Lib Dems come within touching distance of winning a first Council seat on Great Yarmouth Borough Council since 1998

Voters in the Hopton & Bradwell South by-election almost gave the Liberal Democrats their first representative on Yarmouth Borough Council since 1998 on Thursday, in what was formerly a safe Conservative seat. Aleck Buchanan, the Liberal Democrat candidate, was only 6.1% of the votes away from winning, with Labour in third place.

The result was:

Conservative 475 (37.3%; drop of 15.9% compared with 2007 result)
Lib Dem 397 (31.2%; increase of 31.2% compared with 2007)
Labour 254 (20%; -7.9%)
UKIP 116 (9.1%; -9.8%)
Green 29 (2.3%; +2.3%)

Seat last fought: May 2007
Turnout: 25%

The Lib Dems made a wise choice in having a long time local resident who understood the issues, but this was also the first test for Great Yarmouth Lib Dems since they have been getting support from Norwich and North Norfolk Lib Dems. The experience they have now got, and the boost to their small but very keen campaigning team will pay dividends in the future.

The campaign was masterminded by Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat agent for Norman Lamb in 2005, and also parliamentary candidate for Norwich South Lib Dems.

Simon Wright said “Many Conservative voters switched to supporting us in this election, because they were so angry over the dreadful state of the Conservative-controlled Council’s financial reporting.”

Mr Wright added: “Labour should also be concerned by this result, which has seen them slip into poor third place. Great Yarmouth parliamentary constituency has in the recent past been close between Labour and Conservatives, but what this by-election result proves is that there are many voters rejecting the stale politics of the old two party system. These are exciting times for the Liberal Democrats who are offering a positive and distinctive alternative.”

Having myself spent a few rather fruitless sessions in Great Yarmouth over the years, this really is a massive turnaround in Lib Dem fortunes in the Borough. I have been involved in a couple of by-elections there in the past and despite a lot of support and outside effort on those previous occasions, we never ever came close, so this result bodes well for the future.


asquith said...

Let's hope Snooty Dave and his pals get some heavy losses. They deserve it for fraudulently claiming to be liberals. People are going to see through them.

Anonymous said...

Was there anything more that could have been done to bridge the gap? More knock ups - that sort of thing?

Norfolk Blogger said...

This is an area with no Lib Dems on the council, it has never ever had a Lib Dem voting tradition and the ward in question has always been a yo-yo con/lab marginal in the past. Everything possible was done, but for a first proper go this was a really good result.

I hindsight there is always mreo you can do with more helpers and Great yarmouth were not as inundated as they might have wished, bt they did have some amazing literature. Simon Wright and Simon Drage, the Lib Dem campaign people in Norfolk, produce incredibly effective leaflets.

Duncan Borrowman said...

I didn't see this was happening. Next time I may come up and stay with my inlaws in Gt Yarmouth!

Anonymous said...

The only reason for the huge increase in the % vote share was because we did not contest the seat in 2007

Norfolk Blogger said...

Your are wrong actually. The real increase in the vote was down to the leaflets, the canvassing and the campaign. if it were simply down to "not fielding a candidate", then how come the Lib Dem only got 12% last year in Nelson Ward (Great Yarmouth BC). Even if you take 12% of the Lib Dem vote there was still a massive increase.

Of course your detailed explanation and further critical information about Norfolk politics would be gratefully appreciated if you have some indide knowledge to offer us all.