Many Liberal Democrats are familiar with the phrase ‘A record of action, a promise of more’. When it comes to winning elections, building momentum this is my promise to you.
A clear message to keep winning
To win across the country – in both leave and remain areas – we will need a leader with winning in their blood. Who will ensure we have a clear message on Brexit, and on the other issues which matter to people across the UK – education, the economy, the NHS, and the environment. Our recent success has shown the same as my win in 1997 – that a simple, meaningful message is vital. For now, to Stop Brexit is the right message. This has helped Liberal Democrats get back in the game, and will keep us in the game.
Beyond this, it’s about campaigning for – and winning – the arguments which are morally right. This is why I’m such as clear advocate of stopping Brexit. It’s why I moved the legislation to remove the vile section 28 from the law, why I fought for a constituent when he was wrongly imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, and why I fought to make Britain a leader in renewable energy. Our liberal values matched to our election winning experience makes us a formidable force in British Politics.
With both the Tories and Labour crumbling we have a historic opportunity. Back me for Leader and I know I will lead our Party to make the most of it.
Supporting local parties across the UK
As Liberal Democrats it isn’t just about campaigning in our local party – we all support each other., Its why I don’t just campaign on the years we have elections in Kingston. You’ll see me make the case for our Party on doorsteps every year, all year round, whether in key by-elections such as Eastleigh or Richmond Park, or for local council elections in areas such as Portsmouth, Sheffield, and Chelmsford.
I know that campaigning it isn’t just about winning seats in Parliament – it’s about ensuring we have more Liberal Democrats at every level of government. Whether it means commanding a majority on a parish council in Herefordshire, running a borough council in South Oxfordshire or regaining seats such as Southport, Liberal Democrats in office make a difference.
These wins are vital in building local parties across the UK, enthusing our activists and ensuring that across the country voters know that Liberal Democrats stand up for them.
When I was selected as the parliamentary candidate for Kingston & Surbiton in 1995, it wasn’t a target seat. We were 108th on the party’s list of winnable seats.
However, I knew we could do it – the local council group had been growing since the 1980s, and there was an amazing team of dedicated campaigners which I was determined to grow. We also had a simple message – Ed for Education.
And so, as Labour swept to power across the UK, we took Kingston & Surbiton from under the nose of the Conservatives – by just 56 votes (after three recounts!).
It was after we won where the hard work really started. Leading a local party and building a team which has continued to deliver success – both for local residents and at the ballot box. We’ve run hugely successful campaigns on the NHS, development and education funding. We’ve had achieved one of the largest majorities in the country: in 2001 my majority was over 15,000, in 2018 the Liberal Democrats took all but 9 seats on Kingston Council and in 2019 we had one of the best European Election results in the country.
My team locally know how seriously I take campaigning. After I lost my seat in 2015 I was on the doorsteps two weeks later, ensuring our local members were galvanised and that they knew how important the Grove by-election was in our local Lib Dem Fightback (and we won with a majority just shy of 1000).