Tag Archives: liz leffman

Why I was furious to get an email from Liz Leffman

Before I even start this, let me just say that Liz Leffman, the Chair of the English Party and our wonderful candidate in the Witney by-election is one of my favourite Liberal Democrats and that none of this is her fault.

She is one of the most constructive and practical people I have come across in the party and I’m delighted that she is leading the English Party on its journey to reform.

However, I got an email from her the other day, sent out by party HQ, that made me furious. Here’s what it said:

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And the new chair of the English Liberal Democrats is….

Liz Leffman

…the excellent Liz Leffman, who performed so brilliantly well as our candidate in the Witney by-election, coming much closer than anyone expected in one of the safest Tory seats in the country.

I have worked with her on the Federal Finance and Administration Committee for five years now and I have the highest regard for her. She is one of those people who is always there with a calm and sensible solution when everyone else is scratching their heads. 

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Impressions – from a very small cog in the Witney wheel

Purposeful efficiency at the Corn Street headquarters, a fair-sized room full of people moving about. Friendly greeting from the man with the large-shelved bookcase stuffed with leaflets and letters, whisked to the registration desk with people busy at computers behind it, more friendly smiles plus tea and cake.

It was the middle of Tuesday afternoon. And there was the candidate, Liz Leffman, pausing between trips out, pleased to meet another Cumbrian volunteer. I had just missed Tim, apparently, now on his way back to London after his fourth, penultimate, visit. (How had he managed four? I’d heard him address the North-West Lib Dems’ conference in Lancaster the previous Saturday afternoon.)

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Witney: great result – thanks team!

Well, that was a great result at Witney. Congratulations to Liz Leffman who was an astonishingly brilliant candidate.

This was the biggest swing from the Conservatives to the Lib Dems since the Winchester by-election in 1997.

We moved from 4th to 2nd. In 2015 the Guardian described the 25,155 Tory majority at Witney as “ultra safe”. Liz and team reduced that majority to just 5,702 with a very high turnout for a by-election – 47%.

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Witney scale swing to Lib Dems would wipe out Conservative majority

The huge swing to the Liberal Democrats of 19.3% per cent would wipe out Theresa May’s majority and hand 26 seats from the Conservatives to Tim Farron’s party. The swing rivals many that were seen in famous by-election wins under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy.

Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

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+++Witney result: Biggest Con to Lib Dem swing since the 1997 Winchester by-election.

Con 17,313
Lib Dem Liz 11,611 😃
Labour 5,765
UKIP 1354
Green 1363

CON: 45.1% (-15.1)
LDEM: 30.2% (+23.5)
LAB: 15.0% (-2.2)
GRN: 3.5% (-1.5)
UKIP: 3.5% (-5.6)

Turnout 47%

19.3% swing from the Tories to the Lib Dems.

The Greens and UKIP lost their deposits.

The Tory majority was slashed from 25,155 of “ultra safe” for the Tories to 5,702!

Lib Dems rise from 4th to 2nd.

Via Neil Fawcett’s Live Facebook broadcast, Liz Leffman said:

This is a really great result. Thank you to everyone who helped in any way. This is a beginning for us – we can still go on and do even better.

You can read the 2015 result here.

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Liz Leffman gets 11,611 votes in Witney

Liz got just over 30% of the vote.

Con 17,313
Lib Dem Liz 11,611 😃
Labour 5,765
UKIP 1354
Green 1363

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Witney turnout estimated at 47%

So much for the “low turnout” that was forecast earlier!

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Live updates from the Witney count

The Witney Gazette is carrying live updates from the Witney by-election count here. Turnout is said to be low and a Tory majority is expected. Estimates of the Lib Dem vote are currently around the 25% mark, which would be a fantastic achievement given we started as 50/1 outsiders, fourth with 6.8% of the vote.

This great success has been the result of wonderful teamwork led by a superb candidate, Liz Leffman. Just today we had 400 activists in the constituency, 300 people making calls from home, 10,000 doors knocked on and 13,500 phone calls made.

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Extra push for Liz Leffman in Witney

witney-mosaic
Hundreds of supporters have been flocking to the Witney Lib Dem HQ this weekend. I was there earlier today and delivered a whole village. It was fantastic to see our hub throbbing with activity. One of the main things hapening this weekend is the delivery of a constituency-wide newspaper, the West Oxfordshire Chronicle.

Liz Leffman has been thanking supporters for the fantastic work done so far and asks for an extra push in the final days before polling on Thursday this week.

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Liz Leffman: If you elect me as your MP, I will champion NHS services

Liz Leffman has an impressive record of campaigning for better NHS services in the Witney area. When I was there two weeks ago, people were saying things like “Ah, she’s the one who saved the hospital in Chipping Norton” on the doorsteps.

In this campaign video, she talks about the changes she wants to see and how she will be a local champion for the NHS if she is elected MP next Thursday.

The Guardian has a good profile of the by-election with coverage of Nick Clegg’s visit yesterday.

Few in the party still carry a torch for the coalition years, but the enduring popularity of Cameron in this corner of Oxfordshire is something that the Lib Dems feel they might be able to capitalise on. The party is throwing vast resources into next Thursday’s byelection, shipping down legions of activists – 600 over the weekend and another 1,000 over the next week, according to party officials.

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Rival candidate endorses Liz Leffman for Witney

Liz, Tim & Adam KnightLiz Leffman’s campaign in Witney has received another boost as a rival candidate has thrown his weight behind her campaign.

Adam Knight, who last week put in papers to stand as an independent, has now endorsed Liz. The photo shows Adam, Liz and Tim Farron at the Lib Dem HQ in Witney.

Adam is an Angel Investor, supporting initiatives to give opportunities to young people, and has previously been Head of Commodities for Credit Suisse. He was educated locally and is campaigning to bring more affordable housing to a greater swathe of the population.

Tim Farron welcomed this development

I am delighted to have Adam Knight’s backing. He has some really compelling ideas on how to enable more people in Britain to get on the housing ladder.

The Liberal Democrats are now the free market, free trade, pro-business party. With the Conservatives intent on yanking us out of the Single Market and Labour lacking any economic credibility, we are the only party capable of creating opportunity in a stable economy. It is hugely significant that someone of Adam’s standing in the business community should recognise that support for the Liberal Democrats in this crucial by-election is support for British business.

Adam Knight added:

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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,
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LDV Interview: Liz Leffman. Witney Lib Dem candidate on Brexit, NHS, Buses – and puppies and biscuits, too!

Liz LeffmanI spent a couple of days in Witney this week. Events since my return have prevented me from telling you too much about my trip – but I would say that if you can get there before the by-election on October 20th, do go. We have a brilliant candidate and a huge team doing an incredible job. I spent Tuesday canvassing with Liz and some of her team in Eynsham and  I was surprised by the warmth of the reception on the doors and it’s clear that the more people who go to help, the more people we can speak to, the better the result we will get. So, what are you waiting for? If you can’t go, phone! All the info you need to help is here.

Before we headed out, I sat down with Liz for a chat. She is an incredibly impressive candidate. I’ve known from working with her pretty closely for some years now that she is one of those people who can come into a situation where everyone is running around panicking and just sort stuff. She has the knowledge, the authority and the passion to be a brilliant MP for Witney. She understands the issues facing local people, from the threats posed by Brexit, to cuts in bus services which leave people trapped in their villages to the huge problems in accessing NHS services.

I am very grateful to John O’Neill from Northern Ireland Lib Dems, who very kindly transcribed it for me. 

CL: We are sitting in the Lib Dem office, currently a hive of activity, with Liz Leffman. You’ve been a by-election candidate for a week now, what’s it been like?

LL: Well, it’s been quite a journey! It started off on Tuesday when I was selected. The following day I went straight off to Chipping Norton with Tim Farron. That was very exciting, and then I was on television that evening. So, it’s been all go actually, and I think probably I haven’t really stopped since then.

CL: So, what sort of reception are you getting on the doorstep?

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LDVideo: Liz Leffman: Come and help my campaign to save Oxfordshire’s NHS & bus services

I spent Monday and Tuesday in Witney helping Liz Leffman’s campaign. If it is at all possible for you to go there between now and the by-election  on 20th October, please do so. You will be worked hard – 10,000 steps a day before lunch, I found – but it is so rewarding. We are already out-campaigning both Conservative and Labour parties on the ground and there will be no let up in our activity. We really need to keep ahead of them both.

Liz is an amazing candidate. She combines a passion for the area, an anger against the neglect of the NHS and the scrapping of local bus services and what that means for people’s lives with such authority, serenity and real warmth. It is very early in the campaign for this to be happening, but people stopped us in the street and said they were voting for her – outside her own council ward. In her own council ward, she is hugely popular. She got pretty much two thirds of the vote there in May.

I spent yesterday canvassing in the village of Eynsham with Liz and her team. I was surprised by the warmth of the reception we got on the doorstep. I do feel for the poor people who had come back from a two week holiday and found themselves in the thick of a by-election at full pelt.

The campaign has a really good feel about it so I would strongly urge you to go and help. If you can’t get there physically make phone calls. I don’t like telephone canvassing either. Actually, it’s the thought I don’t like, but once I get started, I’m fine.

It’s worth remembering, too, that the County Council elections are next year and a good result in the by-election could also leave a legacy of a stronger local government base in future years.

Whatever you are able to do you can sign up here and someone from the campaign will be in touch.

Events prevent me from telling you more of my adventures in Witney right now, but they will be coming over the next few days.

However, I’ll leave you with this just now. I sat down with Liz and recorded an interview with her yesterday morning – and she also recorded this video about her campaign priorities and inviting you to go and help. Yes, that’s you she’s talking to.

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Liz Leffman’s Witney campaign hits the ground running

Sal Brinton Liz Leffman Paul Walter Charlie dog at Witney by-election 24th Sep 2016

(R-L) Party President Sal Brinton, Witney candidate Liz Leffman and Paul Walter with veteran Focus delivery dog Charlie at the Witney by-election campaign HQ today

The Lib Dem Witney by-election HQ was abuzz with activity when I visited to help today. I was astonished by the busy team all set to work so early in the campaign. It was great weather for delivering leaflets. I enjoyed doing my very large bundle in Carterton, with the sound of the aircraft at Brize Norton in the background.

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Why I am going to Witney and I want you to go too

It’s not just that I am having withdrawal symptoms from a wonderful four days at Conference that makes me want to rush down to Witney to spend time with more Liberal Democrats.

That may be part of it, but why would I want to risk the guilt-inducing wrath of my dog by leaving her again so soon?

On Monday, I’m travelling 350 miles for a whirlwind 24 hours of leaflet delivery or whatever else needs doing  to help the wonderful Liz Leffman’s campaign. I’m doing so for several reasons;

A good result for the Liberal Democrats is important for party and country

A major theme of Conference is that we’re not going to stand by and see our country ruined while there’s something we can do about it. We are going to stand up and make the case for the closest possible relationship with the EU and for our country to be that generous-hearted, internationalist, collaborative force for good in the world.

This by-election is our chance to show that we are making progress as a party, that we can get public opinion on our side.

The party is taking this very seriously. They are even playing the cute dog card very early on. Seriously, a picture of a local activists’ dog was used to lure us there yesterday.

We are going to be fighting a good campaign and the sooner we do stuff the better.

For Liz

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+++Breaking…..Liz Leffman will be the Liberal Democrat candidate in Witney

Liz LeffanWest Oxfordshire councillor Liz Leffman has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the by-election to be held in Witney following David Cameron’s resignation as MP. She was chosen by members at a selection meeting this evening.

Liz represents the Charlbury and Finstock ward where she had a commanding lead over the Conservative of over 600 votes in this May’s election.

She stood in Witney before, in 2005 and secured a strong second behind Cameron, in fact the highest ever Liberal Democrat result in the seat.

I’ve worked with her over the last few years on the Federal Finance and Administration Committee and I think she’s great. She combines a forensic eye for detail with a very practical approach. She’s superb at getting people to work together.

As well as running her own business and her council duties, she mentors women in business and is a trustee of her local Citizens Advice Bureau.

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Selection news: Meon Valley

Congratulations to Liz Leffman who has secured the selection for the new constituency.

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