Liberal Democrat campaigners in Tunbridge Wells and Southborough are celebrating a massive surge in support in Thursday’s by-election. The seat is one of the Conservatives’ safest in the Borough where they polled 60% of the vote this May. However, they hung on by just 49 votes from a strong Lib Dem campaign led by candidate Trevor Poile.
The result saw the Lib Dems increase their vote by a staggering 26% in the election which saw a 21% swing from Conservatives to the Lib Dems. Looking forward to next May’s Borough elections the Lib Dems are expected to be the main challenger to the Conservatives across Tunbridge Wells Borough.
“I am so humbled by all the support I’ve received in this election.” says Trevor Poile. “Throughout the election people were telling us that they were fed up with the Conservatives locally who don’t listen and take our community for granted. We were also the only people talking about issues that local people actually care about. Flight noise from Gatwick, the lack of doorstep glass recycling, and a sensible attitude to the future of the Royal Victoria Hall and ‘Southborough Hub’ development.
“Obviously I’m disappointed to get so close and fall just short, but it’s impossible not to be excited to be a Lib Dem right now. We’ve attracted nearly 20,000 new members nationwide, and have already re-established ourselves locally as the main challengers to the Tories in next May’s elections.”
Local Lib Dem councillor, Ben Chapelard, who ran the Lib Dem by-election campaign, adds: “We can’t wait for the next election right now. We had so many new faces involved and seem to be attracting more all the time.
“People want to get involved with the only political party offering an alternative to the Conservative vision of Britain most recently illustrated by their callous and heartless attitude to the refugee crisis. Only the Liberal Democrats offer a positive, liberal vision of Britain based on opportunity, tolerance and optimism for the future of our country. If that’s the Britain you want too then join us today at: www.libdems.org.uk”