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Liberal Democrats

(638 Posts)
varian Thu 15-Aug-19 08:14:17

Dr Sarah Woolaston MP has joined the Libera Democrats. Great news!

varian Thu 15-Aug-19 08:58:53

Sarah Wollaston joins the Liberal Democrats in coup for Jo Swinson.
The defection is win-win for the Liberal Democrats.

Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes who left the Conservative Party to form Change UK, has joined the Liberal Democrats.

It is a major coup for Jo Swinson and her party: it guarantees a day of positive news coverage and the biggest problem parties outside the big two face, in addition to the United Kingdom’s electoral system, is simply getting any coverage.

As I wrote when Chuka Umunna made the same journey a few months back, the more coverage, the more support that minor parties pick up, the more support they receive outside of election time the more likely they are to be able to seriously build on an increased “resting level” of support. (

It’s an added coup for the Liberal Democrats in that of the three Change founders who sit for seats the party has a semi-plausible chance of winning, they have now coaxed two out of the three into the fold. Wollaston, like Umunna, sits for a constituency that the party came close to winning in 2010 though, as with Umunna’s Streatham constituency they have fallen back their at a parliamentary level. And, as with Streatham, they did well in the constituency in the 2019 European and general elections. Of the remaining independent MPs, only Heidi Allen’s South Cambridgeshire seat, is a particularly viable target for the Liberal Democrats at an election, although a sitting MP always boosts the hopes of taking the seat as they have the benefit of incumbency and the powers of holding office.

Even if they can’t hold these seats at a general election, the Liberal Democrats will be near-certain to improve their standing and their longterm prospects of picking up these constituencies in the future.

Party strategists will be hopeful that they may be able to add Allen by defection and Laura Gordon in Sheffield Hallam – if, that is, this parliament runs for long enough

Stephen Bush writing in the New Statesman

varian Thu 15-Aug-19 09:00:55

jura2 Thu 15-Aug-19 09:12:47

I so hope Anna will follow suite.

GrandmaKT Thu 15-Aug-19 09:16:48

Great news. We need a strong concerted opposition to Brexit and this No Deal nonsense!

paddyann Thu 15-Aug-19 10:08:28

Even a coalition with theLib Dems and tories wont make a difference,Swinson voted for every Vile Tory policy in her time in Westminster ,what makes you think she's likely to do it differently next time?

Jane10 Thu 15-Aug-19 10:09:56

Phew! Yet another credible LibDem MP. Good news.

varian Thu 15-Aug-19 10:12:05

I did wonder how long it would be before we got the predictable SNP attack on Jo Swinson, who regained her seat in East Dumbartonshire from the SNP at the last election.

Shoequeen53 Thu 15-Aug-19 10:15:07

Swinson was whipped to vote with her party in a coalition government that ended more than four years ago. Digging up old history isn’t going to help us now.

Urmstongran Thu 15-Aug-19 10:16:48

S Woolaston is such a 'flip-flopper' she probably can't decide if today's Thursday!

I had a look at her history on Wikipedia. She voted for the Referendum Bill and originally was for Brexit, then changed her mind. She supported the remain side in 2016. However, her constituents voted 54% to leave. She therefore should never stood as a Tory in the 2017 election because the manifesto she stood on said the result of the referendum would be honoured and we would leave the EU, no mention of a deal.

Then she joined the odious Soubry at Change UK, not a very good judgement! And now she has joined the Lib Dems.

When challenged this morning as to why she wouldn't resign her seat, she hedged her answer saying she would do that if there is a GE.

In other words, she does not have the honour to allow the good, Brexit voting people of Totnes a chance to vote on her flip-flopping & her attempts to bring down her former party.

eazybee Thu 15-Aug-19 10:52:50

You really think someone who has joined her third party in a year is an asset?

Shoequeen53 Thu 15-Aug-19 11:11:48

I think someone who doesn’t blindly go where their party leads them but acts with integrity is a distinct asset. The i word is definitely unfashionable now.

POGS Thu 15-Aug-19 11:31:26

This is yet a nother thread that I will ask the same question.

Why should the constituents in Wollastons constituency not be allowed to have ' their say' , hold a 2nd vote now their circumstances have changed?

It is another case of an MP who won her seat on a Manifesto that she obviously never agreed with gaining the position of MP on false pretences it would appear.

The mantra of the Lib Dems and those MP's who now sit as Independents who demand a 2nd Refefendum/Peoples Vote has been :-

' The circumstances have changed, we now know more about the situation, we were told lies, we must let the people decide if they still feel the same etc. etc. etc.'

Hypocritical they don't feel that applies to them and their constituents should not even have a voice.

Sorry but the joke about the Lib Dems should be called the Oxymoron Party has a certain ring of truth about it on so many levels.

Shoequeen53 Thu 15-Aug-19 11:56:08

Did any of us vote for Boris to be our PM? Same argument.

growstuff Thu 15-Aug-19 12:05:32

I expect Sarah Wollaston knew what kind of criticism she'd receive. I've been following her since she was elected, as she's one of only a handful of Tories I could vote for, if I had no other choice. I've been disappointed with the way she's voted at times (non Brexit related), but she is one of the few MPs who understands health and social care, because she was a GP, and has frequently made speeches about the need for more funding. For years, people have been asking why she was ever a Tory in the first place because she's never fitted in that well. People have said the same about Heidi Allen. I have time for both of them. Without the Tory whip, they'll be able to show what they're really about and I hope that both continue to be MPs after any snap election.

growstuff Thu 15-Aug-19 12:06:57

I wouldn't mind betting that both Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston would be re-elected as LibDems in their own constituencies, but obviously I don't know for sure.

growstuff Thu 15-Aug-19 12:08:28

Yes, eazybee, I do think Wollaston is an asset because she's a principled and hard-working MP, who's followed the Tory whip on most issues up to now, but we'll see.

growstuff Thu 15-Aug-19 12:10:14

54% is hardly a massive majority. What about the interests of the 46% - or more, if the trend towards Remain is replicated in Totnes?

LullyDully Thu 15-Aug-19 12:14:32

I am surprised that an MP can change party. Surely her constituents voted for her old party and not just for the person.

Does it mean deselection next time? Presumably so. If I had voted for a specific party I would be miffed the MP changed mid session. (However I think she is right to support the LibDems)

Fennel Thu 15-Aug-19 12:18:15

The Lib Dems have only 9 seats in the H of C acc. to the figures below. Apologies for the long link.
The party most capable of influencing the way things go is the Scottish Nationalist Party
"Composition of the House of Commons at the end of the 2015-17 Parliament

Scottish National Party54
Liberal Democrat9
Democratic Unionist Party8
Sinn Féin4
Plaid Cymru3
Social Democratic & Labour Party3
Ulster Unionist Party2
Green Party1
UK Independence Party1
Total number of seats 649"

varian Thu 15-Aug-19 12:22:41

Your figures are wrong Fennel

12 LibDems were elected in 2017. One subsequently resigned. Two MPs from other parties joined and another was elected in the recent Brecon and Radnor by election so there are currently 14 LibDem MPs.

Fennel Thu 15-Aug-19 12:26:17

Yes sorry the link does say at the end of the 2015-2017 Parl.

varian Thu 15-Aug-19 12:26:28

The LibDems got about two and a half times as many votes as the SNP in 2017, although because of FPTP, about a third of the seats.

The Liberal Democrats are a national party, represented in all parts of the country except for Northern Ireland where LibDems support the non-sectarian Alliance Party.

Firecracker123 Thu 15-Aug-19 12:30:22

Shoequeen not the same argument Boris didn't jump to another party he was/is a Conservative MP.

In 2011 Remoaner Woolaston backed legislation to force a by election if an MP switches parties.
She's now changed parties TWICE with no "People' s vote" on Slippery Sarah in Totnes!

Copied from twitter

POGS Thu 15-Aug-19 13:05:58

Shoequeen53 Thu 15-Aug-19 11:56:08
Did any of us vote for Boris to be our PM? Same argument.

No it is not the same argument.

Boris Johnson as with Gordon Brown in 2010 and other parties throughout history who when their respective Leader has changed did not hold a General Election.

They were voted in on their respective parties manifestos and if they cannot abide by their party and elect not to abide by or vote against their party from within and choose to leave/quit the party altogether then they, unlike new Leaders either in government or not, are in contempt of the voters in their constituency who voted for their party.