by Stephen Tall on July 14, 2014
It’s six months since Sarah Yong was selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Somerton and Frome, held by David Heath since 1997. Today she’s announced her decision to stand down. Here’s the letter she’s sent to her local paper, announcing the news:
I just wanted to let you know that it is with great regret that I’ve decided to stand down from my role as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Somerton and Frome. I have made this decision for personal reasons and as a result of changes in personal circumstances.
It’s a decision I’ve not taken lightly, and it’s one I take with a heavy heart. I would have loved to have followed in David Heath’s footsteps as the MP for Somerton and Frome.
Feel free to quote any of this email in a news story you may wish to write.
With very best wishes,
In an email to LibDemVoice, Sarah added:
I’m sure you’ll all know how difficult a decision this has been for me. But sometimes things don’t always work out in the way you planned.
I would like to thank everyone for their support over the past 6 months, and in particular David Heath with whom it has been a privilege to work and who is an outstanding public servant and MP for the people of Somerton and Frome.
It is difficult single out individuals for the kindness and support that they have shown me, but I would also like to thank Paddy Ashdown for his personal encouragement and the faith he has shown in me.
I wish the new PPC for Somerton and Frome well.
That goes for us as well – and in return may we wish Sarah the very best for whatever comes next. Being a candidate, especially for the Lib Dems, is a tough task — as my 2008 series, ‘The PPC Files’, made all too clear.
Somerton and Frome has remained a Lib Dem seat these past 17 years in large measure thanks to David Heath’s unstinting dedication. Holding it will be a tough battle. Holding it with a candidate with just months to bed into the constituency before the next election tougher still. Good luck to the local party and whoever they select.
UPDATE Tuesday 8:40 am
Paddy Ashdown has commented on Sarah’s decision:
Sarah is a considerable political talent, and I’m sure we’ll see her in Westminster in the future. She is a close personal friend and I’m sad she hasn’t been able to stand on this occasion. I have no doubt, this isn’t the last we’ve heard of her.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.