Welcome to the newest Liberal Democrat MP:
In 2019, Helen was 29,801 behind the Conservatives; now she’s won by 5,925 – a switch around of 35,726.
This should have been impossible.
It’s way back in 1993 the last time the Liberal Democrats made two Parliamentary gains from the Conservatives in the same calendar year.
It’s even further back in 1981 the last time the Liberal Democrats, or our predecessors, gained a Parliamentary by-election in England from the Conservatives when starting third or worse. And that took the creation of a new party (SDP), one of the UK’s most popular politicians as the candidate (Shirley Williams) and a massive recession.
But Helen, the team and members and supporters from all across the country have done it.
Thank you one and all.
And, as Helen Morgan said in her victory speech, thank you too to the Labour voters who lent their votes to ensure the Conservatives were defeated and that Boris Johnson was sent such a powerful message. There were certainly some in Labour who seemed much happier to see the Conservatives win than the Lib Dems – continuously attacking the Lib Dems during the campaign while hardly having a cross word to say about the Conservatives. But there were many more who took a very different approach.
For some instant analysis of the lessons for the Liberal Democrats from this triumph, and how it happened, watch out for a special episode of the Never Mind The Bar Charts podcast with Tim Bale, being recorded Friday afternoon. Plus an edition of Liberal Democrat Newswire hitting inboxes soon too (sign up here).
Here’s a snippet of what I’ve been telling the media:
Commenting on the result, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:
This result is a watershed moment in our politics and offers hope to people around the country that a brighter future is possible. Millions of people are fed up with Boris Johnson and his failure to provide leadership throughout the pandemic and last night the voters of North Shropshire spoke for all of them.
This is the second stunning by-election victory this year for the Liberal Democrats – both in formerly safe Conservative seats. From Buckinghamshire to Shropshire, lifelong Conservatives have turned to the Liberal Democrats in their droves and sent a clear message to the Prime Minister that the party is over.
The Liberal Democrats believe people deserve a fair deal where everyone plays by the same rules – including those in Downing Street. We will fight for that fair deal with good schools, safe streets and high-quality healthcare.