The Guardian‘s Michael White has hit the south coast to see how in some parts of the country the Liberal Democrats keep on winning:
Lib Dem power is visible just along the M27 corridor in the naval city of Portsmouth, its history still embodied in Nelson’s formidable flagship, Victory. Lib Dems took office here as a minority regime in 2004, with 16 seats out of 42, and were expected by their rivals to fall apart. Instead they keep their squabbles private and now boast 25 councillors to 12 Tory and five Labour ones.
All this despite Clegg’s problems. “The most successful years for us were 2011 and 2012 when we twice won nine of the 14 wards up for election. We work hard and people see we deliver on the ground,” says Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth city council leader…
Keith House, Eastleigh council’s leader for 18 years and a Lib Dem, says of the Tories: “They are in a hole. Wherever we are in control of the council or entrenched in a local community we are not seeing a downside. Forget about parliament, in local elections we are doing pretty well. Can we push the Tories out of overall control in Hampshire next May? I think we can.”