How things change in one short month – an outstanding net gain of over 700 councillors on 2 May, a net gain of 10 councils, resulting in us running or in coalition in 47 councils and then on 23 May winning 16 seats in the European Parliament (our biggest group ever!), an increase of 15. We were second place overall with 20% of the vote.
One thing is evident: the high calibre of our councillors and MEPs. We are back with a campaigning zeal and will be able to fight for residents, our country and against Brexit. I certainly plan to keep campaigning until we stop Brexit so they can stay there for the full five years until 2024 and I know you will too!
And on Friday we welcomed Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham, to the Liberal Democrats. He has worked with us over the last three years to help fight Brexit, and defeat the Government. He recognises that we are the pro-European, liberal, centre-ground party and I am delighted he has made the decision to join us. He’s already working with his local Liberal Democrats!
I also want to welcome to the more than 20,000 new members of the Party this newsletter is going to for the first time! Thank you for signing up, and we look forward to you becoming active in the party: our members have a key say in how the party is run, so do get involved locally and online.
I must say I have been overwhelmed by the tweets I’ve seen of people joining and the reasons they’ve given for doing so. It’s clear that people are joining us from all parties and none because with politics as febrile as it is, we’re the one party that’s absolutely clear. We want to stop Brexit. “Bollocks to Brexit” was our clarion call during the European Elections and oh boy! were we heard!
I also want to congratulate Becki Sellick our wonderful candidate who tripled our results at the same time as we were fighting European elections. Becki, you and your team are amazing!
We have an opportunity to keep building the momentum those fantastic results have created in Brecon and Radnorshire. The Tory MP there is facing a recall petition following his conviction for fraud on his parliamentary expenses. If it succeeds it will trigger a by-election in a seat where our brilliant Leader in Wales Jane Dodds is our candidate. She will be a great voice for Wales in the Westminster Parliament but we need your help to get her there. Please join the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election virtual HQ on Facebook to be kept up to date with all the campaigning that’s going on there. I’ve been twice already in the last few weeks and the reception is great! If you can give any time to visit, it’s a stunningly beautiful constituency but if you can’t get to Wales then you can also make calls from home, find all the details here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/byelections
As your President, I have to be neutral in the Leadership Election. But what I can say is this. Both of the candidates are exceptional and I look forward to working with whoever wins. Whichever of them wins is going to use our recent success as a springboard to more. They’re both experienced parliamentarians, and former ministers, but even more important than that in a Lib Dem Leader, they’re both campaigners, people that pound the streets, wearing out shoe leather to talk to people about our vision for a liberal Britain (and I know they’ve both delivered their fair share of leaflets over the years too!). The voting opens on the 1st July and the result is announced on the 23rd July, watch out for details about that but until then, there have been and continue to be hustings in the regions and there’s an online hustings on Monday 17th June which I’m chairing, you can RSVP to here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/leadership-hustings-online - I hope you can make it!