In the council by-election on Thursday 17 January, I was elected Councillor for Leasowe & Moreton East. It was a great result and, for many people, completely unexpected. We had a good response to 10,000 letters delivered in November asking people if they wanted be to be the local Conservative candidate but, as a candidate, I had my own doubts whether we could win.
So much seemed to be against us – the weather, the time of year, my Party’s unpopularity nationally, the difficult cuts being made locally, the ‘celebrity’ candidate chosen by Labour and the fact that, in the eyes of some, I had already lost three out of four elections in Leasowe & Moreton East and probably would again.
However, due to the briliant support of local residents, campaign volunteers and the people around me, the result was:
- Ian Lewis (Local Conservative): 1,620 votes
- Pauline Daniels (Labour Party): 1,355
- Mark Halligan (Socialist Party): 31
- Jim McGinley (Green Party): 28
- Dan Clein (Liberal Democrats): 28
- Susan Whitam (UKIP): 148
Now, I’m not daft enough to see this as some great political victory for my Party. I know, from the hundreds of people we met, that many people were voting for me in spite of my Party, not because of it and that, at a General Election, they would not vote for my Party. However, a win is still a win and for that I’m grateful.
Yet, as the opposition became ever more personal and nasty, I saw this for what it was – desperation, because their own record in Leasowe & Moreton East was so weak. In the final days, countless Labour voters who, up until that point, were going to vote that way, told us that they would be switching to me instead because of the negative, nasty attacks.
Thanks to my incredible election agent – Margaret Kalil; our Campaign Centre Manager Eve Sorrell and councillors Chris Blakeley, Leah Fraser and Steve Williams for keeping me sane (ish) and for their work, day in day out to help me win.
Final thanks to the 1,620 people who made the effort to vote and to those handful who made the effort but found, when they got to the polling station, they couldn’t. I’ll be sending you registration forms so you can next time.
I’ll restart this blog as one of the ways I shall report back on what I do for the remaining term as councillor until May 2014, as well as via social media such as Facebook and Twitter and traditional media including newsletters.