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Lib Dem elected for Newent Division

May 24, 2021 7:58 AM

Gill near lake balustradeLib Dem elected for Newent Division … and Tories lose three seats in the Forest of Dean of the seven they previously held at the County Council.

Gill Moseley took the Newent Division for the Liberal Democrats in a straight contest with the Tory candidate on May 6th in the local elections for the County Council.

In the FoD divisions of Sedbury and Blakeney & Bream, the Green candidates were successful in ousting the Tories. One Labour candidate retained his seat in Cinderford.

Gill says: " I am very proud to have been elected to Gloucestershire County Council to represent the people of the Newent division. I have spent well over a year travelling around the ten parishes that make up the division (ward) delivering leaflets and talking to people. It has paid off. It was time for a change and this was what the Lib Dems offered - a councillor who would keep in touch and listen to the local problems. Now I will act on their behalf."

For those readers who are interested in the strategy, tactics and more detailed information, read on …..

The County Council is still run by the Conservatives but with a reduced majority. If two more seats had been lost by the Tories, it would be a very different picture. The Liberal Democrats are by far the biggest opposition party with a net increase of two seats making 16 members in all, and together with four Green and five Labour/Labour & Co-operative party councillors, will hold the twenty eight Conservative majority administration to account.

We hope that the Tory administration will recognize its slim majority and the fact that more people voted for other parties than voted for the Conservatives. Lib Dem Group Leader Paul Hodgkinson made that point very strongly at the first Full Council meeting on May 19th.

We are pleased that the arrangement with the local Green party to stand aside in some seats worked well. While we prefer everyone to have the chance to vote for a party or candidate of their choice, the unfair 'First Past the Post' system, makes it difficult for candidates of smaller parties to get elected. This is a strategy that needs to be adopted nationally. In a straight contest, the FPTP system will not favour the Tories unfairly in seats where there is a strong alternative.

Here in the Newent Division we did just that. We offered a strong and credible candidate and people voted for a change. Gill had been elected two years previously along with Cllr Vilnis Vesma to represent the District ward of Newent on the Forest of Dean District Council. This area represented about half of the County Council Division so Gill was well known to many voters already due to year-round campaigning and regular Focus newsletters through every door. The problem was getting the message out to the more rural parts of the division, especially during the Covid emergency, but we kept going by hand delivery when that was allowed and by post when it was not possible.

Thanks to the hard work of a small, dedicated team of volunteers and by recognising the value of targeted campaigning, we have succeeded in overturning a huge Conservative majority in the Newent division.

We also came a good second in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections which did rely on a proportional representation system of voting, although, sadly, the Conservative government is threatening to reverse this to FPTP.

So whether you are angered by the injustice of the FPTP system, fired up by Liberal Democrat values or just want to make a difference in the Forest of Dean, please do something positive. Find out what YOU can do to help. Without the hard work and support of envelope writers and stuffers, Facebook posters, phone callers, leaflet deliverers, canvassers, donors, Focus editors and strategy gurus, we would not have made it this time. Thank you all!