Tag Archives: sarah olney

Vince announces his Chief of Staff and Press Secretary

Those of us who had hoped of a return to Westminster for Sarah Olney will have to wait for a while because she has taken a job which will ensure she is there every day, but will not be able to stand for election.

Vince Cable has appointed her as his new Chief of Staff so she will have a key role in developing his strategy and liaising with the Party to get us all onside.

In many ways, this is an inspired appointment and sends out two very clear messages. First of all, it’s forward looking. Sarah wasn’t even a member of the party two and a half years ago. She joined us in the first post-Clegg surge in May 2015. She is a Lib Dem newbie who is going to be even more at the heart of developing party strategy than she was as an MP. That’s a nod to the members who has joined the party that the new leader may have been around for a while, but he is open to them.

Sarah Olney’s appointment also reaffirms the party’s increasingly vocal anti-Brexit stance. There will be no more equivocating and diffidence.

This should go some way to soothing the nerves of those in the party who were slightly nervous about Vince’s comments in the wake of the referendum about things like freedom of movement and a second referendum.

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Sarah Olney on returning to normal life

The New Statesman is running an article titled “I’m very much out on my ear”: what it’s like becoming an ex-MP. It interviews a number of people who lost their seats, but the focus is heavily on Sarah Olney.

Apparently, Theresa May apologised to Tory MPs who lost in the debacle that was the June General Election.

While May was referring to her Conservative peers, losing a seat is an experience also familiar to Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney. The former MP for Richmond Park made headlines by overturning Zac Goldsmith’s 23,015 majority in the December 2016 by-election – only to lose the seat by 45 votes six months later.

“I don’t get any money at all,” she says. “I got paid up to 8 June and then nothing. I don’t qualify for loss of office allowance or statutory redundancy because I wasn’t there for long enough. You have to have been there for at least two years.”

Olney, who intends to look for a new job after the summer holidays, describes herself as a “little bit cheated” by the snap election. “I was expecting – especially when we had a Fixed-term Parliaments Act – that parliament was going to last until 2020. So to suddenly find that it’s changed means that you don’t qualify for anything.”

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LibLink: Sarah Olney: Brexit undermines universities at every turn

Sarah Olney has written an article for the Times Educational Supplement talking about the difficulties facing universities as a result of Theresa May’s push for a hard brexit.

Citing Cambridge University’s assertion that Brexit poses a significant risk to our Higher Eduction sector, Sarah outlines this in detail:

Unfortunately, the Conservative government doesn’t seem to be listening. Theresa May has chosen to pursue the hardest and most destructive version of Brexit possible: taking us out of the single market and the customs union, and even threatening to do so without a new trade agreement with the EU. The government is also refusing to guarantee the rights of EU nationals  living and working in the UK to remain after Brexit.

The government’s hard Brexit policies and rhetoric risk driving away international students and academics. The number of EU nationals applying to British universities has already fallen by 7 per cent compared with last year, despite the government’s assurance that those starting this year won’t face higher fees after Brexit. Some 53 per cent of foreign academics are now actively looking to leave the UK, and 88 per cent say that Brexit has made them more likely to do so in future.

And what about the EU’s Erasmus programme? It gives 16,000 British students the chance to study abroad every year but the government has made no commitment to maintaining or replacing it after Brexit. Last year, the Liberal Democrats delivered a petition to No 10 and the European Parliament, calling on them to save Erasmus. This petition was signed by more than 10,000 people.

And contrasts the Lib Dem view:

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Lib Dems to deliver £7 billion schools funding boost

Tim Farron and Sarah Olney have announced that the Liberal Democrats will invest nearly £7bn more in schools and colleges over the next parliament.

The funding would reverse cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protect per pupil funding in real terms and ensure no school loses out from the National Funding Formula.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Sarah Olney said:

Children are being taught in overcrowded classes by overworked teachers – but Theresa May doesn’t care.

While funding per pupil is set to see the biggest cuts in a generation, billions of pounds are being spent on divisive plans to expand grammars and free schools.

This extra £7 billion of funding would ensure no school and no child loses out.

We will reverse crippling Conservative cuts to school budgets and invest to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Tim Farron added

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Battle Bus debuts in Surbiton

Around 300 people braved the drizzle this morning in Surbiton, west London, to welcome the Liberal Democrat battle bus as it embarks on a tour of the country ahead of next month’s election.

Party leader Tim Farron was joined by Sarah Olney, MP for nearby Richmond Park & North Kingston, along with former cabinet ministers and parliamentary candidates Vince Cable and Ed Davey. The pair are standing in Twickenham and Kingston & Surbiton constituencies, respectively.

Addressing the crowd, Tim Farron acknowledged the “Lake District-style weather”, before attacking both the Conservatives and Labour.

The worst governments are the ones with the weakest oppositions. There is a vacancy for an opposition in this country, and the Liberal Democrats are here to fill it.

This will not be a coronation. This will be a contest.

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#LibDemFightback campaigners busy on the streets this weekend

There are some fantastic, smiling action photos coming out from Lib Dem campaigners this weekend!

Victor Chamberlain has been out twice, campaigning for Simon Hughes with colleagues at the Elephant and Castle:


…and at Borough and Bankside:

Tim Farron visited Leeds – and Leeds Young Liberals captured their excitement at the leader’s arrival:

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Tim Farron campaigns in Richmond Park

The first big photo-op of the election campaign saw Tim Farron return to the scene of our most audacious recent triumph – Richmond Park, where Sarah Olney beat Zac Goldsmith.

Here’s a reminder of her stunning victory speech just 4.5 months ago.

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Damning PIP report shows culture of fear and mistrust – Olney

The virtual ink was barely dry on Geoff Crocker’s harrowing piece about his son’s PIP interview when a comment from Sarah Olney on the damning report by the Independent Reviewer of the PIP implementation, Paul Gary, popped into my inbox.

The report is highly critical and outlines that the fundamentals are just not working.

A key conclusion of the Review is that public trust in the fairness and consistency of PIP decisions is not currently being achieved, with high levels of disputed award decisions, many of them overturned at appeal

My findings point to the need to build very considerably on current action to improve the way PIP is administered, continuing the direction of travel proposed in the first Review. They include recommendations to improve the way the right type of evidence is obtained, used and tested in assessments; to strengthen transparency; and to broaden audit and quality assurance in assessment and decision-making.

In other words, there’s not a lot that’s going right.

Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve gone through the stress that Geoff describes just going for the interview. Then you find that you have been denied PIP. Then you have to endure the further stress of an appeal just to get the help that you desperately need to get on with your life, to work. PIP is not a luxury. It’s there to help people with long term conditions with the extra costs that these pile on.

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Sarah Olney interview part 3: Politics

You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

It’s not even been two years since you joined the party, and you are now sitting in the famous House of Commons. Has it sunk in yet?

Not really. One of the things I think is quite strange is how familiar it is when you enter because you see the House of Commons on tele so much. It doesn’t actually feel that strange in there. The weirdest thing I’ve experienced while there was when waiting for one of the votes, the Article 50 one I think, I was chatting with Caroline Lucas, and I got a text from my husband saying ‘You look really grumpy!’ It was just the weirdest thing. I was just sitting there having a chat, and my husband is watching me on the tele at home. When someone does something like that, it’s really weird.

In your short time as an MP, what are your likes and dislikes of the role so far?

The best bit is getting out and meeting people. I see people doing all sorts of different things. As an accountant, I was chained to my desk for eight hours a day while seeing the same old faces. Now I get to go into schools, workplaces and hospitals. I’m meeting different types of people, including staff, customers and patients. You get such a better idea of how the world works and how different people relate to each other. That is fabulous and a real privilege. It’s only MPs who get the opportunity to do that.

I like having the opportunity to contribute to the debates I feel passionate about. There was a schools funding one recently. It was brilliant to be able to stand up and talk about something I care about. I have kids at school, and my dad’s a teacher. To speak about that and, hopefully, to have some impact is great.

I dislike the way some people feel that they are entitled to have a go at you just because you are an MP. You might not have done anything in particular, but you are there to be shouted at.

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Sarah Olney interview part 2: The Richmond Park campaign

You can read part 1 here.

You were up against a well-supported, well-known and well-funded opponent in Zac Goldsmith, how did you win?

I was very lucky. I won’t deny it. I had the full Lib Dem by-election machine behind me. Because we thought we could win, they decided to really go for it. I had a group of people who knew what they were doing. They built a fabulous team and mobilised all those volunteers. I was very fortunate to have that support.

We were also able to fundraise. This was important, as we managed to neutralise Zac Goldsmith’s advantage over us. You would think finances would be his huge advantage, but there is only a certain amount you are allowed to spend, and, through fundraising, we were able to spend as much as he was.

It was so important to have all those thousands of volunteers descend to Richmond Park. They pounded the pavements. They delivered leaflets and canvassed. There is no substitute for doing all the door-to-door work over many weeks. I was so so lucky that so many people came and helped.

I think Zac helped too by running his own not so good campaign. And having run that mayoral campaign, it did put a lot of people off.

Are you not missing something?

Am I? What?

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Sarah Olney interview part 1: Before becoming an MP

You get bad people in power because good people are doing other things.

Sarah Olney

Imagine, for just a second, less than two years ago you were living in relative obscurity. You were known to only a select few people – friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. You belonged to no political party. Then, in only a few months, you rose from anonymity to the hottest national topic of the day, creating history along the way. The contrast is almost unimaginable. In short, that’s the story of Sarah Olney.

Five months have yet to pass since she overturned a 23,000 majority to pull off an incredible by-election victory, over the well-known Zac Goldsmith, to become MP for Richmond Park. The Lib Dems newest parliamentarian was attending her first party conference as a backbencher (and only her second since joining the party). In between handshakes and selfies, Sarah took half an hour from her busy schedule for an interview with me, over tea and cake, in the Conference’s Parliamentarians Lounge.

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WATCH: The Conference rally with Olney, Clegg, Farron, Malik and Pearcey

We reported on the Conference rally the other night. Now you can watch the whole thing here. See Sarah Olney thank her helpers and talk about why she joined the party and is fighting Brexit. See Nick Clegg take apart the Brexiteers’ case and warn of the populists undermining the checks on their power. See Jackie Pearcey tell us why we should go to Manchester Gorton to help her. See Hina Malik talk about her passion for dives it and how Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg persuaded her to join the party.

Finally, Tim Farron, after the obligatory pops at George Osborne and Dr Paul Nuttall, talk of Liberal Democrat values of internationalism and of giving EU nationals the right to stay and about why the people having the final say on the Brexit deal was so important.

Enjoy!

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Inspiring women: Sarah Olney MP

How brilliant was it at 3 whatever it was in the morning of 1st December when Sarah Olney was declared the MP for Richmond Park? She certainly deserves to be acclaimed as one of this year’s inspiring Lib Dem women. Her speech at the count, full of liberal principle, got many of us in the gut.

Last week, she spoke for the party in the International Women’s Day Debate in the Commons. Here is her speech in full:

May I say how pleased I am to represent the Liberal Democrats in this debate on International Women’s Day, as the 454th female MP? I am proud to say, in contrast to some previous Members’ contributions, that I am not the first, nor even the second, woman to have held my seat. I am, in fact, the third Liberal Democrat woman to represent Richmond Park, and I am extremely proud of that.

One of the advantages of being a London MP is that I get to go home to my family every evening and spend time with them every morning. As the mother of young children, this is a particular blessing to me, but it does mean that I live a life of contrasts. Yesterday, for example, I spent the first part of the morning trying to get my son to clean his teeth and my daughter to brush her hair. I then travelled into Westminster and challenged the Prime Minister in the Chamber about her spending priorities for education. Of the two things, the latter was more remarked upon—it was heard by Members here, recorded in Hansard and shared on Twitter—but getting my son to clean his teeth was the greater achievement in many ways. It took more ingenuity, effort and emotional commitment, but nobody noticed, cared or applauded me for it.

It often sounds ironic or self-deprecating to refer to the tasks of motherhood as being more taxing than tasks carried out in the professional sphere, but in this case, I am not being ironic; it is precisely true. We are so used to underplaying the work we do as mothers and in the home that we do not think anyone will take us seriously if we talk seriously about it. So today, in the spirit of the motion to recognise the achievements of women, I want to celebrate the everyday, unacknowledged, unrewarded and unnoticed achievements of women.

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Sarah Olney holds first Westminster Hall debate on Heathrow expansion

There’s a lot of firsts when you are a new MP. Your first Early Day Motion (like a House of Commons petition), your first speech, your first question, and your first Westminster Hall debate. These debates, held outside the main chamber, concentrate on one subject and allow an MP to raise an issue directly with the Minister.

It will be of no surprise that Sarah’s first Westminster Hall debate was on the subject of Heathrow expansion and the effects in terms of road congestion and pollution of a bigger airport.

You can read the full debate – including the Deputy Speaker’s rebukes to both Sarah and a colleague for breaking the rules and a fairly patronising response from the Minister – here. Below is Sarah’s speech in full.

And she shouldn’t worry about a minor rebuke from the Speaker. Others have done worse and survived. Willie Rennie forgot to turn his phone off before one debate in 2007 and got a right telling off when one of his staff (not me) rang him during a Westminster Hall debate.

This is what Sarah said yesterday:

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Sarah Olney: Richmond Park By-Election was one of the best experiences of my life

Our newest MP has been talking to The House magazine, along with other recent by-election winners, about the Liberal Democrats’ winning campaign in Richmond Park. She described it as one of the best experiences of her life:

Running in a by-election was one of the best experiences of my life. I am very new to politics, I’ve never been involved in a parliamentary campaign of any kind, I’ve never been a candidate in any election before, so I had no idea what to expect. It was quite a high profile campaign, right from the beginning I was right in the

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ICYMI: Sarah Olney’s speech in the Article 50 debate: We can’t build country without fear & poverty by turning our back on our neighbours

When I think of the country that I would like my generation to give to our children, I think of a country that lives without fear, poverty and inequality, but we cannot build that world by turning our back on our neighbours, closing the door to our friends, turning a blind eye to tyranny or walking hand in hand with intolerance.

Sarah Olney has got the hang of making great speeches in the House of Commons pretty quickly. In the Article 50 debate, she spoke from the heart while revealing the obfuscation of the Government as they try to deny people the true information about the consequences of Brexit. Here is her speech in full:

In this country, we have settled, through a process of trial and error, on a system of parliamentary democracy as the most effective form of governance. The importance of Parliament’s role was once again asserted by the Supreme Court last week. The responsibility of parliamentarians is clear: to take decisions in the best interests of the country with particular regard for the needs of their constituents. I believe that leaving the European Union will be hugely damaging for this country; the British people, through the referendum, narrowly expressed a different view. It is now up to Parliament to take account of the result of the referendum and decide what is in the best interests of the country.

There is no evidence, and none has been presented, that the best interests of the country will be served by the immediate triggering of article 50 and the pursuit of the hardest Brexit possible. It seems to me an abdication of responsibility to say that the only factor that can be considered in deciding whether to trigger article 50 is the result of the referendum. “The will of the people” cannot be tied down to one single point and be presumed never to change or waver. It should not be assumed that the decision of a narrow majority of people, willing and entitled to express a view on 23 June, should be the only thing to determine the fate of the whole population for now and many decades into the future. This is not the end of the debate; it is only the beginning.

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Sarah Olney’s message for Chinese New Year

It’s a Sarah Olney kind of day today!

Here is our newest MP’s message for Chinese New Year.

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LibLink: Sarah Olney: Theresa May’s visit to Turkey betrays our liberal values

Fresh from her meeting in Washington with a man who has extolled the effectiveness of torture, admitted sexually assaulting women and who thinks building walls between nations is a good idea, our Prime Minister heads today to meet the leader of a so-called democracy where human rights mean nothing and journalists are imprisoned.

Sarah Olney has written a blistering article in the Guardian, attacking the PM for betraying our liberal values instead of safeguarding our trading relationship with the democracies on our doorstep.

This tawdry tour shames Britain. This is a defining period on the international stage and we must consider to what extent this new course is safeguarding both our interests and values around the world.

In an age of “alternative facts”, there is no doubt about the realities of the Erdoğan regime. Even before last July’s failed coup, Erdoğan had begun systematically dismantling Turkey’s democratic institutions. Since the coup, he has embraced full-frontal authoritarianism. He is not only locking up journalists, but teachers, professors and policemen – all without due process. Not quite the outfit you’d have in mind for a regime described yesterday as an “indispensable partner” by Theresa May.

>Indeed, turn the clock back eight months and our now foreign secretary was slating the Turkish president. Yet Boris Johnson has fallen unusually silent – refusing to call Erdoğan out on his shocking crimes. There is a pattern here: ministers pursuing business deals on the international stage at odds with Britain’s best traditions and values.

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Tim Farron’s message to the London Women’s March: We fight back against divisiveness and intolerance by working together

I may have spoken too soon last night. Seems like the leader was on the case after all.

And here is Sarah Olney MP leading the Lib Dem delegation at the march.

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Sarah Olney’s maiden speech

Well, it has been a long time since we have been able to report on the maiden speech of a Liberal Democrat MP.

Sarah spoke today in the debate on the impact of Brexit on science and research. Until a few weeks ago she was working at the National Physical Laboratory, which lies just across the Thames from her Richmond Park constituency, so she has an insider’s view on the subject.

Here is her speech (taken from the rolling feed on Hansard which may be subject to correction):

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Goodwill towards us is growing, and so it should

 

More than 2000 years ago, so the story goes, angels sang ‘Goodwill towards all mankind.’ It’s a sentiment that Liberal Democrats can generally support. The point I want to suggest, however, is that the British people feel an increasing goodwill towards us, which seems likely to grow and enhance our electoral chances.

The first essential was that we should be seen and heard. Now Sarah Olney’s magnificent victory has given us the media coverage that dispels the 18-month myth of our irrelevance.

The next essential was that the image projected should be an attractive one. For the voters of Richmond Park and Kingston it obviously was, and for us Lib Dems the sight of the beaming faces of victor and Leader together in front of the cameras was a delight.

Image is vital for success in politics, but what did that image amount to for the public? What, for a start, was the new MP saying? “I knew I was a Liberal – I believe in openness, fairness, compassion, working with our neighbours at home and around the world”, Sarah said in her acceptance speech. She spoke of the rise of anger and bitterness in politics, and pledged that “We will stand up for the open, tolerant, united Britain that we believe in.”

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Next priority – elect a second Green MP

caroline-lucas-600

I hope it hasn’t been forgotten that the Green Party didn’t stand a candidate in Richmond Park, and expressly backed Sarah Olney. Labour did stand a candidate, but it was widely reported that some Labour members didn’t think they should have.

On the other side of course, neither the Conservatives nor UKIP stood, therefore leaving the centre-right vote clear for Zac Goldsmith. It was an unusual by-election, 95% of the vote went to two people. There may not be another by-election like this in this parliament.

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What a campaign!

sarah-olney-2

The Richmond Park campaign was the biggest the party has ever done. Phew!

In writing this post I don’t want to give away too many campaigning strategies, although the media have been pretty quick to spot our ways of working. They know that we are good at ‘deploying’ volunteers, but they don’t really understand how we do it. How, they wonder, do we manage to recruit 1000 people in one weekend, from all over the country? How do we get them to travel and stay at their own expense and then embark on some punishing walking, talking and delivering in the cold and dark for hours on end?

However, I know that many of our readers do understand what that is all about. We all care passionately about our values and the vision we have for our society, and we enjoy putting them into action in the company of like-minded people, who quickly become our friends.

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Richmond Park: what happens next for Sarah Olney and her team?

10 years ago, I was part of the team in the last by-electon we gained, when Willie Rennie spectacularly won Dunfermline and West Fife in then Chancellor Gordon Brown’s backyard. At that time it was a political earthquake. It was also a huge victory at a time of crisis for our party. Only weeks before, Charles Kennedy had resigned as leader. During the by-election campaign there seemed to be a tabloid scandal about our leadership candidates around every half hour. We still came through and elected Willie as our 63rd MP.

A decade on, we only have a 7th of that number and the Richmond Park by-election win comes at a time when our party has stared down extinction. It confirms what we have come to realise over the past few months – that the old adage that where we have a presence, and are willing to put the effort in, we can have some spectacular results. That should also impress anyone who might be thinking about backing us financially. That backing in turn gives us the capacity to expand our operations, creating a virtuous cycle. We have to make sure that we seize this moment.

Sarah Olney enters the Commons as part of a band of 9 and as the only woman. The 8 men will need to make extra effort to make sure that they welcome her and listen to her.  One of the things we found really useful was the advice and support from colleagues and I’m sure that they will have lots of helpful advice for her and her team.  Susan Kramer as the previous MP for the constituency will no doubt be a marvellous help too.

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Richmond Park is an important milestone – but it’s only the start

Well, we’re winning parliamentary by-elections again. Who’d have thought it possible on that awful night almost 19 months ago?

Liberal Democrats everywhere are grinning this morning. We’ve seen the brilliant local government results over the past few months. We saw the amazing Liz Leffman surge forward in the Tory heartland of Witney in October. Now, we have actually won another MP.

We shouldn’t under-estimate how massive a task winning Richmond Park was. It’s only been 37 days since Zac resigned. We had just over 5 weeks to change the agenda from Heathrow to Brexit and win the argument. A combination of clever literature, a fantastic candidate and an army of activists prepared to drop everything did it. Way back in the 90s when we were winning by-elections all the time, we had at least 3 times as long to make our case.

We also shouldn’t under-estimate how important it was that we won this. It was a seat we used to hold with a whacking great Remain vote. If we hadn’t, even if we had had a Witney type surge, people would have doubted our ability to change the political weather.

Sarah Olney’s victory has shown that we have still got what it takes to win the big moments. That is incredibly important for the outside world to see. Theresa May will be hoping that her MPs in similar seats to Richmond, where there is Liberal Democrat history, don’t cause any further by-elections.

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Lib Dems win Richmond Park: Reaction led by Tim Farron and Sal Brinton

Here’s some of the reaction to Sarah Olney’s incredible victory in Richmond Park.

Tim Farron said that the Liberal Democrats are the standard bearers for those who oppose the dangerous path towards Brexit being pursued by the Government.

The message is clear: The Liberal Democrats are back and we are carrying the torch for all of those who want a real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government.

We are the only party fighting to keep Britain open, tolerant and united, and the only party that has said, loudly and proudly, that we want Britain to remain a member of the Single Market and that we want the people to be given the final say over the Brexit deal. That message has been resoundingly backed by the people of Richmond Park.

This was a remarkable, come-from-nowhere upset that will terrify the Conservatives. A year and a half ago, their man won by nearly 40% and had a majority of more than 20,000. In one fell swoop we have wiped that out completely.

If this was a General Election, this swing would mean the Conservatives would lose dozens of seats to the Liberal Democrats – and their majority with it. No one believes the Labour Party will win any seats off the Tories – and the SNP could only possibly take one off them. But there are dozens in our reach. So, as this by-election has demonstrated, the only way to prevent a Conservative majority at the next election is to vote Liberal Democrat.

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In full: Sarah Olney’s victory speech: No to politics of division. We will defend the Britain we love

Just in case you missed it earlier, we won! Sarah Olney defeated Zac Goldsmith by 1872 votes.

We can’t call her Sarah Olney MP yet. She only officially acquires that title when she takes the oath in the Commons on Monday.

Her speech at the count tonight was gracious, determined and passionate. Here it is in full:

Let me start by thanking the other candidates for a hard-fought campaign – and to Zac Goldsmith in particular, I wish you well and assure you that I will continue your fight against the expansion of Heathrow.

I also would like to thank the returning officer, the staff that have worked so hard today and yesterday and of course the police. I want to thank my amazing campaign team led by James Lillis and the thousands of volunteers who have taken time to support me over the course of the campaign. I want to thank my family and friends for the wonderful support they’ve given me – particularly my husband Ben and our children. I want to thank our leader Tim Farron, and all the other party members who could not have been more supportive. And I’d like to thank the Greens, More United, the Women’s Equality Party and all the other people beyond the Lib Dems who have supported me in this campaign.

A year and a half ago, I wasn’t involved in politics. I wasn’t a member of a political party. I’d never been involved in a political campaign. I’d never thought about being a politician. But I knew I was a Liberal – I believed in openness, tolerance, compassion, working with our neighbours at home and around the world – and when I saw what happened at the General Election and I felt I had to get involved.

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++++++++Breaking: Richmond Park Result: We’ve done it! Well done Sarah Olney, our Newbie MP

We have done it! We had just 37 days to persuade the voters of Richmond Park. To overturn a 23,000 majority in such a short time is incredible.

Initially, the two numbers that matter.

Zac Goldsmith 18,638

Sarah Olney 20,510

Monster Raving Loony Party 184

One Love Party 67

Christian People’s Alliance 164

Independent 173

Christian Woolmar (Labour) 1515

Liberal Democrat majority 1872 on a turnout of 53.6%. It’s a swing of 21.6%.

And the percentage changes via Britain Elects:

Sarah Olney is on Sky News now, saying that we didn’t know until the last minute how it was going to go. People wanted her to win, she says, because of Brexit. They were alarmed about the direction the Conservative Brexit government was going in.

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Richmond Park by-election: Liberal Democrats have very big smiles

“The mood music,” says the BBC’s Chris Mason, “is that the Liberal Democrats are running Zac Goldsmith very close.” He says that the Liberal Democrats have the biggest smiles.

The Guardian live blog has some piles of votes looking very close. They report that Labour and Betfair are saying we have won. Mind you, Labour are not always the best judges of such things, though, so that comes with a big health warning. We had to convince them that they had won in Glenrothes in 2008. Our box counts had the result within half a percentage point. They thought the SNP had won when it was clear to us that they hadn’t.

Let’s put some context into this.

Last year, we were absolutely stuffed in that seat, not to put too fine a point on it. We had an excellent candidate in Robin Meltzer, but this was on of the seats where the Conservatives’ scare tactics about Ed Miliband and the SNP took hold. Our support bombed from 42% to 19.3%, while Zac took 58.2%. The Labour vote unsqueezed itself. Their 12.3% was their best result since 1997.

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WATCH: Bob Geldof: “The Lib Dems are the only party ballsy enough……”

Listen to Bob Geldof explain why he wants the people of Richmond Park to vote for Sarah Olney tomorrow. Choice quotes include:

“You can’t have the settled will of the people of Richmond to stay in Europe betrayed by the poster boy of the Brexiteers.”

He appealed to pro EU voters to back Sarah Olney to beat Zac.

Bob Geldof is as I write this outside a station in the constituency campaigning with Sarah Olney.

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    The urgency of the young for assurance on their future is not currently being reflected by Liberal Democrat dynamism. Worthy work is proceeding on proposals...
  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 23rd May - 12:49am
    John - are you saying that Doctors are routinely carrying out abortions without following the provisions of the 1967 Act? If so aren't you under...
  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 23rd May - 12:38am
    Ironically came across this just after reading (belatedly) about Harvey Milk day, who once said, "“If you want to change the world, start in your...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 22nd May - 11:05pm
    We should debate Liberalism, not liberalism.
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 22nd May - 10:08pm
    No thanks, Michael 1, let's not debate Liberalism again. Too many dubious bedfellows claim to be liberals, and even if they also declare themselves social...