London: Liberal Democrat campaigners in London and across the country were celebrating this week as the party enjoyed a surge in public support, electing 3 MEPs in London for the first time ever and making large gains across the country. The election was widely viewed as a final chance for voters to make their voice heard on the handling of Brexit by the government and opposition, with both Labour and the Tories being punished for failing to have a clear position.
In Tower Hamlets, the Liberal Democrats jumped by 20% to secure a strong second place behind Labour on 25% of votes overall. Across London as a whole, they topped the poll with 27% of the vote, pushing Labour into second place with the Brexit party trailing in third and the Conservatives crashing to fifth place behind the Greens.
Labour won 14% of the vote nationally, their worst performance in over a century. Councillor Rabina Khan, who was also selected as a London MEP candidate said:
“Seeing the result today shows that the political momentum and the support of the people is building behind the Liberal Democrats. Here in Tower Hamlets we are now the clear opposition to the Labour administration and the strongest Remain voice for local residents.”
Elaine Bagshaw, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar and Limehouse said:
“People’s trust in Labour and the Tories has evaporated. On the biggest issue of our time, it has become hard to tell them apart: my local Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick even went against his own party and voted for May’s disastrous deal. A change of Prime Minister, Tory or Labour, won’t get us out of this mess – we need to demand better.”
Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London said:
“This is a stunning result for the Liberal Democrats in London and a fantastic springboard for my campaign to be London’s next mayor. It’s clear that the Conservatives are irrelevant in the capital and Labour’s Sadiq Khan is beatable. The Liberal Democrats are now the natural choice for Londoners. It’s very much game on for London 2020.”
Lawyer and civil rights activist Irina von Wiese was elected as the party’s lead MEP candidate along with Ebookers founder Dinesh Dhamija and local Camden Councillor Luisa Porritt.
During the election, several high-profile representatives of the largest parties publicly endorsed the Liberal Democrat campaign. Labour Lord Michael Cashman resigned from his party,
praising the Lib Dems’ “absolute consistency” in their fight against Brexit and saying he couldn’t trust Jeremy Corbyn and his team. Tory peer Michael Heseltine also faced suspension for backing the Lib Dems over the Conservatives.
The party dominated the polls in the South West of London where they have sitting MPs, but also came first in several inner London boroughs, including Jeremy Corbyn’s home borough of Islington as well as Camden, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Southwark, Wandsworth and Westminster.