Eric Lubbock was perhaps the most famous and most important Liberal / Liberal Democrat Parliamentary by-election victor.* His dramatic triumph in Orpington not only briefly threatened to overthrow the conventions of British politics, making the Liberal Party for a while the most popular party in the country, it was also was a key milestone in the recovery of the Liberal Party.Later serving in the House of Lords as the fourth Lord Avebury, he had a life-long commitment to fighting for human rights. Following his death, London Region Liberal Democrats created in his memory a fund to support election candidates from under-represented groups.
As a result, around £15,000 is being spent to support local election candidates across London for this May’s local elections. It’s a great example of a part of the party really taking seriously the need to improve our diversity – so that we truly reflect our values in what we do, so that we get better at winning support from under-represented groups (who tend to be more liberal than average yet also less Lib Dem than average) and so that we fully benefit from the talents of members and supporters from under-represented groups.
* SDP left out of this list deliberately gives the role of by-elections in its early history.