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Tiverton by-election win shows Lib Dems can win back mid-Wales heartlands says Jane Dodds

24 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Jane Dodds. Photo Welsh Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrat’s big by-election win in Tiverton and Honiton shows that they can take back their mid-Wales heartland seats, according to Welsh party leader Jane Dodds.

A swing of almost 30% from the Tories to the Liberal Democrats saw Richard Foord secure a majority of 6,144 in the Devon seat of Tiverton and Honiton. The vote was triggered by the resignation of Neil Parish after he was caught watching pornography in Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats controlled all three mid-Wales constituencies as recently as 2005 but they have been picked off one by one over the following three General Elections.

But Jane Dodds said victory in a “demographically similar” Leave-leaning Conservative seat showed there was now a good chance that they could win back their seats in Powys, in particular, at the next General Election.

“This is yet another massive victory for the Liberal Democrats,” Jane Dodds said. “Our third by election victory in the space of a year, it is clear the Lib Dems are back as a serious political force.

“The scale of the victory least night demonstrates particularly how left behind rural areas feel by a Conservative Party that only ever focuses on the Southeast of England and shows such little interest in levelling up communities like Devon, Shropshire and Powys.

“I have no doubt voters in Powys feel just as fed up and taken advantage of by the Conservatives as those in Devon. Just last month, we saw that anger unfold at the ballot box when the Welsh Liberal Democrats became the largest party on Powys Council.”

‘Work hard’

The swing of 29.9% seen in Tiverton and Honiton would comfortably see the Liberal Democrats win their former heartland seats of Brecon & Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire in mid-Wales if replicated in a general election.

The by-election marks the third victory for the Liberal Democrats in a year after they secured  Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire.

“Voters in rural areas want tangible plans to improve their lives and are seeing them policies from the Liberal Democrats, whether it is our policy to expand the rural fuel discount to drivers in rural Wales, cut VAT to 17.5% or standing up or our farmers against Conservative and Labour indifference,” Jane Dodds said.

“The Liberal Democrats roots are embedded in rural areas and standing up for our communities, small local businesses, farms, towns and villages and we will continue work hard over the coming years to offer people in Powys a positive vision for the future ahead of the next general election.”

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are due to announce their candidate for their top target seat of Brecon and Radnorshire by the end of August.

It is currently held by Conservative MP Fay Jones who has continued to publicly back Boris Johnson.


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The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago

I would suggest that unless the Lib Dems get the farmers on board, they won’t gain anything in Mid Wales. And isn’t it rather typical that a Welsh politician in an English party conflates an English constituency with a Welsh one?

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago

Tell that to farmer James Gibson-Watt, newly elected Lib Dem leader of Powys CC.

Brecon and Radnor and large swathes of Mid and North Wales were Liberal for generations and rural folk have long memories. Given that over 40% of the electors in B&R are English-born it is a valid comparison.

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago

They can win back mid Wales votes from Tories. Not form anyone else. This is not about a rise in popularity of the Lib Dems. It’s about the collapse in popularity of the far right Johnsonite Kelptocracy

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
5 months ago

I fear that Ms Dodds is seeing the result of the by-election through rose coloured spectacles. What happened there was a serious amount of tactical voting rather that people simply thinking that the Lib-Dems are wonderful. If we want to make Wales a Tory Free Zone then we need for the non-Tory parties to work together and offer a unity candidate to stand against the Tory in each constituency. Compass has been working hard on this for some time but party chiefs are against it. They seem to think that it is better to have their party’s candidate stand and… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Any vote for a pro-Uk party is a vote against our interests and Welsh sovereignty. If being anti-Tory is not nested within being pro-indy then it is effectively a vote for maintaining the UK, Tories and all. Playing the UK politics game has been a loser for us for over 800 years. Put down the dice and choose a new game.

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Does any political leader not put such a positive slant on a big by election win?! If she said anything else she would be seen as not building up Lib Dem chances in the minds of their campaigners and probable voters.

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
5 months ago

Yes and no. You’re right to say that Johnson’s support is collapsing, but not the reason why. Boris is losing the support of moderate right wing voters. They don’t like his far right ways and therefore refuse to vote Tory while he’s in number 10. Of course that doesn’t mean to say they’ll vote for anyone else either. That said enough of them have and will vote Lib Dem to get Boris out. I think it’s increasingly likely that Boris will go and a number of moderate right wing Tory MPs will join the Government and as a result of… Read more »

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago
Reply to  Owain Morgan

I think I was signposting in that direction as regards the reasons. That said, I agree with the majority of your post. I’m just not sure there’s a lot of moderate Tories left in Government. The 2019 pogrom of the moderates pretty much left the party with mainly amoral chancers and Brexiteer far right wingers. Why else would the party “wait until the police investigation is complete” to see how the public react then “wait until the Gray report” then see how the public react, then vote FOR confidence in the PM, then “wait until the two by elections” to… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Not My Real Name
Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
5 months ago

Lib-Dems have won by not being Labour and not being Tory, its not the same as a resurgence in popularity of a party, lest we forget, that happily accepted Tory Ideological Austerity in the coalition government in Westminster in return for a 5p carrier bag tax, a policy that had been adopted in Cymru many years earlier WITHOUT contributing to the misery and deaths of sick and disabled people… What are they going to offer us in Cymru? We already have the bag thing sorted, Welsh Labour whilst not the perfect government in a perfect system, has done a damn… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

Different country Jane.

CJPh
CJPh
5 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

Not to her it’s not. Nor to Labour. Nor the Tories.

hdavies15
hdavies15
5 months ago

Fay might be a target by the next GE because she has set herself up that way. However the numbers of white settlers in the B&R constituency may give her resilience. It will be interesting to see whether she begins to shuffle away from Boris over the next few months.

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