Lib Dem meltdown continues as Taunton MP says he’s quitting

Neil Guild
” Lib Dems now hopelessly broken as a party” says Labour PPC for Taunton Neil Guild

The Lib Dems in Somerset have been hit by a new blow to their rapidly vanishing chances in the next election. The Taunton Deane MP, Jeremy Browne, has said he’s leaving politics and won’t stand in 2015.

 His decision throws his party into turmoil and will reduce its already slim chances of holding the Taunton Deane seat. Labour’s candidate Neil Guild said:

 Jeremy Browne’s decision not to contest the next general election shows just how hopelessly broken the Lib Dems now are as a party. What should be a fiercely contested key marginal has now been effectively abandoned.  This follows the resignation of Lib Dem parliamentary candidates in Somerton and Frome, and North East Somerset earlier this year in what is supposed to be their heartland as a party. 

 Jeremy Browne has made the correct judgment that he was heading for inevitable defeat next year as a result of his enthusiastic support for coalition government policies. In this I agree with him; he and his party have repeatedly broken faith with the voters of Taunton Deane who supported them in 2010. But rather than face this accounting on election night he has instead taken the easy option and slipped away.  Now a hastily selected Lib Dem candidate has been left with the impossible job of defending Nick Clegg’s decision to join this coalition government.

…and another one bites the dust…

As the Labour candidate for Taunton Deane I’m not going to abandon my commitment to my home town and am proud to be representing my party next May in the General Election.  It’s now clear that only Labour can offer the effective, consistent opposition to the Tories and Ukip that the people in Taunton Deane and the country need.”

The Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, gave a lukewarm response to Browne’s announcement, saying “Jeremy has always had strongly held views which he expressed with great skill and conviction.” In fact, Browne’s strongly held views have led him into clashes with the party leadership. He described Nick Clegg as “timid” and there was persistent speculation he would join the Tories.

 Hammer Blow to Lib Dems in the west

The Western Daily Press described Browne’s decision as a hammer blow to the Lib Dem’s hopes in their West heartlands. Political writer Richard Bache said:

“Whoever is ultimately selected as Lib Dem candidate for Taunton Deane is now really up against it. The Lib Dems were already facing a difficult time at the polls in Somerset next May. The incumbency factor has long been a huge part of Lib Dem strategy and new candidates face a tough task given the party’s standing in national polls.

“Waking up on May 8, 2015 it is easy to imagine there only being three or four West Country Lib Dem MPs left.”


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