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