LOCAL ELECTIONS 2018: Lib Dems ‘back in the contest’ in Daventry

Andrew Simpson, chair of Daventry Lib Dems
Andrew Simpson, chair of Daventry Lib Dems

Daventry Liberal Democrats welcomed last night’s district council elections as 'significant progress' for the party and a clear sign it is now back as a contender in local politics.

Their total membership on Daventry District Council remained at one after Thursday's poll (Catherine Lomax, Barby and Kilsby), but the Lib Dems did increase its vote share in certain wards and finished runner-up in two of them.

On top of that, the party contested 12 seats this time around compared with three in 2014's local elections.

“At these elections we stood candidates in all 12 seats as well as the Walgrave by-election, which Labour didn’t contend, and we came second in two of those seats with over 30 per cent of the vote," said chair of Daventry Lib Dems, Andrew Simpson.

"As well as that we managed a hard-fought three-party campaign in Abbey North, which saw our vote increase by 20 per cent on last time."

He added: "I think the Lib Dems have had some difficult times but these elections have put us back on the map and we're now there contending with the other two parties.

"So I think it's only a matter of time before we make further gains on the council if we keep us this trajectory."

This year's polling was likely the last district council elections in Daventry after the Government's Best Value inspection report into Northamptonshire County Council recommended the county's political landscape be changed to a unitary model.

Mr Simpson was adamant his party will play part in that inevitable conversation.

"It is disappointing that there have not been more opposition councillors elected to challenge and scrutinise the current Conservative Council who now have a major challenge in working through the changes being imposed on us to the way our council’s operate.

"Lib Dems will play our part in trying to shape the future agenda for Daventry District Council and Northamptonshire to make sure whatever follows our current Council is fit for purpose and serves the people better than the current ones."

"The party has shaken itself up and now is fighting elections as hard as it can whereas previously I think we didn't have the resources or expertise, we've built on that," Mr Simpson added.

"We've got more people involveed, got the right skills involved to run an election campaign and I think that's what shone out in that seat."