Friday, December 08, 2006

Another significant by-election win

In a high-profile ward in the UK capital, Liberal Democrats have made another gain.

Last night Ralph Scott was elected as the new councillor for Kentish
Town in the London Borough of Camden, winning the seat from Labour.

Ralph Scott 1093
Green 812
Labour 808
Conservative 198

This represents a major victory for us - it is an endorsement of the LibDem leadership of the Council.

The Greens are deeply upset and disappointed - they thought this was their election and they threw everything into it. Labour took a not disimilar tactic but concentrated on throwing dirt. Yet again, David Cameron's pitch for liberal and green votes was a dismal failure.


Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats said...

And the following press notice has just been issued by Crawley Liberal Democrats:

Councillor Marcella Head has left the Conservative party and the
Conservative group on Crawley Borough Council to join the Liberal

The Council make up is now 18 Con, 16 Lab and 3 Lib Dem.

As a result Crawley Borough Council is no longer a Conservative majority controlled council. With no one political party having a majority of Councillors this means Crawley is now under No Overall Control with the Liberal Democrats holding the effective balance of power.

This is devastating news for the Conservatives in what is the most
marginal seat in the country and in the week that David Cameron
celebrates the anniversary of becoming leader.

Marcella is distributing a letter (text of it below) to her constituents in Broadfield South over the weekend explaining her decision to resign from the Conservatives and join the Liberal Democrats.

Crawley BC covers exactly the same boundaries as the Crawley
parliamentary seat. The Borough Council, up to May this year, had been Labour for over 30 years. The Conservatives took control this May after gaining three seats. One seat was won with a majority of 21 and another on the drawing of lots after a 500 vote dead heat.

The Crawley parliamentary seat is the most marginal in the country and Labour held it in 2005 with a majority of 37 votes.

Commenting on Marcella's decision to join the Lib Dems the Lib Dem group leader on Crawley Borough Council, Gordon Seekings, said "To say I'm happy about Marcella joining us is an understatement. From talking to her from when she was first elected it was clear that she was both a liberal and a Liberal Democrat. It just took her a while to realise it."

In her letter Marcella has said:

“I am writing to let you know that I have been representing Broadfield
South residents as a Councillor on behalf of the Conservative party
since May 2004. It has been a difficult decision to make but I feel I am no longer able to do so given my recent personal experiences as a Councillor and Broadfield resident.

“I am now certain I can best represent the community here in Broadfield and the town as a Liberal Democrat member.

“On local issues I believe that we should retain the Council housing
stock without unnecessary cuts to any resident of Crawley – whether
these are tenants, leaseholders, or private owner. I support better NHS
facilities. Locally we should reinstate full services at Crawley
Hospital, and both nationally and locally put patients first.

“Over the last 7 months I have found that the present Conservative run Council is no better at dealing with problems than the previous Labour controlled one. I believe for example that every resident, including those in the Courts area of Broadfield, should have an equal opportunity to recycle using the red top-bins. These are not available there, so we
are told, 'because of funding'.

“On national issues I totally disagree with Britain going to war in Iraq – an issue that I have always agreed with the Liberal Democrats on.

“We need to restore trust both in national and local government and that everyone should have an equal opportunity to be heard and treated fairly whatever their background or situation.

“To serve the people of Broadfield - who I continue to be proud to
represent – can better be done within the Liberal Democrats than as a Conservative or Labour member. We may be a minority group but together we will speak out fairly and truthfully for the local people on the issues that others may try to sweep under the carpet.

“I pledge to continue to serve the residents of Broadfield firstly and
foremost and promise to work alongside other Councillors, no matter from what party, for the residents here in Broadfield."

Anonymous said...

Your drawing of conclusions from isolated by-election results to try and build up morale is quite laughable.

For some reason you make no mention of this particular contest which also took place this week...........

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats said...

Neither did we mention the following by-election victories on 30th November this year (2 weeks ago) But we don't want to rub peoples noses in it!

Tewkesbury BC - LD gain from LAB
Shropshire CC - LD gain from IND
Nescastle City, Lemington - LD gain from LAB
Maidstone BC - LD gain from LAB
East Lindsey DC - LD gain from IND

Go check the facts! Every week we consistently gain more councillors, nationally, than any other party. You must accept that there is a general trend there!

Anonymous said...

Surely the general trend is that the Lib Dems do OK in mid-term by-elections as the ideal use of a protest vote but fail to translate it nationally into anything meaningful or sustainable.

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats said...

What the general trend shows, and was evident in the last Local Elections, is that we continue to win by-elections and yet consolidate our by-election victories at National Level. A trend that continues to grow. Slowly but surely the Liberal Democrats are winning more and more votes and seats in both the Labour and Conservative heartlands. Yes, there will be several setbacks along the way, there always is. But, if you look at the figures overall during the past 10 years you'll find a steady increase in our share of the vote, number of votes, seats in Westminster, number of councillors, number of councils under our control, etc, etc.....

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats said...

Frank Little adds:

The reason we picked these two by-election wins as significant is because:

- in Crawley, the sitting labour MP is now represented by a Liberal Democrat councillor (and is reported to be not best pleased about it!);

- in Camden, Liberal Democrats won control from Labour at the last London local elections. There is usually a reaction against the ruling party in mid-term by-elections.