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18th Jun 2021

Lib Dems steal Chesham and Amersham from Tories in by-election shock

Charlie Herbert

It’s the first time a non-Tory MP has won the seat

Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey has said that his party have sent “a shockwave through British politics” as they pulled off a huge upset in the Chesham and Amersham by-election by taking the seat from the Conservative Party.

Lib Dem candidate Sarah Green secured 21,517 votes compared to Tory candidate Peter Fleet’s 13,489, giving the Lib Dems a 8,028 majority.

The seat had never not been Tory since its creation in 1974, having only had two long-standing Conservative MPs – Ian Gilmour served from 1974 to 1992, followed by former Welsh Secretary Dame Cheryl, who died at the age of 68 on 4 April after a long illness.

It was Dame Cheryl’s passing that led to the by-election.

At the last election in 2019, the Tories had held the seat with more than half the vote.

Lib Dem Party leader, Ed Davey, tweeted that if the Lib Dems can “beat the Tories here, we can beat them anywhere.”

“The blue wall can be smashed,” he added.

After her victory was announced, Green said she was “humbled by the faith you have placed in me” and promised she would hold the government to account.

She said: “This Conservative party has taken people across the country for granted for far too long.”

Meanwhile, Policing and Crime Minister, Kit Malthouse, admitted that there would be “significant post-match analysis” after the shock Tory defeat, but denied that the party was ignoring its traditional strongholds in the home counties in favour of seats in the North.

Malthouse told Sky News: “It’s worth pointing out that only just a month ago we had fantastic results across the home counties and local elections.

“So there’s some complex things going on there which people need to understand and no doubt people at party headquarters will be focusing on the result and trying to understand how we can win Chesham and Amersham back at the next opportunity.

“It’s tough and disappointing as I say. We would have hoped for a better result … can’t pretend anything otherwise but we’ve seen this by-election phenomenon in the past. Our job now is to win back the trust and the people in that lovely part of Buckinghamshire.”

The Guardian reports that the Tories had canvassed heavily in the area in recent days, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson even visiting the area earlier in June.

The result will be a shock to the party, and is in stark contrast to their victorious triumph in Hartlepool last month.

The turnout for the election was just 52%, compared to 76% in 2019. The Green Party candidate, Carolyne Culver, finished third with 1,480, with Labour’s Natasa Pantelic in fourth with 622 ballots.