by Stephen Tall on September 7, 2014
Congratulations to former Lib Dem MP for Newbury, David, Rendel, who was last night selected by Lib Dem members in Somerton and Frome as the party’s parliamentary candidate for the May 2015 general election. David will be attempting to retain David Heath’s seat, won in 2010 with a majority of 1,817 over the Tories.
The party has previously selected a PPC for the seat. Sarah Yong was selected in February this year, but stood down five months later. There had even been speculation that the party was gently arm-twisting David Heath to throw his hat back into the ring.
David Rendel needs no introduction to most Lib Dems. He was the victor of the famous 1993 Newbury by-election, who held the seat in 1997 and 2001. He stood for the party leadership when Paddy Ashdown retired in 1999 (I was one of those who voted for him, but it did him no good: he finished fifth). He attempted a comeback in Newbury in 2010, but to no avail. Famously, he was the only member on the Lib Dems’ Federal Executive to vote against the Coalition.
He knows it’ll be a tough fight in Somerton and Frome. Until 2010 David Heath had held the seat at three consecutive elections with majorities below 1,000. But at 65 there are few more tireless campaigners.
* 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.