The remarkable victory of the Liberal Democrats in the by-election at Somerton and Frome on 20 July has been welcomed by Richard, Trish and Louise as showing that no Tory constituency currently held by a Tory MP in southern England is safe. A Tory majority of over 19 000 was converted to a Liberal Democrat majority of over 11 000.
We were also delighted by the strong showing of the Liberal Democrat candidates in the local elections held on 4 May. While there were no elections here in London, our candidates won resounding victories in elections in Surrey, immediately to the south of Sutton. Perhaps most striking was the overwhelming victory in Surrey Heath, the borough that includes Camberley and Bagshot. Once a Tory stronghold, Liberal Democrats hold 21 of the 35 seats on the Council. Voters continue to show their strong disapproval of the Tory Government and are turning to the Liberal Democrats in those areas, such as in Surrey, where we are the main challengers.
We also believe that the failure of Labour to win in Uxbridge due to the ULEZ issue does not indicate a rejection by the electorate of “green” policies. The problem is ULEZ – it is a bad policy that penalises people who had the bad luck to purchase a non-compliant vehicle. It will lead to vehicles that would have been scrapped anyhow in a few years time going to landfill before their time. It is in any case difficult to purchase a new vehicle due to supply problems so it will not achieve any acceleration in the purchase of new vehicles. Our views on ULEZ are set out in articles further down. Below is a photo of our visit to City Hall, the HQ of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, on 30 June to present the petition expressing opposition to ULEZ signed by over 10 000 Sutton residents.