and if they can honestly find a better future than the present position, to recommend it to Parliament.
    3) Our position is that choice on the ‘destination’ should be put to public vote. Two important reasons for this are:

  • Andrew Chadwick 13th Oct '16 - 3:34pm

    a) That the Leave offer was a set of inconsistencies offering both protectionism and free trade at the same time, and in real life the form of Brexit (hard or soft) is a further choice that was not made in the referendum
    b) Most informed views are that a hard Brexit would be very economically damaging to the UK, and a soft Brexit is something that is not likely to be swallowed politically by those afraid of UKIP. We in the LIbDems stand for values diametrically opposite to UKIP – for tolerance, UK’s position on the world through cooperation in Europe – and so must also make sure that the option of Remain stays on the table.

    So if the UK people are given an informed choice, this will either clarify or may possibly reverse the result of the June 23rd referendum – but only if that is the ‘informed will’ of the people at that time in the light of what arrangements with our European partners and other countries are actually arrived at as practicable.

  • Andrew Chadwick 13th Oct '16 - 3:53pm

    Continued further:
    A final point around this, relevant to the current legal case about the right of MPs to vote on article 50, is that while a majority of current MPs may feel the need to vote for some form of Article 50 as entailed by the outcome of the June 23rd referendum. there are many ways in which this support could be qualified:
    i) requiring the Government to set out a clear hierarchy of priorities for the negotating position, for example the relative priority of financial passporting with freedom of movement for UK service providers in Europe, relative to some restriction on freedom of movement
    ii) crucially, declaring a conditional Article 50 which would then be interpreted as our ‘constitutional requirement’, removing any doubt that at the end of the negotation, if the UK population to not prefer what he been negotiated to the status quo, we could just remain in the EU and see a recovery in sterling and UK company shares.
    iii) In alliance with the SNP and Plaid Cymru and N Ireland interests, setting out a ‘quadruple lock’ on leaving the EU which might at the same time protect the integrity of the UK, still an important point for many voters though one that falls out of the news.

    The vital point here is that it will be viable to stay in, and even maybe to ‘lead in Europe’ as part of a second tier of non-Euro countries, with increasing common interests with Switzerland. I am not at all sure that it would be viable to rejoin since that would require unanimous consent of the other EU27, and can we be sure they would want to have us back?

    I have not seen clarity on the conditional Article 50 within the LibDem policy, even though in time this comes before a vote on the Brexit deal – tagged now as #BrexDealVote on Twitter. Owen Smiths’ position here was far clearer. I think this is what Tim Farron is arguing for and also Paddy Ashdown but have no idea about Nick Clegg – can anyone clarify exactly what the party position is on Article 50?

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