It’s probably fair to say that the news from the national political scene was not exactly the most helpful for those fighting by-election campaigns on 9th December. But despite this we still managed to pull off an amazing victory in Fareham in Hampshire – a council dominated by Conservatives and with just 9 Lib Dem councillors.
The secret of their success is very simple – lots of hard work by a team campaigning on local issues. This meant that when voters went to the polls, electing a hardworking councillor who was addressing local political concerns was far more important than what was going on in Westminster. The campaign consisted of regular very local Focus leaflets and lots of work on the ground and goes to show that it’s possible to get impressive results regardless of the national situation. The result in Fareham adds to a string of brilliant by-election results in Hampshire since the General Election. In fact this result was even more amazing if you compare with the last ‘normal’ election (i.e. not combined with the General Election) in this seat since when there has been a 34% swing to the Lib Dems.
Unfortunately it wasn’t all good news with a defeat to Labour in Warrington. This by-election was caused by the resignation of our councillor who had moved out of the area. Something, that became an issue during the campaign. However, it should also be borne in mind that this was already a marginal seat between us and Labour, and we failed to gain the third seat in this ward in May.
Finally, although we don’t often cover parish council results, it’s worth giving a mention to a great result from Truro City Council. The election saw the Lib Dems gain a seat from Labour with 51% of the vote in a constituency that we narrowly failed to defend in May. A good sign of our electoral resilience in Cornwall.
The New Year is getting off to a Flying Start with a one-day training event in Taunton on 8th January. Flying Start is being organised jointly with the regional parties and the Campaigns Department and it is open to Lib Dems from across the South West. It will provide basic campaigns skills training and support to local campaign teams. More details are available on the ALDC website under MyALDC News and bookings should be made to Judith Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Anders Hanson
ALDC Senior Political Officer