Sarah Dyke Selected as Lib Dem Candidate for Somerset and Frome

The Liberal Democrats have selected Cllr Sarah Dyke as their candidate for the Somerton and Frome constituency.

Sarah lives in the constituency and is from a Somerset farming family which can be traced back over 250 years to the local area. Sarah worked in the agricultural industry and is Portfolio Holder for the Environment on South Somerset District Council where she is spearheading rewilding programmes, investment in electric vehicle charging points and the council’s zero-carbon targets.

Last week Sarah was elected to Somerset County Council to represent Blackmoor Vale, beating the head of the Conservatives’ dedicated anti-Lib Dem unit.

The Somerton and Frome election will be a close two horse race after the Liberal Democrats finished in a clear second in the seat at the last general election and this month gained control of Somerset County Council from the Conservatives.

The impressive results during the local elections saw the Liberal Democrats win 61 council seats across Somerset, almost double the number of Conservatives seats and with Labour in a distant third with just five seats. The Liberal Democrats also won the popular vote in the Somerton and Frome constituency.

Graph showing local elections result: LD 42%, Con 37%, Green 13%, Labour 3%

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP said:

“Sarah is a passionate campaigner who is determined to fight for a fair deal for communities across Somerton and Frome, who have been badly let down by the Conservative party.

“Sarah’s track record of protecting the local environment and standing up for local farmers shows she would make an excellent MP.

“I have heard loud and clear from local people that they are fed up with being taken for granted by Boris Johnson’s Conservative Government. There is real anger in Somerset at a Conservative Prime Minister who is hiking taxes on hard-working families and let GP waiting times spiral out of control.

“At the next election it will be a two horse race between Boris Johnson’s Conservative party and a committed local champion in Sarah Dyke.”

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Somerton and Frome Sarah Dyke said:

“I am delighted to have been selected and will fight for a fair deal for communities who have been ignored for too long by Conservative politicians.

“Villages and towns across Somerton and Frome have been taken for granted by the Conservative party. Our communities suffer from dangerously long waiting times to see a GP or NHS Dentist and disgusting sewage being dumped in our rivers.

“As someone from a farming family I understand the outrage at botched trade deals and the shambles over essential payments. I will stand up for our farmers who deserve a strong voice for them in Westminster.

“Local people voted for change when the Conservatives were ousted from Somerset County Council and it will be a two horse race to win Somerton and Frome at the next election.”

* Charley Hasted is a member of the Lib Dem Voice editorial team.

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10 Comments

  • She seems an excellent choice. Genuinely local, with a strong campaigning record. According to Mark Pack’s article, she seems to be particularly good on environmental action – which is important as the Greens are a growing presence in Somerset. Presumably they’ll be sensible enough not to stand a candidate, but we still need to actually win their votes, and it looks like Sarah will have a good chance of doing that.
    Unlike Martin, I think there /will/ be a by election. I’ve heard that this is the view of some in the party locally – It’s a question of when not if. The issue is more about the Russian loan than the cocaine/sex, apparently.
    A couple of irrelevant but faintly amusing points:
    1. If she does win a by election, our parliamentary party will have three Sarahs.
    2. According to her council bio, her house is called ‘The Rising Sun,’ which I’m sure we’ll hear about in many a media report once/if the by election gets underway.
    Anyway, she looks like a good, and smart choice. Go Sarah!

  • TonyH 15th May ’22 – 10:23pm……………..According to Mark Pack’s article, she seems to be particularly good on environmental action – which is important as the Greens are a growing presence in Somerset. Presumably they’ll be sensible enough not to stand a candidate………………….

    Would this be a call for the ‘pact’ that so many in this party are against?

  • @expats – I’m not in favour of any formal pacts, no. But I do think Labour, LibDems and Greens can be sensible in their campaign choices. Every seat is different and local parties should decide. So, no pacts but I would hope this is a situation where the Greens will see that they can’t win and we can, and that their standing a candidate would only help the Tories. And, as I say, a LD candidate with a genuine record of fighting for the environment might make that decision a bit easier for them.

  • TonyH 16th May ’22 – 9:17am………@expats – I’m not in favour of any formal pacts, no. But I do think Labour, LibDems and Greens can be sensible in their campaign choices. Every seat is different and local parties should decide. So, no pacts but I would hope this is a situation where the Greens will see that they can’t win and we can, and that their standing a candidate would only help the Tories…….

    TonyH, Any seat where a party (at local or national level) decides not to stand, is a ‘formal pact’..However, from past issues, I don’t know if this party (or Labour for that matter) would agree not to stand..
    I believe that, in Canterbury, our local candidate (Tim Walker) agreed not to stand but was overruled, disciplined and replaced by the leadership..
    With such a slender Labour majority this decision could well have allowed the Tory to win…..

  • David Chadwick 16th May '22 - 2:54pm

    I went to help Sarah and Nicola with some canvassing and delivering in their ward before last week’s elections. Sarah was very popular, had good name recognition and the soil certainly felt ripe for us. Local capacity building is essential for winning it at a GE.

  • The Greens don’t stand in all seats for a number of reasons. There have been times when it’s been a formal decision to recommend their supporters vote for us – Sarah Olney in the Richmond Park by-election being the most obvious example. An arrangement which has continued because the local Green party members trust Sarah to stand up for enough shared values, and because they didn’t want the Conservatives to win and because they’d rather allocate resources elsewhere.

    But other times they simply don’t stand a candidate and let their natural supporters decide how to vote. Other times they will stand a candidate, but put varying amounts of effort into the campaign. Many members think it’s important to stand candidates to boost their overall vote share, or because they don’t want the party or support for the environment to be taken for granted.

    If memory serves me correctly, the Richmond Park Greens had a meeting to decide whether they wanted to support Sarah specifically (not just a random LD), possibly with Sarah present at least once to answer questions. Sarah Dyke’s track record on the environment will do well to encourage greens and Greens to support her campaign. How formal that is will depend on local personalities and whether they’d rather focus their resources elsewhere.

  • Mick Taylor 16th May '22 - 4:31pm

    We really have to get away from the idea that a party that decides not to stand a candidate automatically gifts its party’s voters en bloc to other party. Frankly a decision by the greens to stand or not to stand will make no difference. What is important is to persuade voters that in Tiverton and Honiton we are best placed to beat the Tories and to encourage all voters who want to see the back of the Tories to ‘lend’ their votes to us. We do have to recognise that it is voters who should make the choice not political parties. So, not pacts, no agreements, just good campaigning. Of course, if another party puts up a candidate (as Labour is obliged to do under its rules) then if they choose not to campaign very hard or even quietly encourage their supporters to back us, then so be it. That’s their decision, not ours.

  • Alex Macfie 18th May '22 - 2:37pm

    expats: Tim Walker’s decision to walk away as Lib Dem candidate for Canterbury was unilateral and not supported by his local party, which was able to get a replacement candidate in place just in time. It has been suggested that he timed his flounce to give the local party as little time as possible. The Lib Dems probably mostly took votes that would otherwise have gone to the Tories, but TBH it’s a moot point in that particular seat since Rosie Duffield held the seat for Labour with a much-increased majority which was greater than the Lib Dem vote.

  • Alex Macfie 18th May '22 - 2:59pm

    “if another party puts up a candidate (as Labour is obliged to do under its rules)” but it it? Labour, like us, did not put up a candidate in the Southend West by-election. This was a mistake, as the logic of that stance is that representatives are party ciphers who can be replaced without meaningful contest by someone who merely shares the same party label as them, which means we really shouldn’t have by-elections at all, but instead have a formal process for the departed representative’s oriinal party to nominate a replacement without election. But whatever the reason, it’s clear that the idea that Labour is “obliged” to stand a candidate is a myth. Nonetheless, I’d rather they did stand a candidate (and not campaign), so that it’s clear to the electorate that Labour and Lib Dems are separate parties.

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