Tag Archives: witney by-election

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 could be a turning point for the Lib Dems

The result in the Witney by-election was a substantial swing to the LibDems, jumping from fourth place on 6.8% to second place on 30.2%. Liz Leffman and her team did an outstanding job, and the party was clearly ready to rally to the cause.

Over the next few days there were speculations about what that would mean if replicated at a General Election, with estimates of the number of seats likely to switch from Tory to LibDem put between 26 and 51. The statistician in me is wary of those extrapolations: there are lots of unknowns at by-elections, and British politics is especially turbulent at the moment.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Witney result shows that the Liberal Democrats are back in the political big time

winninghere-at-witney-from-holly-mathiesFollowing the excellent result for the Liberal Democrats, an excellent 30%, a swing from the Tories the likes of which hasn’t been seen for nearly two decades, Tim Farron has been writing for the Huffington Post. His message: we’re back.

The result not only signals that the Liberal Democrats are back in the political big time and the return to third party politics, but also a clear rejection of the Conservative Brexit government’s plan to take Britain out of the Single Market.

Don’t underestimate what we have achieved. We started here

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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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Independent: “The Lib Dems could steal David Cameron’s seat tomorrow”

Liz LeffmanQuite a story in the Independent:

The Liberal Democrats came fourth last year with just 7 per cent of the vote, but could now leapfrog Labour and Ukip into second place. Normally there are no prizes for political runners-up, but if the Lib Dem candidate Liz Leffman comes a strong second it would give some credence to the “Lib Dem fightback” messages that activists send to each other to keep their spirits up after their crushing defeat in 2015.

It seems that they have noticed the effectiveness of Liz Leffman’s energetic campaign which has firmly established her as the main challenger to the Tories in Witney. Labour are nowhere in the seat – their vote is doing the snow off a dyke thing.

What the Conservatives want more than anything is for people to vote Labour or Green. You can tell this from the almost identically  misleading stories in the Express and the Telegraph.  They give prominent position to a poll putting the Tories 17 points ahead of Labour – but it’s the national monthly ICM poll which has no bearing on what’s happening on the ground in Witney. You have to wonder why they were bothering, given that they expect the by-election to be such an easy Conservative hold.

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Alistair Carmichael MP writes…Sometimes it is not a bad thing to be an elitist!

Now that I have your attention let me explain what I mean.  In 1982 I was part of an “elite squad” of Liberals and Social Democrats who campaigned in the Queens Park by-election.   It was not the most fertile of territory and despite having an excellent candidate (one Graham Watson, sorry Sir Graham) we finished, I think, a “good fourth”.

For me it was the first taste of what was to become a minor obsession, namely campaigning in parliamentary by-elections.  Since then I have seen the good, the bad and the indifferent.  A “good by-election” is like nothing else.   If Theresa May had realised how stimulating and addictive by-election campaigning can be for Liberal Democrats then she would have found a way to bring it within the Psychoactive Substances Act.

Last Thursday and Friday I joined our excellent candidate, Liz Leffman and her awesome team in Witney.

Let me tell you – Witney is a GOOD by-election.

In fact, it is good and getting better and heading for being excellent.

What can make the difference between good and excellent?  You can.

Bluntly the party needs you to get to Witney tomorrow and on Wednesday and again on Thursday.  You can have your life back again on Friday.

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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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Making a few calls could make all the difference in Witney

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)At ALDC, our usual by-election HQ has been taken over by supporters phoning for Witney – and what a positive experience it has been!

Lots of our newer party members have used the Witney by-election as an opportunity for some training, and this has been no different on the phones. Last week we were joined by Sally who joined the Lib Dems only a few weeks ago and is now signed up to join us again for the remained of the campaign.

With just a week to go, we need many more people to hit the phone to reach to all of the voters!

There are three easy ways you can help on the phones.

1. Make calls from home. This could not be easier and if you are already on Connect, you should automatically see the list in the Virtual Phone Bank. Alternatively use the Open Virtual Phone Bank –https://www.openvpb.com/vpb_bycode/C82DE1G-3349

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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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Heart of England, reject the Tories now

Perhaps we should have known. The Witney constituency is West Oxfordshire, a quiet, beautiful farming area of fields dotted with golden-stone villages and small towns. It is an area for hunting, real ale and country dancing. Among the little towns is Chipping Norton. And Chipping Norton became identified with a ‘set’, including David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks – and you remember then about the News of the World and the phone-hacking scandal.

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Tim Farron opens Witney by-election HQ

This video (below) shows a spirited Tim Farron opening our large HQ in Witney. Please do help with Liz Leffman’s campaign! You can help by following this link.

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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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+++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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 21st Apr - 2:16pm
    It makes sense to bring these assessments in-house so that some expertise is built up, the right decisions made and applicants are treated with respect...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 21st Apr - 2:16pm
    marcstevens: "Every day we’re treated to EU and migrant phobia … much of it lies and will be proved as such." Please see 'This Blessed...
  • User Avatarmatt 21st Apr - 2:03pm
    frankie Please will you stop making everything about brexit. This has nothing to do with brexit whatsoever. This is an issue that has been going...
  • User AvatarRob Parsons 21st Apr - 1:56pm
    @Joseph Bourke thank you :-)
  • User Avatarfrankie 21st Apr - 1:39pm
    Question is "What is the aim of Disablity payments, to maximise profit or to support the disabled?". If it to maximise profit the present system...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 21st Apr - 12:59pm
    Thanks for that, Rob. It looks like you have been able to get a strong team of candidates together. Good luck to Lewes Liberal Democrats...