Agents to spread winning tactics

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Indy Politics

A new generation of Liberal Democrat "super agents", trained in the techniques that won the Brent East by-election, are to be mobilised to fight Ken Livingstone and campaign in vulnerable Tory and Labour seats throughout the country.

Victoria Marsom, Sarah Teather's agent at Brent East, is to be put in charge of running Simon Hughes's campaign for Mayor of London and has pledged to use "the same techniques" to squeeze the Tory vote and target the Mayor.

The man who devised Ms Teather's campaign literature is to be sent to Folkestone and Hythe as agent, to try to unseat Michael Howard, a former Tory home secretary.

The move marks a concerted drive to make wider use of campaign techniques developed by the party's strategy chief, Lord Rennard. The Liberal Democrat peer, who has run campaigns for 20 years, said he was stepping back from the front line to take an overarching strategic role and allow the trained agents to run the "nitty gritty" on the ground.

"At one time I would have personally been working all night writing literature but I only did a tiny amount in Brent East. My job was to mobilise and ensure we had the resources to fight it," he said. "These new young people running by-elections have grown up with these techniques. It's received wisdom for them but it seemed revolutionary a few years ago."

The party believes it can win up to 50 more seats at the next general election.