Lib Dems and Tories both claim election successes

I am sure local psephologists who have studied recent council by-election results will have noticed an interesting and consistent trend since May 2006. After the sea-change recorded in the all-out council elections of May 2006, which saw the Liberal Demo

I am sure local psephologists who have studied recent council by-election results will have noticed an interesting and consistent trend since May 2006.

After the sea-change recorded in the all-out council elections of May 2006, which saw the Liberal Democrats emerge as the largest party on Camden Council, there have been five by-elections in all sorts of seats in our area.

The first two led to the Liberal Democrats gaining seats from Labour in Kentish Town and then Haverstock. In both the Tories came a poor fourth.

In Fortune Green the Liberal Democrats were defending a seat which the Tories had firmly in their sights as a potential gain, but despite throwing everything into the campaign the Conservatives made no dent in the Lib Dem lead, with Nancy Jirira getting the sort of result which normally only the long standing Flick Rea would get.

Across the border in Brent in Queen's Park, crucial to the new Hampstead and Kilburn constituency, the by-election was fought out between the Lib Dems and Labour with the Lib Dem candidate extending a previously narrow lead. The Tories performed poorly again.

Finally we have the Highgate by-election. A Conservative resigns and the Tories aimed to benefit from the Boris effect by calling the by-election on the same day as the Mayoral election.

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The Greens won and the Tories ceded second place to Labour. Even in our wildest dreams the Lib Dems did not expect to do well here. But look at the percentage shares and the Tories fall back while there is a swing to the Lib Dems in fourth place!

So right across Camden, in all sorts of wards, the Lib Dems continue to make progress and the Conservatives languish. It is clear that local voters know who to credit for improving Camden Council's performance and for offering local leadership on a range of issues.

And when it comes to a General Election, and the opportunity to oust our absentee Labour MP for Hampstead, it will be the Lib Dems that voters will turn to.

Cllr John Bryant

(Lib Dem) West Hampstead ward

You carried extensive coverage of the Mayoral and Assembly elections here in Camden and correctly pointed out that these were a great success for local Conservatives, winning 40 per cent of the vote compared to Labour's 29 per cent in the Assembly elections in Camden, with Boris doing even better in the Mayoral race in the borough.

I was therefore surprised to see Keith Moffit suggesting that the Lib Dems were in with a chance in the Parliamentary seat of Hampstead & Kilburn.

Based on the 180,000 real votes cast on May 1, the Lib Dems got just 12 per cent for our local Assembly seat - the best measure of performance as it is not impacted by the personalities in the Mayoral race (in which Conservatives actually did even better and the Lib Dems even worse). The Lib Dem result this year was in fact worse than in 2004 and ours was better. On the same day, the Lib Dems came a very poor fourth in the Highgate by-election.

The same was true in Brent, where Conservatives came a very close second to Labour (37 per cent to 36 per cent) and the Lib Dems trailed a long way behind in third, again with 12 per cent of the vote.

Whatever Cllr Moffit may try to claim, the Lib Dems were comprehensively beaten in these elections in our local area.

What's clear is that the new Hampstead & Kilburn seat is a two-horse race between the Conservatives and Labour. I'm looking forward to the campaign, whenever Gordon Brown summons the courage to kick it off!

Cllr Chris Philp

(Con)Parliamentary Candidate, Hampstead & Kilburn

Brian Coleman's headline-grabbing speech at the Assembly declaration was consistent with the way he fought the whole campaign, seeking sound-bites over substance.

Many people have been campaigning to highlight the plight of Tibetans for years, working to preserve their freedom of religion, language and culture.

Liberal Democrats organised a sizeable peaceful demonstration on the day of the torch relay. The Tories were nowhere to be seen.

All the local Assembly candidates were invited to explain their parties' sustainability policies to a hustings in Euston but there was no sign of Mr Coleman or any Tory spokesperson.

Local residents campaigned hard to save their post offices. At the South End Green protest meeting, Mr Coleman showed up at the very end to jump on the soap box, dressed in his inevitable bling.

I am very grateful to all those who voted for me on May 1.

I hope I earned their support by working with my Lib Dem colleagues to find solutions to local problems, not by dressing up and cavorting round London, making cheap overblown speeches.

Nick Russell

Lib Dem London Assembly Candidate, Barnet and Camden

AM I alone in being outraged by the pernicious 'party list' system for electing London-wide members to the London Assembly?

Your report (Assembly trio re-elected, H&H May 8) was the first I had seen of the names of any of those standing in this category, which this year were not even listed on the ballot paper, though they were in the 2004 election. Both in 2004 and this year, in the absence of any information at all about their candidates from any of the parties, I have felt unable to vote at all in this section. Does no-one care that we are asked to vote for party placemen or women with no regard for their personal qualities?

Michael Freegard

Highgate Close, N6