Local elections: ‘It will be tough for us’

In the Guardian, deputy political editor Rowena Mason, gave the lowdown on the Lib Dem local election campaign launch in Merton.

“This set of local elections is about gaining and building on ‘footholds’ where the Lib Dems are strong in nearby areas, says one of the party’s senior electoral strategists… The Lib Dems are feeling chipper after surprise byelection wins at Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire. They believe this test at the local elections in places like Wimbledon will show they have the potential to break new electoral ground in 2023-24.

“The party is fairly entrenched in about 27 councils in the UK, with disparate pockets of Lib Dem power in south-west London, Somerset and Cumbria. However, there are few places where the party is poised to take over any councils or even knock the governing parties into no overall control from second place, although they are hoping for a miracle in Labour-held Hull…

“The Lib Dem activists have the energy of insurgents… It is hard to know whether their optimism will translate into hard wins – and the party leadership is not sounding confident about any taking any new councils, despite the scandal-hit position of the Tories nationally.”

Ed Davey said:

It will be tough for us because we won a lot of councils four years ago – Kingston, Richmond and South Cambs. So we are fighting from a high base. There’s a few we can win, but it’s difficult.

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  • I understand the management of expectations but the context of these elections could be very good for Lib Dems. even in areas like West Yorkshire where our performance in recent years has been the worst in Yorkshire (well done colleagues in South Yorkshire). The language about the government is almost unprecedented since Thatcher at her least popular. Meanwhile the Labour Party is in deep trouble internally. I am stepping down this time after representing a basically working class ward in Bradford for twelve years. It is always a furious battle with Labour but in those twelve years we have lost only once – in 2011. For the moment the ward still feels Lib Dem friendly but having past the first polling day deadline (postals) there are still sixteen days to go to the second….

  • Chris Moore 19th Apr '22 - 2:48pm

    It’s not even factually very convincing.

    The LDs have decent representation in many more than 27 of the councils in play.

    In Hull, they need 3 gains for victory, not a “miracle”.

  • Gordon Lishman 20th Apr '22 - 7:38am

    The use of the phrase “ one of the party’s senior electoral strategists” particularly when there’s no reason for anonymity, is an indicator that these are off- the-cuff opinings my someone who is neither “senior” nor much of a strategist!

  • Peter Hirst 20th Apr '22 - 1:18pm

    Cooperation with other Parties would increase our prospects for these local elections. Without PR it is more important to give the electorate a realistic chance of having their vote count. Forming coalitions is one way of doing this.

  • Neil James Sandison 22nd Apr '22 - 11:10am

    Rowena Mason never heard of her understand she works for a newspaper with a very limited number of readers . Talk of deals at a local level is much over-rated at we have certainly seen no evidence of it from our opponents in marginal wards where my council elects by thirds annually . What will really matter is what we do on 6th May when the results are mostly in and how we build a legacy from this years results to aid us through 2023/24 which the current chancellor has telegraphed there is likely -hood of a general election with promised tax give a ways .

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