Saturday, February 09, 2013

Eastleigh Lib Dems choose Mike Thornton as their by-election candidate

At a meeting this evening Eastleigh Liberal Democrats chose local borough and parish councillor Mike Thornton as their candidate in this month's by-election.

You might think that, with a by-election called in such circumstances, the seat cannot possibly be held by the Liberal Democrats. But that does not appear to be case.

Eastleigh is an area of exceptional Lib Dem strength in local government, with the party holding every council ward in the constituency. Conservatives activists seemed convinced they would win it back at the last election, but in the event Chris Huhne increased his majority. The moral is that, unlike Conservative activists, the public is not obsessed with Europe.

The other reason for Lib Dem optimism is the nature of Chris Huhne's offence. Generous expense claims did for at least two Lib Dem MPs at the last election, but the voters in Eastleigh may be more forgiving.

Elizabeth Day, in a glorified vox pop piece for the Guardian, found a man who said he would have done the same as Chris and a woman who knows people who have done the same thing.

Persuading someone else to take your points is wrong, but it may be that Eastleigh will judge that Chris Huhne has been more stupid than wicked.

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