Libs Dems launch Somerset campaign

The ink was barely dry on Somerset Structural Changes Order 2022 creating the new unitary council. Just 48 hours later the LibDems officially launched their campaign for the 5 May elections. The choice of Norton sub Hamdon, a nod to former leader Paddy Ashdown, and happier times. The sun shone and the village hall was reasonably full to greet party leader Sir Ed Davey (pictured below right). There wasn’t a lot of talk about policies, but plenty of geeing up the faithful. And, inevitably given the stories continuing to come out of the war zone, a homage to people in Ukraine.

In Parliament the LibDems are a shadow of the party that Lord Ashdown led, with just 13 MPs. But if the fortunes in national politics have faded, they have big hopes for the Somerset Unitary elections. The LibDems control 3 out of four district councils in the Somerset Unitary area. So it is not unreasonable that they hope to convert that support into councillors in the new unitary.

Somerset party leader Bill Revans (pictured below) was on hand to greet the audience. He and South Somerset District leader Val Keitch did interviews fielding some pretty friendly questions.

Cllr Keitch repeated several times that the LibDems in South Somerset would stand on their record. After the recent success in the by-election for Neroche, she felt there were reasons for confidence.


  • Some record.

    Planning applications two years old still outstanding and some very suspect planning decisions, continuing environmental damage, the former leader in prison, the chief executive designate in trouble, FoIA applications not answered, continued inappropriate borrowing, investments which have lost value and a massive decline in the standards of service to the public.

    I am sure that readers can add more.

  • LibDems win seats as we have no credible alternative to give our vote to , the Conservatives are as their first four letters imply , Labour I dont trust or feel any confidence in , so its Green as they are the least of the evils available . .
    My “ssdctim” is because I worked for them and we were encouraged to get online and open an email Ac this was in the mid / late 90s incase any one wonders. Since leaving and prior to my employment at SSDC I had worked abroad the apparent carryings on of the SSDC officers exposed by Leveller are more like one would expect in the Latin American countrys I worked in not of the country so often described as a fine example of a modern democratically governed country . ” Trickle down effect ” seems to mean the rotten antics of senior government percolating down to local government level and nothing to do with distribution of earned wealth making its way to the people who work to create it . Its going to be interesting to see what the new Unitary Authority will deliver .

  • I am not surprised that Liberal Democrat councillors do not mention Southwest One when they tell us about how their party spent so much of our money. This locked us into two tier councils for ten years, promising to save £18m a year, but instead apparently costing Somerset County Council £70m. While adjacent councils including Wiltshire became cheaper unitary, Somerset was left with a debt of £324m.
    Recent choices are also significant because Stronger Somerset proposed two unitary councils plus a delivery organisation sounding very much like Southwest Two.
    Somerset’s new council will free up £18.5m to be spent on improving services, based on the successful Conservative One Somerset proposal for one senior management team and 110 councillors. With council tax now so expensive compared to income tax, we can vote for a low risk and efficient new Somerset Council.

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