Camden: The LibDem Fight-Back
Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 26th May, 2010
The recent general election was a bitter disappointment for the Liberal Democrats in the London borough of Camden. The party’s Ed Fordham didn’t seize the parliamentary seat of Hampstead & Kilburn as had been widely expected, let alone Jo Shaw in Holborn & St Pancras, which looked like an outside chance when opinion polls were suggesting a great ‘Clegg surge’. Moreover, far from taking outright control of Camden Council — which the party had run in coalition with the Conservatives since 2006 — the LibDems lost a significant number of seats in the local elections that took place on the same day. Higher turnout resulted in some of the local party’s most prominent figures being ousted from the Town Hall, though actually the LibDems’ overall share of the vote was much higher than one might think from the results delivered under the first-past-the-post electoral system. Three Council seats were not contested on 6 May, however, as one of the LibDem Councillors in Haverstock ward, Syed Hoque, who had earlier defected from Labour, died after nominations closed, so the election was postponed until yesterday. The result declared late last night was three magnificent LibDem holds for Jill Fraser, Matt Sanders and newcomer Rahel Bokth. This means that the LibDems now become the official opposition. Labour reportedly had over one hundred people helping yesterday to get their vote out, but the result showed that on a ‘normal’ local election turnout, the LibDems still can win in Camden and that their fightback in the borough is well and truly on.