Tag Archives: blue wall

Good coverage for Lib Dems ahead of local elections

Voters head to the polls tomorrow in local elections in many places across England. When these seats were last up, we did exceptionally well, gaining an incredible 700 Councillors and 10 Councils.

Then, the Conservatives lost over 3500 councillors and 44 Councils while Labour also had a small net loss.

Those were strange times. Millions turned to us in that election and the European elections a few weeks later and we became the focal point for opposition to Brexit. At that point we still held on to the hope that it might be stopped and we might secure a People’s Vote.

The signs on the ground bode well for further success next week. The Conservatives remain unpopular and we are hoping to gain in the so called Blue Wall seats we hope to win from the Conservatives in the General Election.

Ed did the media round yesterday and set out our stall well, talking first about the cost of living crisis on Good Morning Britain:

He also slammed the Government’s new voter ID requirements.

On Saturday, the Guardian had a piece on the Lib Dem plan to take Berkhamstead:

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Smashing the Blue Wall with a tractor

We promised you pictures from the launch of the party’s local election campaign today. Not content with a mallet, Ed Davey smashed the Blue Wall with a yellow tractor.

And this is what Ed said:

People are having to wait hours for an ambulance, weeks for a GP appointment or months for urgent cancer treatment as the NHS crisis spirals out of control. But the Conservatives have failed to deliver the new hospitals they promised and are breaking their pledge to recruit more GPs. It shows this Conservative government is out of touch, out of ideas and out of excuses.

The local elections in May are a chance to send a message that enough is enough: the British people are fed up with being taken for granted by the Conservative Party and want them out of government. From Stockport to Surrey, from Eastbourne to Esher, lifelong Conservative voters are saying ‘never again’ and backing Liberal Democrat candidates instead.

People are turning to the Liberal Democrats because they know we work hard for our communities, we hear your concerns, and we never take you for granted. It’s why we gained more seats than any other party at last year’s local elections – and why I know we’ll have more to celebrate across the country in May.

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Ed Davey: Lib Dems to target Labour voters in ‘blue wall’ swing seats

Ed Davey has been talking with the Guardian ahead of our Spring Conference. He outlines more about the Blue Wall strategy that the party has adopted – targeting parliamentary seats that are currently held by the Conservatives but where we were in second place.

The planned campaign of letters in Conservative-held commuter belt constituencies where the Lib Dems are the main challengers will be intended to persuade Labour supporters to lend their vote – not just as a means to change the government but because “they feel an affinity with us”, Davey said.

The letters, from Davey himself, will set out the Lib Dems’ promise to immediately restore overseas aid to 0.7% of GDP, saying it was vital the UK properly supported people in places such as Syria and Afghanistan.

For experienced campaigners there is nothing really new about this, although in the past the party has not always revealed its hand so clearly.

Ed said:

We want to make sure that in seats like these, people who would otherwise vote Labour aren’t voting for us just because we’re the only ones who can beat the Conservatives.

I’d like them to do it because they actually quite like us, and they feel an affinity with us. And I think they should with some of the positions we’ve been taking.

This isn’t being competitive against Labour in these seats, and I’m not trying to say you’re wrong to be Labour inclined. My push is to say: look at the Liberal Democrats. We share a lot in common.

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Ed starts Blue Wall tour and calls for more community police officers

Ed Davey heads out on the road today. He’s doing a 25 stop tour of Blue Wall seats ahead of the local elections and starts in the Lib Dem stronghold of Three Rivers. The Council has been in Lib Dem hands for decades, but the parliamentary seats have so far eluded us.

His tour will take in Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher and Walton, John Redwood’s seat in Wokingham, and other ultra marginal Blue Wall seats from Cheltenham to Cheadle.

Today in Three Rivers, Ed will  highlight shocking figures showing just 2% of local burglaries result in a suspect being charged. He will warn of a “silent epidemic” of crime sweeping across the country, accusing the Conservatives of going from the “party of law and order to the party of chaos and crisis.”

Analysis from our ace team of researchers  has shown that police forces across the Blue Wall have been disproportionately impacted by Conservative cuts, leaving them under-resourced, overstretched and unable to focus on tackling crime.

At the same time, Blue Wall communities are being hit hard by unsolved burglaries. Alongside Hertfordshire (2%), Gloucestershire (1%), Dorset (2%) and Hampshire (2%) have some of the lowest rates of burglaries resulting in a suspect being charged across the country.

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Poll highlights need for Lib Dems to develop compelling narrative

A poll of “blue wall” seats this week should make senior Lib Dems charged with delivering our next election campaign pause for thought.

Field work carried out by Redfield and Wilton Strategies last weekend shows Labour 7 points ahead of the Tories in seats the Conservatives currently hold in the south of England, but the party of Government gaining 2% and us going down 2% since the last poll a couple of weeks before.

Of the 42 seats that Redfield and Wilton count as the Blue Wall, there are not that many that we are seriously targeting so our 17% polling figure should not alarm us too much. However, the Tories are fixing their attention and massive resources on defending those seats and will not miss the opportunity to persuade people that these seats are between them and Labour not them and us. We will obviously be countering that where we are strong with local messaging so that people are in no doubt that it’s a two horse race between us and the Conservatives. We’ve been building very strong foundations in those seats over the past few years. However, we don’t want even a few people in the likes of Winchester and Esher and Walton thinking that they should be voting Labour to get rid of the Tories. If they do, then we’ll have Tory MPs, and surely nobody wants the likes of Dominic Raab in Parliament for another five years.

As Lib Dems we know the importance of targeting our resources very carefully. This, however, shouldn’t come completely at the expense of our national poll rating. The national mood music is very important both in our target seats and beyond. We need to be thinking about the political landscape for the next election and the one after that. Only by getting ourselves into more second places can we hope to properly break through. There is no point in winning a handful of seats in 2024 and ending up with the north face of the electoral Eiger to climb everywhere else.

Our national poll rating remains stubbornly low. We haven’t recovered from our coalition lows, except for that brief period when we were actually saying things that excited people in the early part of 2019. Capturing the imagination with a strong message and giving people a reason to vote for us is a good thing and we shouldn’t shy away from it.

We seem to be so terrified of saying anything that might upset the voters in the blue wall that we end up not saying anything at all. And those progressive minded voters who we need to  back us need to hear us talk about the things that matter to them too. And in truth, the things that matter to them matter to us.

I sense a frustration amongst activists in Labour facing areas that the increasingly centralised national Lib Dem campaign machine is not bothered enough with them.

We need to recover our boldness, passion and sense of indignation at what the Tories have done to this country super quick. We need to start using the P word, the S word the B word and the C word to show how the country can be a much better and happier place to live. We need to talk about ending poverty. We need to sympathise with the aims of our public sector workers who are striking for a decent pay rise and less stressful working conditions. We need to be much more robust in talking about the failures of Brexit which are damaging virtually every aspect of our lives. And we need to win the culture wars, not stand cowed as people are marginalised and demonised by the right wing media.

As Liberal Democrats we care deeply and instinctively about inequality and tearing down the barriers that people face that suck opportunity from them. That everyone should have enough food, safe and warm shelter and the resources to participate in life to the full should not be as controversial as the right wing media makes out every day, yet we don’t challenge them enough. We should be riding a coach and horses through the  Conservative narrative which sets people against each other. We want people to have a decent share of the pie, not fight each other for an ever decreasing pile of stale crumbs. So we need to start talking about ending poverty and giving people a fair crack of the whip.

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16 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • It’s Blue Wall Monday and families are paying the price
  • PC David Carrick: Lib Dems call for immediate investigation

It’s Blue Wall Monday and families are paying the price

Today marks Blue Monday when Brits are left counting up their Christmas bills.

For families in the Blue Wall, there is an additional hit to their finances: The Conservative Government.

New analysis by the Liberal Democrats reveals the typical family in the South East will be £760 worse off this January compared to last year – including paying an extra £620 more a month in mortgage …

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LibLink: Lib Dems plan ‘Labour squeeze’ in fight for suburban Tory seats

The Guardian has today covered reports that the Liberal Democrats will be attempting to squeeze the Labour vote in key target seats. Now, whilst this may not come as a huge surprise to Liberal Democrat activists, the article does offer some useful quotes from the likes of Zoe Franklin, our PPC in Guildford, noting the issues that arise from younger voters moving out of London;

We’re really aware of this shift of people moving from London,” Franklin said. “They would normally vote for Labour, but now found themselves in Surrey, and one of the things we really need to get

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On the road

Beth Rigby, the Political Editor at Sky News, has been chatting with Ed Davey.

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West Oxfordshire Alliance to be led by Lib Dems

West Oxfordshire District Council is to be led by a coalition of the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green parties after the Conservatives lost their majority last week for the first time in 22 years.

This marks a continuing trend in Oxfordshire, once a true blue wall outside the City of Oxford which remains solidly Labour. The Tories only holdout is now Cherwell in the north of the county.

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Johnson’s future – “Blue wall” Tory MPs targeted

On the i wesbsite, Richard Vaughan reports:

The Liberal Democrats are targeting Tory MPs representing the “Blue Wall” in the Southern shires demanding they submit a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson or face being “sacked by the public”.

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Helen Morgan: “Anger at Conservative Party like nothing I’ve heard”

The first Lib Dem MP elected to the North Shropshire seat, held by the Conservatives since 1832, has been writing in the Independent today. Helen Morgan says:

The result has been described by many as a “shock” and “totally unexpected”. Yet when you heard the anger and frustration that I heard on the doorstep each day, the result should have shocked nobody.

Helen speaks of her arrival at Westminster expecting to find a prime minister and a government willing to listen to voters in North Shropshire.

How wrong I was. The anger at Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was like nothing I’ve ever heard before… It begs the question, why won’t Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues listen to voters?

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Ed Davey: Lib Dems will turn the blue wall yellow


Ed Davey has put Conservative MPs like Dominic Raab (majority over Lib Dems 2743), Steven Brine (majority over Lib Dems 985) and William Wragg  (majority over Lib Dems 4423) on notice that the Liberal Democrats are coming after their seats at the next General Election.

He set out what we are doing to turn the blue wall of Conservative seats in the south west yellow and emphasised our importance in getting the Tories out of office. As we are the sole challengers in these areas, he said, we are a key part of depriving the Tories of a majority.

The party is beefing up its ground campaigning ability in areas including Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher and Walton in Surrey, Steven Brine’s seat in Winchester, and William Wragg’s Hazel Grove, all areas where Conservative MPs are defending wafer-thin majorities.

The party’s campaigning blitz will include a new fighting fund being launched this week, which will take donations to expand ground operations in key marginal Conservative seats.

The party has also set up a crack team of battle-hardened activists who played a key role in both the Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire by-election wins. The activists are being sent to key ‘Blue Wall’ seats to train up fellow campaigners ahead of the next election. The top campaigners, some of whom knocked on over 1,000 doors each during the North Shropshire by-election, will also regularly feedback to senior figures in the party on key issues coming up on the doorstep.

Finally the party is holding a ‘Blue Wall summit’ this year with activists from around the country, to learn from its campaign by-election successes and how to repeat them in marginal Conservative seats across the country.

Ed Davey said:

The North Shropshire by-election confirmed the Liberal Democrats are back as a formidable campaigning force in British politics, and that millions of disaffected Conservative voters are looking to us as an alternative.

We are now on battle stations and getting ready to turn the Blue Wall yellow at the next election.

Our thousands of campaigners are buoyed by our stunning wins in former Conservative heartlands, from Shropshire to Buckinghamshire.

We will now be looking carefully at how to replicate these stunning wins in dozens of marginal Conservative seats across the country.

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By Gove, my LUD is planning to level up!

In last week’s reshuffle, Robert Jenrick was booted out of cabinet and Michael Gove nudged across to take over the housing and planning brief. His duties as secretary of state now also include the struggling levelling up agenda. So the department that was most often called the housing ministry has been renamed the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, DLUHC, perhaps pronounced duller huck. Given the ordering of priorities in the title it seems inevitable that the department will be known as the Levelling Up Department, or LUD, though some may think that acronym LUDicrous. Indeed, it has attracted both criticism and satire.

Gove’s main job is to prevent the Blue Wall collapsing by rolling back Jenrick’s failing planning reforms. He must also secure the Red Wall by making levelling up happen. That’s tough for a man, although born in Aberdeen, who is identified with Blue Wall Tories. And there is already concern that local government will suffer yet again now it has been dropped from the department’s title. Michael Gove may feel he has a collar around his neck, tasked with delivering what his boss Boris Johnson could not.

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Tories’ southern “Blue wall” is crumbling

In the Independent today, Daisy Cooper MP says:

The Tory Blue Wall has started crumbling in this election as the Liberal Democrats move forward in Tory former heartlands.

From Cheltenham to Cambridgeshire, Wiltshire to Woking, nowhere is safe for the Tories in their Blue Wall. The age of no-go areas for the Liberal Democrats in traditionally Tory southern cities towns and villages is over.

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