Tag Archives: local elections 2019

Listen: Alistair Carmichael MP is first guest of new podcast series

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael took some time to speak to the new team behind Debated, Will Barber Taylor and Conrad Lewandowski .

Alistair talks about the resurgence of the Lib Dems, the success of the local elections, the impact of Brexit on that vote, and what is next.

Have a listen!

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Time to celebrate success – but what next beyond stopping Brexit?

It was a weekend for rejoicing, for most of us. Even if on Friday you were in a nerve-jangling contest which eventually you, unlike luckier colleagues, just missed out on (as happened by just one vote to an unfortunate North Devonian), or even if you were stuck for seven hours as we were in West Cumbria waiting for the single result we had interest in (eventually wearily won) – even so, every hour that passed we all had the glad spectacle on our smart phones of that orange bar rising on the BBC News round-up, and that blue bar sinking in defeat.

There was delight as the numbers of successful Liberal Democrats rose steadily and new councils fell to us. There was wonder at outstanding triumphs – how did they do THAT in Chelmsford or Cotswold? And there was also for me admiration at seeing in the detailed lists how often just one, or at most two, Liberal Democrats had succeeded. We know how many hours of patient hard work those new councillors had to put in to achieve those small, significant glories.

And the work goes on. Our new councillors have so much to do just shoring up the threatened local services, fighting vested interests, standing up for local communities, always seeking to Demand Better for the ordinary people we serve.

Posted in Op-eds | 239 Comments

Looking good in Northern Ireland

The counting in the Northern Ireland local elections was finally concluded late last night. And the good news is that, matching Lib Dem successes in England, the Alliance Party increased their seats by 21, far more than any other party.

Alliance is our sister party in Northern Ireland. There is a small Lib Dem branch there as well, but they didn’t put up any candidates, and Lib Dem members are allowed to have dual membership.

Councillors are elected through Single Transferable Vote every four years, and there are five major parties, plus a handful of smaller ones.  As a result no council has a party with an overall majority.

Alliance increased its share of seats on the following councils:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey
  • Ards and North Down
  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon
  • Belfast City
  • Causeway Coast and Glens
  • Derry City and Strabane
  • Fermanagh and Omagh
  • Lisburn and Castlereagh City
  • Mid and East Antrim
Posted in News | 15 Comments

Where did we gain seats?

The elves at LDV have been busy digging into the results to bring you a full list of all the Councils in England where Lib Dems made gains. Please let us know if they have made any errors.

So here they are. We have highlighted the ones where we are now in control.

  • Arun (where we are the largest party under NOC)
  • Barnsley
  • Basingstoke & Deane
  • Bassetlaw
  • Bath & North East Somerset
  • Bedford (where we are the largest party under NOC, and we retained the elected Mayor)
  • Blaby
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Bolsover
  • Bolton
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Brentwood
  • Broadland

Posted in News | 21 Comments

ICYMI: Complain to BBC about coverage of Lib Dem local election win

There are two elements of the BBC’s coverage of the local elections that are simply ridiculous and need to be complained about.

The first is their oft expressed line that the message the voters were giving to the Conservative and Labour parties is that they wanted them to get on with Brexit.

So that would be why they voted in huge numbers for the party whose aim is to stop Brexit, then, is it?

The Liberal Democrats gained over 700 seats, a spectacular feat by any standards. We put in our best ever performance in terms of seat gain in a local election. The message is clear – a significant proportion of the electorate want this Brexit nonsense to be stopped.

The second

Seriously. The BBC’s flagship political programme has no guest from the Liberal Democrats on the weekend after we won a national election.

That has to be disgraceful by any standards.

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What a brilliant night – “the best local elections for the Lib Dems in a generation”

Four years ago, I was utterly heartbroken at this time in the morning. Not only had we lost almost all our MPs, but we’d suffered heavy losses in the council election.

Today, after spending most of yesterday in a darkened room whimpering in pain, I wake to absolutely brilliant results. Already we are up (at the time of writing) 271 councillors and most of the results aren’t in yet.

It’s not surprising that Ed Davey described the results on BBC Breakfast as the best local elections for the Lib Dems in a generation.

Some more of the highlights:

We seem to have surprised the BBC’s political editor:

A result we knew was on the cards a few weeks ago as it was clear that the Tory vote was disappearing like snow off a dyke.

And here are the very happy councillors:

Jacob Rees-Mogg has a Lib Dem councillor now.

Yvette Cooper’s backyard now contains Liberal Democrat Councillor Tom Gordon stormed to victory from a standing start in his home ward after moving down from Newcastle.

Three times the vote of the Labour Party. 9 times the vote of the Conservatives and Greens. And all that in just a few months’ spirited and energetic campaigning.

His former colleagues in Newcastle were delighted.

And here is Councillor Gordon:

 

Chelmsford’s result was simply outstanding – from 5 councillors to 31 and the Conservatives falling from 52 seats to just 21.

I have never been more glad to be proved wrong as far as Hinckley and Bosworth were concerned. They thought they might pull off overall control, but I thought that was a tiny bit ambitious, even with their ace team which has been honed to perfection over the years by former Lib Dem MP for Chesterfield, Paul Holmes. But they did it. It’s a fantastic result for Michael Mullaney and the team there.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 95 Comments

Good luck, everybody!

As this post goes live, indefatigable Liberal Democrats the length of England will have been up for hours delivering last minute leaflets in the local elections.

They have a tough day of more leafletting and knocking up (which is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds) ahead of them.

One of the best smells in the world is the breakfast roll cooking when you come in from your good morning leaflets.

But after that, there’s still a good 12 hours of work left.

And usually after the local elections, you can put your feet up for a week or so. Well, that didn’t happen in 2017 because some woman had a rush of blood to the head on a walking holiday in Wales and called a general election. It’s not going to happen now either because of the impending European elections.

The polling day operation is a crucial part of the campaign. Voters in local elections aren’t always inclined to go to the polls – the turnout is usually pretty small compared to a general election. Getting more of ours out than the opposition gets of theirs is crucial.

However tired you may feel, hold on to the idea of how brilliant it will feel if we win these elections. It will give us huge momentum going in to the Euros.

Keep going up until 10pm tonight. I’ll be on the phones for candidates across the country this evening.

Special good luck to our regular contributor Ed Fordham who is seeking elected office for himself for a change in the Brockwell ward in Chesterfield, to the North Devon team led by our Kirsten Johnson, to April Preston in Manchester Withington and Tom Gordon in Wakefield’s Knottingley and Ferrybridge ward.

April has the support of Jo Swinson in this video recorded a couple of months ago.

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Vince to stand down as MP if Parliament runs its course to 2022

Just after Jo was on Marr this morning, Vince popped up on Pienaar’s Politics.

He used the opportunity to say, unsurprisingly, that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to stop Brexit. Finally, we have a slogan that means something and is in keeping with the zeitgeist. Once we are all sick to the back teeth of hearing it, it will just be starting to cut through to the general public, so prepare to hear it a great deal.

In fact, if any Lib Dem fails to say that within 5 seconds of opening their mouth at the moment, they are not doing their jobs properly.

It was the main theme of our launch the other day – and the New Statesman even described that event as “slick.” It’s a long time since anything we did has been called that.

Vince added that with our campaign infrastructure and momentum from the local elections, we have a big advantage over Change UK.

On that Change UK memo earlier in the week in which they set out their mission to crush us, he said that we have good working relations with them at informal levels, but he reckons that they will see the advantage of working together when they hit the realities of our electoral system.

As that New Statesman article said:

It (the timing of the Change UK launch in Bristol on a day Parliament was sitting) demonstrates one of the implicit arguments that the Liberal Democrats will make as to why they are the best vehicle for Remainer outrage – because they have the know-how and experience to actually get MEPs elected and to make a splash in a way that Change UK do not.

But they also have another ace in the hole – the looming local elections this Thursday. These were seats last contested in 2015, a disastrous night for the Liberal Democrats on which they lost 51 MPs; but more importantly for our purposes they also lost 658 councillors and control of four councils.

They are not going to make those losses up overnight: the difficulty minor parties have is what takes years of work to acquire can be lost in the time it takes to say “rose garden”. But frankly they will be doing pretty poorly if they can’t at least make enough of those losses back that they won’t be able to declare themselves the winners of the local elections and the most well-placed pro-Remain party to give the big two a fright.

Now the Labour-supporting New Statesman is hardly likely to want to up the prospects of Change UK, but even taking that into consideration, they’ve added weight to the point that Vince was making about our expertise and experience making us better placed for success.

Vince also told Pienaar that his decision on whether to stand again for his Twickenham seat would depend on when the General Election was. If it was on its scheduled timetable for 2022, he wouldn’t fight the seat again. If he did, he’d be 84 at the end of that Parliament.

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A little Brexit quiz…

I am now back from my blissful trip to the Highlands. Yesterday morning I woke up to this amazing view. We had enjoyed a week of mostly sunshine and some really hot days. Nine hours after this photo was taken, we were heading home in temperatures struggling to reach double figures and driving rain.

While I was away, I went out canvassing with our top of the list in Scotland Euro candidate Sheila Ritchie in Inverness. It’s great to be welcomed on to doorsteps again. Our message that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to stop Brexit went down exceptionally well. Labour remainers were annoyed with their own party’s ambiguous stance on Brexit and were willing to lend us their votes for this election.

This is consistent with what others are finding across the country. Conservative remainers are exasperated with the failings of their party and are switching to us.

The prospect of another, imminent independence referendum is also making some SNP leaning voters think again about backing that party.

If there was ever an election worth throwing extra effort at, this is it. We can change the direction of our country and we should all be out there as often as we can over the next month.

Let’s get behind our brilliant candidates and make this a campaign to remember. If you haven’t been canvassing since the coalition years, get out there. You will notice a big difference.

Our prospects in the European elections will be improved by a good showing in the local elections on Thursday. We need to show that momentum so if you are in an area that doesn’t have elections, please go to somewhere that does or do some phone canvassing in the next few days or knocking up on polling day.

Getting lots more Lib Dem councillors is a good end in itself, but this year we have the added incentive of putting a stop to Brexit and establishing ourselves as the best option for remainers to vote for on May 23rd.

Let’s get to it.

But while you are having your breakfast, have a bit of fun with this Brexit quiz. We went to a pub quiz in Fortrose on Thursday night and were languishing in a pretty poor last place until the final round.  That round was one of these where you can get loads of bonus points if you can predict how many questions you will get right. And if you don’t meet your target, you end up losing half your score.

The subject was Brexit in people and numbers which was a bit more up my street than Michael Caine movies and tv crime dramas which had led to our last place predicament.

We stormed from last to fourth. It turns out we could have gambled more and come third.

How many of these questions would you get right? No cheating – you are not allowed to use the internet to help you.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

The best combination of names on a Lib Dem joint ticket ever?

Standing for the Bridge ward of Lewes Town Council, we have:

Just glorious.

Janet was the first BaME mayor of Lewes last year.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 24 Comments

Liberalism in the deep south

If Berkshire where I spent most of my life is in the South then West Sussex where I now find myself could reasonably be called the Deep South. Here on the Downs we are only ten miles from the coast the closest I have ever been to the sea, something that I am very happy about. I have now settled into my new surroundings and completed my research on the political landscape already knowing that I found myself in a Tory heartland. We have Conservative MPs with big majorities and local authorities dominated by Tories. My own MP Nick Herbert happens to be one of the founders of the Countryside Alliance and currently sitting on a majority of nearly 24,000. So in this sea of blue it has been a relief to find that the flame of Liberalism is still burning.

In the Arundel and Horsham constituencies we have prospective parliamentary candidates in place Alison Bennett and Louise Potter. Both are young women with real energy and commitment to the cause, while also being firmly rooted in their communities. When the General Election comes the blue team better watch out because they are going to get a run for their money. First though we have all out Local Elections this year and the Lib Dem campaign in Horsham District got off to a great start with a hustings in the market town at the beginning of this month. Our council group leader David Skipp was pitted against spokespeople for the Conservative and Labour parties (the Greens were invited but failed to appear) in a well attended meeting.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Help ALDC win more council seats

With everything that’s happening nationally, one thing remains certain – it’s vital that our party achieves a good set of results on Thursday 2 May.

Word on the street is that support for the big two parties is soft and where local Liberal Democrat teams are working hard, we are in a strong position to make gains.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to donate to ALDC’s Local Election Appeal, time is running out to make a difference – in many councils, postal votes will start landing on doormats next week.

100 Lib Dem candidates in target wards from Kent to Cumbria have already received letters to 25,000 crucial postal voters, paid for by generous donations. We now want to do even more to make sure these wards are Lib Dem gains on the night.

We can only help our candidates get across the line in these target wards if we raise another £5,000 for the Local Election Appeal by the end of next week. 

Can you donate today to help Liberal Democrat candidates get across the line in 100 wards?

If you would like to send a cheque (made payable to ALDC), our address is: ALDC, 2.07 Boat Shed, 16 Exchange Quay, Salford M5 3EQ.

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Vince kicks off local election campaign in Yeovil

Yesterday, Vince went to Yeovil to launch the party’s final push for the local elections  to be held on May 2nd. He visited accommodation for homeless people opened by the Lib Dem council in South Somerset.

He then spoke at a rally:

He  spoke to the local paper.

From the County Gazette:

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4 April 2019 – today’s press releases (part 1)

Whilst the drama was, unusually, at the Lords end of the Palace of Westminster today, there was plenty else going on. So much so, that we’re breaking this piece in two today. The second half will be along shortly…

  • Swinson: Shared Parental Leave must be a right from day one
  • Vince Cable visits Yeovil to launch final push of Lib Dem local election campaign
  • Cable: Corbyn must put any deal he agrees with PM back to the people

Swinson: Shared Parental Leave must be a right from day one

The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, has today launched a bid to reform …

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Young Liberals launch Young & Winning 2019 to support young candidates

It’s no secret that this year is going to be big for us Liberal Democrats, and the Young Liberals are no exception.

Last year, we provided thousands to young candidates across the country. We contributed to getting some fantastic young councillors elected, now serving their community.

In 2019 we’re doing the same with more support to elect young councillors. The aim is to give young people the community voice which they deserve and need.

This support can range from grants for literature to subsidised action days and more.

In 2018, we supported almost every candidate that applied. In almost every case, young candidates we supported saw increase in vote share. Many were successful in their bids, some came within less than 10 votes of taking their ward.

It’s clear to me that we need more young voices in local government. It’s clear that we can make that happen, and it’s imperative that we do.

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