Tag Archives: by-elections

ALDC By-Election report – 8 February 2024

There were 4 principal by-elections this week on a soggy and snowy Thursday. 

We start with a cracking result on West Northamptonshire Council where Councillor Carl Squires gained East Hunsbury and Shelfleys ward from the Conservatives. Carl overcame a 1000 vote Conservative majority and took the seat from 3rd place in 2021 – increasing the Lib Dem vote share by over 15%! Congratulations to Carl and the West Northamptonshire Lib Dem team. 

West Northamptonshire Council, East Hunsbury and Shelfleys
Liberal Democrats (Carl Squires): 820 (38.8%, +15.8)
Conservative: 746 (35.3%, -16.9)
Labour: 547 (25.9%, +1.1)

Thank you to Lib Dem candidate Andrew Joyce for standing in Criccieth ward on Gwynedd Council and giving voters a Lib Dem option on the ballot paper. Plaid Cymru gained the seat from an Independent councillor. 

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11 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for Ofcom investigation on GB News “bias and misleading” reporting of Post Office scandal
  • Double by-election: Conservative majority being whittled away
  • NHS waiting lists soar by 400,000 since Sunak made pledge to cut them

Lib Dems call for Ofcom investigation on GB News “bias and misleading” reporting of Post Office scandal

  • Deputy Leader slams Farage and Conservative MP presenters for “bias, misleading and at times, frankly absurd news reporting”
  • Conservative politicians lining up to host TV shows in election year whilst refusing to criticise their own party

The Liberal Democrats have written to Ofcom to demand an investigation into the reporting of the Post Office Horizon scandal by Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lee Anderson.

The party has noted that the Reform Party Chairman Farage and Conservative MP Rees-Mogg both failed to report on the scandal impartially, after they attacked opposition parties without including the Conservative government’s role.

In a letter to the Chief Executive of Ofcom, Daisy Cooper MP also noted that Lee Anderson cannot be trusted to report without bias on the matter, after non-stop attacks on the Leader of the Liberal Democrats on social media and in the House of Commons.

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Blue walls to giant cannons and all the memes in between

Love them or loathe them – those victory stunts should teach Lib Dem campaigners one thing: clear, simple communications will be key to success at the next election.

There seems to be a new dividing line in Lib Dem WhatsApp groups: between those who are excited for each new stunt, and those hiding behind the sofa, wondering when they are safe to emerge.

Whichever camp you might be in, there is a serious point we all must take from these stunts. They cut through. But why?

Money-can’t-buy coverage

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but these stunts are probably not aimed at Lib Dem party faithful. They are designed to captivate photojournalists, meme developers, social content writers.

These stunts achieve what so many who work in brand communications crave – wall to wall coverage complete with a key message. I cannot count as a seasoned communications professional the number of times the ask has been summaried as “help us go viral”. Whilst there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, an authentic stunt with a clear message that links to your campaign and that is a bit fun, is the best way to get attention. Authentic really is key to success as without authenticity they flop. If you need proof beyond the political sphere, look at the plethora of Barbie stunts – some very small but all authentic and on-message.

The thing about these stunts is they have media hooked, they all want to know what the next Lib Dem celebration will be, what the photos will look like. This means media turn up, they give us more attention than they might otherwise and therefore we get more coverage.

For local parties, the same principle can be used for social channels or focus leaflets – if you make a simple point in a compelling manner, people will come back again and again. They will want to know what you have to say and you will be seen as an authority.

For all the jokes, the Blue Wall stunt did change the narrative. It introduced the phrase into media vernacular and made it clear, the Lib Dems were back.

Simplicity is key

I make this point as we’ve all seen those focus leaflets – three-line headlines with commas, sub-clauses followed by an article written in 8pt font face and full of every intricacy of a piece of planning policy. This is great for a certain section of Lib Dem members (not me) or an online article for those who are interested. Focus leaflets like this won’t win elections.

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14 June 2023 – the day’s press releases

  • GDP: Govt more obsessed with infighting than getting economy moving
  • Two bookies declare Lib Dems favourite to win Mid-Bedfordshire by-election
  • Mortgage misery: Sunak must hold emergency summit in Downing Street
  • By-elections: From Uxbridge to Selby people are sick to their back teeth with Conservative MPs
  • Johnson vs Jenkin: Conservative Party in full blown civil war
  • Dorries should step aside now

GDP: Govt more obsessed with infighting than getting economy moving

Responding to new GDP statistics which show a 0.2% rise in April, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Month after month we see the economy growing at a snail’s pace – it’s clear this government is just totally out of ideas and out of control.

The Conservatives seem more obsessed with infighting than putting in the hard work needed to get our economy moving again.

This Government soap opera needs to end so we can get on with the job and give people a fair deal. We finally need to see a proper plan to grow the economy and tackle the soaring price of food, mortgage bills and energy.

Two bookies declare Lib Dems favourite to win Mid-Bedfordshire by-election

  • Ladbrokes and Betfred declare the seat a two-horse race between Liberal Democrats and Conservative party, with Labour in third
  • Odds slashed on Liberal Democrats to win crunch by-election as party makes a flying start to the campaign
  • Leader Ed Davey has made two visits to the constituency in the first week

Betting agencies Ladbrokes and Betfred have slashed the odds on the Liberal Democrats to win the Mid-Bedfordshire by-election.

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Davey: We won’t step aside for Labour in West Lancashire but…

Labour MP Rosie Cooper who has represented West Lancashire since 2005 has announced she is stepping down as an MP after 17 years to chair the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Speaking Kay Burley yesterday, Ed Davey paid tribute to Cooper and said the Lib Dems would not be stepping aside to give Labour a clear run.

What we don’t do is waste money putting it into elections where we are not convinced we can win. We target our resources. We will always give electors a choice. Of course we will have a candidate. That’s the democratic thing to do.

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Labour takes Wakefield

Simon Lightwood has won the Wakefield by-election overturning the Conservative majority of 3,358 to deliver a 4,925 majority for Labour. He won 13,166 votes, while the Conservative Nadeem Ahmed received 8,241 votes.

This will be cheering news for Keir Starmer, who has been recently taken flak from his own MPs for being boring. It also begins the process of retaking seats in the Red Wall lost to the Tories in 2019.

Our thanks to Jamie Needle for offering Wakefield voters the option to vote Liberal Democrat.

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Lib Dems take Highley in Shropshire

Some good news to begin the night while we wait for the Tiverton and Honiton result.

Congratulations to Mark Williams who takes Lib Dem number of the unitary Shropshire Council to 14, the second largest party. This was a hard fought campaign for a seat the Conservatives wanted to win, after they lost 12% of their seats in the 2021 all up council elections including the then council leader who was ousted by a Lib Dem. Late last year, the Conservatives lost the North Shropshire constituency to Helen Morgan.

Helen was among the large team of campaigners from across Shropshire and beyond that leafleted and canvassed in the constituency from the day the by-election was called after the resignation of an independent councillor.

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The polls open in Tiverton and Honiton, Wakefield and local by-elections

It is 7.00am and the polls have opened in the two headline by-elections of today. The Lib Dems have been prioritising their efforts in Tiverton and Honiton in mid-Devon, with hundreds of activists and most of the party’s MPs turning out to deliver leaflets and knock on doors. Labour’s interest of course has been in Wakefield where it hopes to begin taking back the Red Wall seats it lost in 2019.

Both by-elections were triggered by MPs resigned in disgrace.

Keir Starmer has said a victory in Wakefield “could be the birthplace of the next Labour government”. If Labour win, Starmer can face down his critics in the constituency and in the shadow cabinet who describe him as “boring”.

Ed Davey is under no such pressure – the Lib Dems having secured two impressive by-election victories in Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire within just over a year. He has been very active in all the campaigns, including in Tiverton and Honiton. He is also more social and comfortable with voters than Starmer appears to be.

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Welcome to my day: 2 May 2022 – “take the last train to Honiton, and I’ll meet you at the station…”

I’m old enough to remember the 1992-97 Major administration, which fell apart amidst scandal, misfortune and incompetence. Admittedly, it was incompetence which paled in comparison to that of the current mob, but many are beginning to draw the same conclusion, i.e. that this is a rotten government, simply needing a hard enough push to fall apart.

Unfortunately, I’m also old enough to remember 1992, when it looked like the Conservatives would lose, only for the electorate to conclude that they weren’t quite ready to do the deed.

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By-election round-up – terrific Lib Dem gains

Three excellent results for us today.

Surrey Heath

Huge congratulations to Liz Noble for a stonking win, in Michael Gove’s constituency.

Maldon

And another superb result for us in a Tory area. Congratulations to Paula Spenceley.

The previous Independent councillor was disqualified because of his behaviour.

Hatfield

We also took a seat from Labour in Briars ward on Hatfield Town Council.

Congratulations to Helena Goldwater!

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ALDC by-election report: 29th July 2021

With Lib Dems competing in four of the five principal authority by-elections on Thursday, this really was one to watch. Two fantastic principal authority gains in Harrogate and Norfolk, and some great town council performances with a win in Knaresborough and near miss in Woodley meant a good night for Lib Dems.

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By-election report from ADLC: 22nd July 2021

A very mixed picture this week in the world of local council by-elections. From the highs of the phenomenal hold in Camden, to the lows of not even standing in a Liberal Democrat held seat. Of the eight principal authority contests across England and Wales this week, we only stood in four. It’s essential that we, as a political party that takes local government and community seriously, give voters a Liberal Democrat to vote for at every available opportunity. Nevertheless, we also saw some good performances in some town and parish councils this week, managing to gain two seats, and seeing a narrow miss in another.

The headline story is of course winning the Fortune Green by-election in Camden.

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Littleborough and Saddleworth – 25 years on

Shocking as it may seem, this week saw the 25th anniversary of a great 1990s Lib Dem triumph – when we won the Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election.

It was the first big by-election I had ever been to and I loved it.

I wrote here about meeting by-election legend Pat Wainwright there.

She greeted us with smiles and very clear instructions about what work we were to do.

She wasn’t afraid to tear a strip of me for doing something wrong either. “You eejit”, she quite justifiably yelled.  She certainly didn’t mince her words but I just did better next time. We had an absolute hoot.

One day she was on the phone giving life advice to someone. Exactly the sort of life advice we all need our friends to give us sometimes, in no uncertain terms.

Bob and I had only popped in for an afternoon to the headquarters in Shaw at the start of a week of travelling around the north west and the Lakes. But we had so much fun we ended up spending our entire holiday there. It was Bob’s first by-election and he got RSI from stuffing envelopes. We had a brilliant time and made several trips back there including for the last few days. I met a few people at that by-election who have become friends for life, too. 

I remember one very enjoyable afternoon skiving in the pub with ALDC’s Pam Tilson, now back in Northern Ireland.
The by-election came about after the death of Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens. In those days, the government did everything it could to avoid moving the writ in case their majority dwindled to nothing. These days they tend to be called very quickly to prevent an insurgent campaign gaining traction. In the run-up to the election, John Major resigned as Tory leader in what was a pretty classy attempt to get rid of his Eurosceptic “bastards.” He easily won the contest against John Redwood but the divisions in his party remained and grew.
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Yesterday’s by-elections

Huge congratulations to Ollie Patrick who held on to Parrett in South Somerset with 52% of the vote and to Manuela Perteghella who gained Welford-on-Avon with 43%!

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Welsh Lib Dems Announce Ryan Jones as Candidate for Newport West

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced Ryan Jones as their candidate for the Newport West Parliamentary by-election on April 4th.

Ryan Jones, 32, lives in The Gaer, having been brought up in Cwmbran. He runs his own construction business in Newport employing 30 people in the city. As a local employer, Ryan is very keen on supporting young people who aren’t fulfilled within the traditional workforce.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Candidate for Newport West Ryan Jones said:

It’s an honour to be selected as the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for this Newport West by-election.

I look forward to opposing our Conservative UK Government, a government

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ALDC commentary on last Thursday’s by-elections


https://twitter.com/ConorMcKenzie/status/1070821071803289600
We’re back after a busy couple of weeks including our biggest ever Kickstart training weekend. Four by-elections took place yesterday across the UK with Lib Dem candidates standing in all. Two seats were being defended by Lib Dem candidates, one by Labour and one by the Conservatives.

Oxford BC, Wolvercote
LD Liz Wade 998
Con 404
Lab 162
Green 86
Turnout 35.6%
LD Hold
Percentage change from 2018

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0-67% in Watton. Can we do it elsewhere?

The by-election in Watton-at-Stone in August saw Liberal Democrats take 67% of the vote in a ward we’d not contested in three decades. This is in East Herts District, where we lost our last councillors in 2015 and all the sitting councillors were elected as Tories. Can we do this elsewhere?

The local party benefited considerably from the help and expertise of Paul Zukowskij from HC3, and through him from other people in Hertfordshire, and also from Cambridgeshire (particularly from Mary Regnier Wilson who ran the committee room on polling day).

The stark contrast in my mind is with another recent by-election, in Petersfield ward in Cambridge, where what felt like an army of campaigners worked our socks off, but didn’t win. Significantly more effort went into Petersfield than Watton, but…

In the back of my mind is the memory of door-knocking in South Cambridgeshire in the 2017 County campaign and having people say “I would vote Liberal Democrat, but there’s no point around here because the Tories always win”. That’s the South Cambridgeshire where we took control of the District Council in May this year…

Also in the back of my mind is the memory of the 2017 General Election and knocking on doors in elsewhere in East Herts where people were glad to see a canvasser: comments included “the political parties don’t care about us” and “I’ve lived in this house for 20 years and you’re the first canvasser to knock on my door”. The only Tory leaflet I saw in that campaign in Hertford and Stortford constituency was their freepost.

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Manchester Gorton: Times reports on “serious challenge by the Liberal Democrats”

According to the Times today (£) the Liberal Democrats are putting up a serious challenge to Labour in the Manchester Gorton seat. We know that’s true, of course, because we are running a pretty vigorous campaign. Key people in the party are making it known that they are clearing their diaries and heading there as much as they possibly can. However, it’s good to hear serious journalists taking serious note of what they are being told:

With the vote less than three weeks away, party sources said that the Lib Dems were stronger than they had been in the Witney by-election, when Tim Farron’s party lost but achieved a 19.3 per cent swing from the Tories.

Losing would be a disaster for Labour and would rank as one of the great by-election shocks. The 31 per cent swing required for a Lib Dem victory would be the eighth largest since the war, according to Matt Singh, an election analyst.

The Guardian quotes a campaign briefing written by the Party’s Deputy Campaigns Director Dave McCobb:

But a briefing for senior Lib Dem officials and campaigners – written by deputy director of campaigns Dave McCobb – says the party’s messages on Brexit, including calls for a second referendum on the outcome of negotiations, are winning over voters in a seat where more than 60% voted remain in last June’s Brexit referendum.

McCobb says the Lib Dems are making up ground fast and are on 31%, with Labour on 51% – a level of support that is, he says, “running well ahead of where we were in the Witney byelection and approaching Richmond Park levels of support at this stage.”

But someone doesn’t seem to have noticed this:

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LibLink: Jackie Pearcey: Only the Lib Dems can stop a hard Brexit

Writing on the Times Red Box site (£), Manchester Gorton’s brilliant Lib Dem candidate Jackie Pearcey has said that only the Lib Dems can offer national opposition to a hard brexit and take on a Labour Party which takes people for granted.

She outlines some of the ways that they have done so in Gorton – in a city where they have all but one councillor:

Residents here are also tired of being ignored by the Labour-run council, which has become a de facto one-party state. This constituency is full of proud communities, passionate about improving their area. I was proud to serve as a councillor here for 21 years, fighting hard with local people to protect green spaces and improve services.

Years of neglect by the council have taken their toll. Many of the roads now have more craters than a lunar landscape. A deeply unpopular decision to reduce bin sizes has led to an epidemic of fly-tipping. Small business owners are struggling with soaring rents. These are the symptoms of a Labour party that takes voters for granted and is more interested in spending cash on glitzy developments in the city centre than investing in the neglected suburbs.

A Labour win would let them off the hook, she says:

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John Leech writes: Come and help deliver a knockout blow to Labour and hard Brexit in Gorton

Having spent the last few weeks delivering leaflets and talking to residents in Manchester Gorton I wanted to share my thoughts on the by-election.

Manchester Gorton presents a huge opportunity for us as a party. The response that we are getting for our candidate, Jackie Pearcey, is really very impressive. I have been struck by the number of people who have told me on the doorstep how much better their local area was when they were represented by local Lib Dem Councillors like Jackie. This is a constituency that voted 65% remain, had 19 out of 21 Lib Dem Councillors just a few years ago and where we used to get a very substantial vote at the general election. This is a real chance to show that we can do to Labour in Manchester what we did to the Tories in Witney. We are the only party that is openly campaigning against Theresa May’s Hard Brexit agenda in this election. The Labour candidate even said he agreed with Corbyn to 3 line whip the vote to trigger article 50!

Quite simply the only barrier to us winning this seat right now is people not thinking we can win and not coming to help. When we won Manchester Withington in 2005 our biggest challenge was persuading people that the effort there was worthwhile. In Manchester Gorton it really is. This is our opportunity to deliver a knockout blow to Labour and show up their hypocrisy on Brexit. Getting a good result in Manchester Gorton improves the chances for all of us facing Labour in elections in the future.

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Game on in Gorton – By-election on 4th May

It was never going to be any other day, but the writ for the Manchester Gorton by-eleciton has now been moved and the poll will take place on 4th May.

Lib Dem candidate Jackie Pearcey had this to say on Twitter:

Tim Farron sent members an email asking them for money to boost Jackie’s campaign. He said:

We’ve already been hard at work for weeks, and we now have another 36 days to pull off something incredible.

In contrast, Labour has only just selected its candidate. George Galloway cancelled an event in Paisley last weekend due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Presumably that meant he was in the constituency over the weekend. I am sure we are all waiting to see Jackie take him on at hustings.

4th May is going to be a tad busy, shall we say. As well as the by-election, there is a council by-eelction in a ward in the constituency and the Greater Manchester mayoral election.

Want to get involved in the campaign?

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Farron: Galloway boosts Lib Dem chances of victory in Manchester Gorton

So the hard left maverick George Galloway chose the ultra right Westmonster website set up by UKIP donor Arron Banks to tell anyone who would listen that he’s be standing in the Manchester Gorton by-election.

Tim Farron reckons that makes a Lib Dem win more likely.

While George Galloway won’t pick up enough votes to win, he clearly will take a number of votes from Labour. That increases our chances of winning as the only party that can beat Labour in Manchester Gorton.

George Galloway is a divisive, hard left campaigner of the old school and an ardent supporter of Brexit.

There will be little support for his brand of politics in Manchester Gorton, which is a diverse and tolerant place and voted 62% to remain in the EU.

His decision to enter the race is yet another consequence of the chronic splits and weak leadership in the Labour party. People in Manchester want change, they deserve better than a failed politician and a failing Labour party.

Our candidate Jackie Pearcey said on Twitter:

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Manchester Gorton: We need YOU!

The Manchester Gorton by-election can change things for the whole party – and we need you to come and help to make that happen.

Look at what we achieved in Witney. We sent a message loud and clear that the Lib Dem fightback was on. We proved we could take a serious number of votes from the Conservatives, angry at their former party’s backing for a hard Brexit.

If we can do to Labour in Manchester what we did to the Tories in Witney or Richmond Park we will send shock waves through British politics.

We have an amazing story to tell in Manchester Gorton.  From our great candidate Jackie Pearcey who has a proud 20 year record as a local councillor, to our party’s positive message of hope for an open and tolerant Britain.

And that’s not to mention the failure of Labour in Manchester and nationally. Labour have sided – and voted – with UKIP on Brexit – letting down the 62% of people in Manchester Gorton constituency who voted Remain. And at a local level they take Manchester and its voters for granted.

But we need your help to get that message across.

Only last Wednesday we walked into an empty shop on Stockport Road in Levenshulme for the first time to set up our new Lib Dem HQ. Within hours of getting the office keys, it was bustling with activity as we unloaded the party’s by-election kit – fresh from its triumphs in Witney and Richmond Park.

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++++Breaking: Jackie Pearcey will fight Manchester Gorton by-election for the Lib Dems

News from the land of Twitter:

Jackie is a fabulous candidate. She has 20 years’ experience as a Gorton councillor. She’s brilliant. I first met her in a queue at the Torquay conference in 1993 and I just love her plain-speaking manner and sense of humour. There couldn’t be a better person to fly the Lib Dem flag. She’s in the centre of the photo in between Mamchester mayoral candidate Jane Brophy and the one-man opposition to Labour Cllr John Leech. That man gives Labour in Manchester a million times more trouble than Corbyn’s Labour gives to Theresa May’s Brexit Government. 

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Winning in Stoke-on-Trent: The foundations that YOU laid

On Tuesday, Ian Horner and I as Agent and Campaign Co-ordinator respectively cleared the by-election HQ for Stoke-on-Trent Central.   Unlike many such events from former by-elections, this was no sad or weary wake.

As we loaded up the bags and boxes, sorted out what could caravan into the next election portal we laughed, smiled and exchanged anecdotes of a campaign well fought.

1. Over 60% of the constituency that voted had voted against the Stoke Labour Party nominee, Gareth Snell. This result ws no ringing endorsement.
2. UKIP – the party that was going to win this unfairly designated “capital of Brexit” – were beaten and their Leader sent packing to fight his own internal civil war with no mandate, no victory and a clear rejection.
3. The ramifications of Labour’s strategy of total compromise and to become the party of Brexit Plus has lead to them voting with the Government. Yes, on Brexit Labour supported the government – now arguably the suicide note of history just got shorter.
4. The Tories, with a young shiny candidate did well to consolidate their support, build in their local councillor base and to almost supplant UKIP for second.

So with these elements at play, what worked for the Liberal Democrats?

We ran a campaign that was bold, confident, almost audacious. I recall clearly the moment in Sleaford and North Hykeham when it emerged that Ross Pepper was the only remain anti-Brexit candidate. With Labour fleeing the field, it is now clear that that will be the norm now going forwards.

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Stoke and Copeland results show how far Lib Dems have come in two years

If the Stoke and Copeland by-elections had happened at any point in the last Parliament, the Liberal Democrats would have been squeezed until our pips squeaked. We’d certainly have lost our deposit as we did in both seats in the 2015 General Election in both seats.

The results showed how far we have come. Our vote more than doubled in both seats and we did well to avoid a squeeze into oblivion. In Copeland we pushed UKIP into fourth as that party’s voters clearly felt comfortable enough voting for Theresa May’s Brexit Britain Party.

In Stoke, you have to wonder how much …

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Tim Farron says thanks for by-election help

Tim Farron has thanked members and supporters  for their hard work in the Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland by-elections. In an email tonight, he said:

The polls are now closed for by-elections in both Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland.

Members from all over Britain have volunteered, donated and cheered on these two upstart campaigns and I’m so grateful for everything that you’ve done.

We can be proud of the campaigns that Rebecca Hanson in Copeland and Dr Zulfiqar Ali in Stoke-on-Trent have fought – right up to their work today getting our vote out in storm force wind and rain.

In the face of strong opposition, they have stood up for our values and fought for every single vote; we couldn’t have asked any more of them.

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P-0: Polling day for Stoke-on-Trent

And so it arrives… finally. Always too short, yet campaigns last forever. At the beginning they take ages, in the middle you wish it was over and at the end you want more time. The day after you are left with a sense of regret at the gap that re-opens in your diary.

So what precisely has happened and been going on?  Let’s go through the outputs.

1. The Conservatives have selected a councillor from Stoke-on-Trent and he’s young, enthusiastic and done himself no discredit.  What we know is that, assuming he loses, he will duly be given a safe seat to be a Conservative MP.  It’s how the party structures work for the Tories.  But do not lose sight of the electoral roots of UKIP. A breakaway more extreme Tory Party.

2. The Green Party stood a local Stokie as their candidate – genuine and sincere, but unable to add to the dialogue in a City that needs a focus on renewables, resources and the environment. In advocating progressive politics, this election has not worked for them.

3. It is entirely possible that we will see, tonight, live, a Party Leader lose an election. In the myriad chaos of a General Election Nigel Farage was able to stand and lose. But tonight, Paul Nuttall will, I predict, be seen to commit political suicide. His ambition, his bravado and his arrogance deserves to rebound in way that I hope will crack UKIP asunder. Is this the first Party Leader, in a major league era (thus excluding Farage) to lose since Archibald Sinclair? And let us note, that Archibald Sinclair came third when he lost…

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P-1: Deep breath

Well after a few weeks, numerous days, endless hours and given my tiredness, countless minutes – polling day is about to commence. And yes, we have reached that point. ‘No more leaflets’ shout the notices on the doors. Some of the notices scream ‘NO MORE LEAFLETS’, some of the house don’t want UKIP leaflets specifically and some of the residents are quite articulate in their resistance. The most receptive and consistent in welcoming the avalanche of the leaflets have been the recycling boxes and bins.

What has been striking and fellow Liberal Democrats will appreciate this – has been the warmth of reception that we have had. Without a doubt the candidate who has emerged as kind, honest, respected and yes distinctive has been Dr Zulfiqar Ali.

I have worked with many many candidates and I can confidently say that you can be proud of the work, standing and respect of Dr Zulfiqar Ali. Zulfi has been beset by media and unlike virtually all of the other candidates he has not been on the run – he has been calm and accessible.

So we clear the office, bundle the good morning leaflets and prepare for a full-on count where no party really knows what will happen. Can I on behalf of the team here, and perhaps on your behalf, thank Dr Zulfiqar Ali, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Stoke-on-Trent Central.

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P-2: Feeding the team that delivers on its stomach

I always found one aspect of military history interesting – yes, army logistics.  It’s all very well sending 200 people out but how do you feed them at breakfast, in the morning, at lunch and in the evening and then when they are randomly hungry?

So we have sought to run a HeadQuarters that is warm, friendly, welcoming and well stocked.  Now there have been a few local stalwarts who have been champion at ensuring our kitchen has been well stocked – croissants, biscuits (most variants), savoury biscuits, bread, oranges, bananas, apples (most variants), and yes we also have oatcakes, cheese, tomatoes and some bacon.  And how could we forget the ever ending supply of samosas.

And the atmosphere – well you have all been very willing, cheery and prepared to go out again and again.  It has been really noticeable how many of you who have travelled have a) arrived early, b) have stayed for a full day of work and c) stayed overnight and d) returned again and again.

Now I can say the team here have been bouncy and energetic and focused on making sure you left with a positive impression.  Now I realise that risks sounding flippant, but we have deliberately constructed the campaign in a way that places huge value on a quality and warm reception.  Under the attentive gaze of Simon Drage we try and make sure that you are fed watered and rested between and after your campaign activity.

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    Caron, sorry to display my ignorance here but could you tell members like me outside Scotland more about the National care service stuff? Genuinely interested....
  • David Garlick
    Where is a JFK when you need someone to draw the line. No line ,no stopping Putin. rearming is essential. Is the current long away target sufficient? I think ...
  • Zachary Adam Barker
    "In his early career, Rasmussen was a strident critic of the welfare state, writing the book From Social State to Minimal State in 1993." What does this have...