All politics is local, so the old saying goes, and at first sight the result of the Chesham and Amersham by-election amply demonstrates the worth of the adage. The swing was of historic proportions, yet the local factors were also exceptionally powerful, and stacked against the Conservatives.
The controversies about HS2 and the relaxation of planning rules certainly worked against the Conservatives; the voters directed their protest in an intelligent and effective way.
Sir Ed Davey’s party may not have re-established its status as a party of government (he is one of the few with government experience in the Commons), but it is clearly a party of protest, which is something. Rather than splitting the vote three ways or more between the Lib Dems, Labour, the Greens and even Reform UK (who had another bad night of it), the Lib Dems scooped the pot.
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