I wrote last month that Liz Cohen and the Lib Dems had a legitimate chance of making a gain in Shenfield on December 6 2012. Well it is now December 6 (at the time of writing – probably December 7 by the time I post this) and they have indeed fulfilled my expectations as Elizabeth Clare Cohen was this evening duly elected as one of three councillors for Shenfield ward on Brentwood Borough Council with a majority of 171.
The full results are as follows:
COHEN, Elizabeth Clare 728 – Liberal Democrat
MAY, Stephen Edward 557 – The Conservative Party Candidate
MILLWOOD, Richard 31 – The Labour Party Candidate
WATT, David 119 – UKIP
Here in a photo of the result being read out courtesy of the ‘Liz Cohen for Shenfield’ Facebook page:
Shenfield last saw a Liberal Democrat councillor in 1996 if I recall correctly before the real shock of victory in May by young Graeme Clark and when this by-election was called after the Tory candidate quit to look after his sick wife then it became a Lib Dem target due to their win in May.
Well the team did good and have got another Lib Dem councillor on to the borough council. The old Lib Dem adage for the Lib Dems is ‘where we work, we win’ and in all honesty this victory is testament to that. I was getting many e-mail from Karen Chilvers et al from the team to help with the campaign but due to working full-time and the shocking train service between there and here I was unable to help but they have a great organisation and showed that working hard actually leads to good results.
Apparently the Lib Dems are kicking ass tonight and showing that reports of the death of the party may have been exaggerated and whilst council seats in by-elections don’t mean a lot in the great deal of things I think most Lib Dems – and most politicos – will admit that the strength of the Lib Dems has always been at local level. This took a huge hit in 2011 and another hit in 2012 but maybe people are starting to listen once more and if that is the case then maybe local election results might not be as depressing in the future as they have been the past couple of years.
From all I’ve read about Liz she’s an exceptional candidate and should be an exception councillor. I think a lot of Lib Dem groups could have a long hard look at Brentwood Lib Dems as a template for how to be successful. I’ve said it before but it is worth saying it again. A lot of admiration for the team there and I hope they toast their hard work tonight or over the next couple of days. They’ll have thoroughly deserved it.