THE Liberal Democrats can afford themselves a wry smile this afternoon, as a fair few of them in north London were mocked at the end of last year by both Labour and the Conservatives for going early and selecting general election candidates in preparation for a snap general election. When Theresa May kept saying that she would not go to the nation – and she said that a lot – it all looked like the party had jumped the gun and got overexcited about nothing. But now the Prime Minister has decided she does want a general election after all, the Lib Dems do not need to go through the selection process to find candidates in Camden.
Told you sos won’t transfer into votes, and the head start that they might have been hoping for in Hampstead and Kilburn could be undermined by the fact nobody beyond the spotters had really taken in that Kirsty Allan (pictured, middle, with her old boss Baroness Lynne Featherstone and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez) had been installed as the candidate. Readers of your favourite local newspaper, of course, were informed way back in September, but she helpfully reminded everybody today with a tweet. Party activists believe that she will be more visible than her run in Westminster North in 2015, a campaign which saw her teased for being ‘anonymous’ as Labour’s Karen Buck was returned.
In Holborn and St Pancras, Stephen Crosher has also been the Lib Dem candidate in place for several months and he has used this time to get in early on local campaigns: appearances at debates and meetings, a couple of letters to the paper, and so on.
“Clearly, there’s a huge hill to climb, but it could be a winnable seat. There’s an awful lot of people with broadly liberal values, and our social and economic liberalism will appeal to people,” he said last year.
He is also standing in the Gospel Oak by-election on May 2, which now becomes an even bigger chance for the winning party to send a warning shot to their rivals about what might be about to come on a bigger stage.