At Conference I marked your – our members and supporters – amazing contribution over the last six months since Spring Conference and I want to repeat my thanks to all of you in this newsletter.
We asked you to all go on the Stop Brexit march on 20 March to make it clear we are the strongest Remain party. You did that.
It was my privilege to help lead thousands and thousands of Liberal Democrats along with Vince Cable at that march that had over a million people on the streets of London.
We asked you to go out and give us the best results ever in the local elections. You did that.
We made over 700 gains, and now control 18 councils. We’re still making gains in by elections too.
We then said please go out and campaign for our best ever European Elections results, in a snap election, with very little time. You did that. 16 MEPs.
And then we said (after all of that!), please go and help Jane Dodds and our Welsh colleagues in Brecon and Radnorshire.
So you did that too!
Jane Dodds MP has said she could not have won without all the help you provided.
You see, I knew. I knew that your attitude and approach to life had changed. And all we needed to do was to get out there and make sure that people in our local communities felt the same.
And they did.
After the Euro elections, the press said this was a flash in the pan. They said that within weeks we’d plummet back in the polls.
But now, their view has changed. Why?
Because our poll rating has strengthened and solidified. Against all the pundits’ expectations. But they don’t know the reaction we were all getting on the doorsteps from people who have, for years, said: “I would vote for you if I thought you could win”. Well, 20% of voters believe we can and will win, and, more importantly, believe that Jo Swinson can be our next Prime Minister.
In the brief time that Jo has been Leader, she has transformed the public view of the Lib Dems as a fighting force, a realistic opposition to both the Conservative and Labour parties, both of whom are in terminal decline because of continued in-fighting. And now she is very clear in the current catastrophic crisis in a General Election there is only one option to remain – Revoke Article 50!
Jo said to us on the day you became Leader that this would be a roller coaster ride – she’s right, it is thrilling, exciting, awe-inspiring, and we are behind you all the way!
And we must not forget those who kept the faith and kept us going. And I want to pay tribute especially to Tim Farron and Vince Cable, both of whom had a really tough time as Leader holding us together and rebuilding and preparing us for the success we have had this year. I thank them both for that selfless dedication when perhaps only we believed the Liberal Democrats had a future and the outside world just mocked and derided us.
I also want to thank the many staff who worked against all the odds too. People assume that HQ is this large monolith filled with hundreds of people. Not true. Our few staff are brilliant. Not only doing the job they are paid to do, but also during elections, especially General Elections, redeployed into tasks that keep our successful campaign show on the road.
Together we can transform our country. See you on the campaign trail!