Tory source: Tiverton “likely to fall to the Liberal Democrats”

The announcement of Richard Foord as our candidate for the Tiverton and Honiton by-election was a very clever piece of work by the press team at  LDHQ.

An article in the Telegraph not only had many of our key messages about the by-election, but quoted a Conservative source as saying that the seat was likely to fall to us:

The Liberal Democrat campaign in the constituency is expected to focus on policy areas on which the Conservatives are weak in southern seats, including tax increases and protections for “the rural way of life”.

A Conservative Party source told The Telegraph the seat is likely to fall to the Liberal Democrats, piling pressure on Boris Johnson to shore up support in “blue wall” areas rather than focussing solely on red wall” seats in the north of England.

This is clearly a piece of expectation management by the Conservatives, but it is a risk for them to say something that is clearly going to be quoted on our leaflets and social media adverts until residents in Tiverton and Honiton are hearing those words in their dreams.

There’s another wee gem in the article:

Tory strategists also anticipate difficulties persuading London-based activists to campaign in Tiverton and Honiton, because the Devon constituency is too far away.

Activists are understood to have told party bosses they would prefer to campaign in Wakefield, where a by-election is happening on the same day, because it is easier to reach from the capital.

Now, I would not be lulled into a false sense of security by this. There will be very many Tories in Tiverton and Honiton over the next five weeks. Our job is to make sure that there are a couple of Lib Dems for every Conservative activist.

If we can get our activists to head to North Shropshire in December in the middle of a Covid wave, then we can certainly get people to Devon in the Summer.. The maraphones, which were so important in mobilising people for the two previous by-elections, are back in action. We’ve already been churning out literature and spoken to many people on the doorsteps. This weekend and next are particularly important to get Richard established in people’s minds as their next MP.

Everything you need to know about how to help is on Richard’s website.

Remember how brilliant we felt on 16th June last year when Sarah Green won Chesham and Amersham? And how our hearts were warmed by Helen Morgan’s victory in North Shropshire in December? Both these were mountains to climb for us. Tiverton is another such challenge. Please do everything you can to give us the best chance of another huge upset and gaining a 14th MP.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Brad Barrows 21st May '22 - 10:58am

    Let us hope that this is a genuine assessment of the likely outcome of this by-election and not just ‘expectation management’ from which anything less than a decisive Liberal Democrat victory will be presented as a major setback to the party.

  • Interesting to see LDV has picked up on the article in the Daily Telegraph.

    It may well be an exercise in preparing the Tory faithful (who are mostly in England these days) for bad news from a news management point of view. The impact of the result would thus have less resonance if/when it actually happens.

    The Telegraph article also describes Major Foord as a ‘classical liberal’ ……. whatever the implication of that may be.

  • Tristan Ward 21st May '22 - 2:03pm

    Expectation management. But we have a good chance.

  • I still want to know if our candidate Richard Foorde is aware of ‘Purple Spaceships over Yatton’ 😃 😀 He should understand 😉

  • I am sure no-one falls for that one from Tory Central Office. We should Ignore and throw the kitchen sink at it.

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