The UK Liberal Democrats pulled off another famous byelection surprise win in the Buckinghamshire constituency of Chesham and Amersham on 17 June, overturning a large majority in an area long regarded as “safe seat” by the Conservative party.
It has been more than 100 years since there was a last a Liberal MP in Buckinghamshire, and this seat was held by a Conservative MP since its creation in 1974. The local council had been controlled by the Conservatives for over a century and the Conservatives have never dipped below 50% of the vote.
But in this byelection contest, held following the death of the local MP Cheryl Gillan who had represented the constituency since 1992 and held it in 2019 with a majority of 16,000 votes, the Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Green secured 57% of the vote and a majority of her own of more than 8,000 votes.
After smashing through a blue wall with an orange hammer, party leader Sir Ed Davey declared “the Conservative ‘blue wall’ is beginning to crumble … this is a huge victory for the Liberal Democrats”, stating that the party was now the main threat to the Conservatives in many areas.
“We were told it was impossible for any party to beat the Tories here in Buckinghamshire. We were told this seat was too safe and the Tories too strong. This Liberal Democrat win has proved them utterly wrong,” he said.
The new Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Green said: “this campaign has shown that no matter where you live, or how supposedly safe the constituency appears to be, if you want a Liberal Democrat member of parliament, you have a Liberal Democrat member of parliament. If you wish to reject Conservative mismanagement and vote for a voice that will represent you, and stand up for your rights, then it is a Liberal Democrat who will continue to fight your corner.”
In last month’s local elections, the LibDems went from went from zero seats to majority control of Amersham town council. Building further upon this base of support, the party ran a long campaign around key local issues, tactical voting, and its active volunteer base who went door-to-door all around the constituency.
Sarah Green was sworn in as a member of parliament on 22 June becoming the party’s 12th member of the House of Commons.
(Chesham & Amersham) result:— Britain Elects (@BritainElects) June 18, 2021
LDEM: 56.7% (+30.4)
CON: 35.5% (-19.9)
GRN: 3.9% (-1.6)
LAB: 1.6% (-11.2)
REFUK: 1.1% (+1.1)
BP: 0.5% (+0.5)
FA: 0.4% (+0.4)
REU: 0.3% (+0.3)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative.
Photo credit: Sarah Green MP