RICHMOND – ZAC Goldsmith who quit his safe Conservative seat at Richmond in protest at government plans to initiate a a third Heathrow runway has been defeated in the resulting by election by the Lib DEMS. Sarah Olney successfully turned the campaign into a referendum on brexit which Goldsmith had backed. Olney’s victory by 1,782 votes which overturned a 23,000 majority has been hailed by Lib DEMS leader Tim Farrow as an indication that his party is back.
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Lib Dems have lost 46 seats and now hold just 8.
THE THINGS PEOPLE SAY .. What the Lib Dem Leader said before and what he did once David Cameron opened the door to him at Number 10
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ANALYSIS – Nick Clegg and Paddy Ashdown made a decision in 2010 to form a coalition with the Conservatives, and not the party which would have been their natural allies, namely Labour.
Today, after the latest disastrous election results, one of the founding members of the Lib Dems Lord Oakeshott resigned after he admitted to commissioning ICM polls that showed the deputy prime minister would lose his parliamentary seat in the next election.
Activists, former councillors and unseated MEPs need to know what the deal was that those two figures struck with David Cameron and why they chose to side with the Tories and not Labour who even offered the resignation of Gordon Brown to make a Lab-Lib Dem pact work.
For the mantra from Nick Clegg that he had made a sacrifice to help get the country back on its feet clearly doesn’t wash with the general public, as well as the party faithful.
Nick Clegg took a risk – he would prop up a Conservative party that had not secured enough seats to govern in exchange for a place in the heart of power. He hoped it would all come good – instead he’s led them to disaster, and with UKIP now a serious contender, the Lib Dems could well have been damaged irrevocably.
Lord Oakeshott also says he regrets the ‘upset and embarrassment’ to his old friend Vince Cable. He says he wishes he had spoken to Cable before he had condemned Oakeshott’s poll on Clegg leaving. Oakeshott says he will be leaving the party he helped to set up because he doesn’t agree with the direction the Lib Dems have taken.
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