Chris Rennard's verdict

by Stephen Tall on July 20, 2007

Commenting on Lib Dem Voice, Lib Dem chief executive and by-election supremo Lord Chris Rennard has posted the following assessment of how the party fared in the Ealing Southall and Sedgefield by-elections:

In Ealing Southall, our campaigns teams’ assesment of the state of play over the final weekend was not very far off the result. Of course, we hoped and thought that we could get even closer by polling day.

We published that assessment (inc on Lib Dem Voice). Our figures were Lab 37, LD 31, Con 22. The final result was Lab 41, LD 28 and Con 22.

In the end we won the Ealing end of the seat, but lost in Southall where Labour eventually managed to deliver some of their traditional votes in very large numbers.

“David Cameron’s Conservatives” did no better than “Michael Howard’s Conservatives” and less well than “William Hague’s Conservatives”. They managed to trash their reputation in this by-election.

Some people will be aware of Conservative claims in the last few days that the by-election was running at Lab 33, Con 33, LD 26. This was not generally reported in the press (apart from the Guardian) but some commentators may have been misled by them. BBC Newsnight and others had already wrongly asserted that we were in third place.

Journalists will at least be able in future to know that they can safely ignore Conservative “analysis” or “leaked figures”.

Overall we got two good results in very difficult circumstances and in very short campaigns.

In Sedgefield we pushed the Tories into third – again highlighting the lack of “Cameron’s Conservatives” appeal in the north of England.

In both cases, our campaign teams were brilliant and will be ready for whatever challenges come our way in future. See you there.