Lib Dems defeat Tories in stunning UK by-election upset
The Chesham and Amersham seat has been held by the Tories since its creation in 1974.
The Liberal Democrats on Thursday inflicted a severe defeat over the Conservatives, with candidate Sarah Green winning the Chesham and Amersham constituency with a majority of 16,000 and a swing of 25 percentage points to the party.
“I am humbled by the faith you have placed in me,” Green said in her victory speech after the result was declared just before 2 a.m. overnight. Green won 21,517 votes — against 13,489 for the Conservative candidate Peter Fleet. Labour’s candidate Natasa Pantelic polled just 622 votes.
In an address to supporters, Fleet admitted that he faced “an absolutely extraordinary result which must take into account the fact that the Liberal Democrat party didn’t just throw the kitchen sink at this constituency, it was the microwave, the table, the oven, the dishwasher, the dog, the cat and anything else that was lying around as well.”
Green, a self-described “independent-minded businesswoman”, becomes the 12th Lib Dem in the Commons, grabbing the seat from Tories who held it since its creation in 1974. The by-election was called after the death of the sitting MP and former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan.
“Across the South, the Tory Blue Wall is beginning to crumble,” Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said in a statement overnight.
People in those constituencies “feel they’re being ignored by the Conservatives, taken for granted,” Davey added on the Today Programme on Friday morning.
The result is in line with a trend in recent local elections where Conservatives suffered losses to the Lib Dems and Green Party in wealthier areas in the South of England.
“There’s an element that our party is trying too hard to be Brexiteers,” one southern Conservative MP (who supports Brexit) told London Playbook on Thursday night. “If we’re driving our core votes off to the Greens and Lib Dems we could have a surprising upset at the next election.”