Crewe neck-and-neck sweater?*

by Stephen Tall on May 9, 2008

The usually very reliable Times political correspondent Sam Coates’ Red Box blog carried a rather bizarre posting yesterday, alleging the Lib Dems had more or less given up on Crewe. Party chief exec and by-election genius Lord Rennard soon put him right:

Just come to our HQ in Crewe and see us there for proof of our very serious intent! The Labour vote is very weak (as evidenced by our gains in Crewe South in the local elections) – so Lib Dems will aim to repeat earlier by-election successes.

And today the Lib Dems’ director of campaigns, Hilay Stephenson, issued this clarion call for assistance to party members:

It it is just 13 days to polling day in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

We’ve got off to a flying start with a tremendously strong by-election team and an exceptional candidate in Elizabeth Shenton, who has already made a strong impression on voters and the local press.

Here’s what the Crewe Chronicle had to say yesterday:

Elizabeth Shenton must be optimistic after her party pushed Labour into third place in the local elections. The Liberal Democrats took 25% of the vote nationally while Labour took 24%.

But we have a VERY short time indeed. We expect postal vote ballot papers to arrive with voters on Saturday and Monday, and this means we have a lot of work to do delivering and knocking on doors this weekend. Nick Clegg will be with us today to support Elizabeth’s campaign and we need your help to make a big splash right through this weekend.

Our canvass shows that the millionaire Tory candidate is failing to impress and Gordon Brown’s Labour candidate is not convincing the voters. There is all to play for. We just need enough people to come NOW to help us keep up the momentum.

Full details of how to get to our HQ are at www.elizabethshenton.com/help-elizabeth-win and you can read more about what an excellent person we have in Elizabeth at www.elizabethshenton.com/elizabeth-shenton-biography

The Henley contest will not be far behind and we are already in full swing there as well, with our HQ up and running and another very impressive by-election operation under way.

We know that the Tories will be bringing people in from all over the south this weekend. We know from experience that making an early impact is vital. We have lots of delivery and canvassing there waiting to be done. Please come and get our Henley campaign off to the flying start it needs. Full details of our HQ (in Thame) are at www.henleylibdems.org.uk/contact/

After all, what better way to spend a spring weekend than exploring the by-ways of Oxfordshire or Cheshire?

Both campaigns are giving us an excellent opportunity to push our positive agenda – and to really catch the attention of the public.

I look forward to seeing you!

Best wishes,

Hilary Stephenson
Director of Campaigns, Liberal Democrats

P.S. The weather forecast in both places this weekend is for a sunny weekend – perfect campaigning weather!

* sincere apologies for the headline.