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Updated: Lib Dem Leader Visits Guildford to Kick Start General Election Campaign

Published on: 9 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 9 Jan, 2024

Ed Davey with the Lib Dem campaign van.

By Martin Giles

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey visited Guildford last week where he unveiled an “Ed Davey’s Tory Removals” poster van as part of their campaigning in the lead-up to the general election which will have to be called this year.

[The following paragraph has been updated.] The Lib Dems have called for the election to take place in May this year and were to be tabling a bill in Parliament to bring about the return of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act before Ed Davey decided to withdraw it yesterday (January 8).

The Lib Dems have seen gains against the Conservatives in Surrey in recent years.  In 2019, the party gained control of Mole Valley District Council, in 2022 they won Woking Borough Council and last year, the Lib Dems gained overall control of both Guildford and Surrey Heath Borough Councils.

The party says it is now looking to build on these gains targeting marginal Parliamentary seats across Surrey, including Guildford where candidate Zoe Franklin reduced the Conservative majority to 3,300 at the last election.

Zoe Franklin

Ms Franklin said: “It was great to welcome Ed Davey to Guildford on Wednesday morning to launch the Lib Dems’ 2024 campaign.

“The future of our country is too important to be left to one person.  The date of the next election should not be decided on the whim of the Prime Minister.  The Lib Dems and I want the Fixed Term Parliament Act back in way so voters remove this failing government in May.”

Ed Davey said: “Families across the Home Counties are fed up with seeing their rivers ruined by sewage, local hospitals crumble while mortgages and rents go through the roof.

“This is the year we can tear down the ‘Blue Wall’ and get rid of this appalling Conservative government for good.”

Angela Richardson MP

But Guildford’s Conservative MP, Angela Richardson, was dismissive of the Lib Dem campaign and focused on Ed Davey’s role as one of several former government ministers who failed to spot the Post Office Scandal, now attracting so much attention in the wake of the ITV Drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

She told The Dragon: “Whilst I am busy ensuring that Guildford’s needs are being represented, Ed Davey has serious questions to answer about the role he played in government.

“The Lib Dems’ 2024 campaign has fallen flat as revelations show that when Davey was Postal Affairs Minister, he initially refused to meet with the Justice for Sub-Postmasters Alliance which was campaigning on behalf of victims regarding the Horizon accounting scandal.

“At a time when concerns were raised that postmasters were being wrongly incriminated, tougher questions should have been asked regarding the scandal and this demonstrates a concerning failure of leadership.

“Unfortunately, given the risk of the finances at Guildford Borough Council, residents of Guildford are all too aware of what happens when the Lib Dems are put in charge.

“While the Lib Dems are busy trying to rescue their campaign, I am being held to account by Guildford residents every day and am delivering results for our community.”

Anne Rouse

Anne Rouse, chair of Guildford Labour Party, was also Critical of the Lib Dems. She said: “I really hope that Guildford voters will not fall for a silly stunt like this.

“We need the next Guildford MP to focus on fixing the economy with serious policies to enable a better, brighter future for the residents of Guildford and to encourage people to vote for the only party that can make this happen.

“We know people are fed up with the Tory Party but as we have said before, real change for Guildford can only come from the party in power and that will NOT be the Lib Dems.

“I hope the residents in Guildford are brave enough to vote for the MP they would like to see in Parliament, not just a wasted vote to keep the Tories out.”

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Responses to Updated: Lib Dem Leader Visits Guildford to Kick Start General Election Campaign

  1. Toni Hourahane Reply

    January 9, 2024 at 1:30 pm

    Ed Davey has the cheek to turn up in Guildford. No sign of him in the House of Commons last night. No support for those poor sub postmasters who he did nothing to help. Mr Bates contacted him in 2010 and he sent him away. Shame on him.

    Toni Horahane is a former Conservative party candidate.

  2. Paul Spooner Reply

    January 9, 2024 at 1:30 pm

    Unless I am mistaken (but I don’t think so) Ed Davey pulled his Fixed Term bill yesterday to avoid attendance. Par for the course. Please correct the article or issue an update.

    Paul Spooner is a former Conservative borough councillor.

    Editor’s response. Thank you for pointing that out. The article has now been updated.

  3. David Humphries Reply

    January 9, 2024 at 1:42 pm

    Strange that Ed Davey had enough time to drive a bus in Guildford, but not enough time or interest in attending the Post Office debate about the debacle which happened while he was the minister in charge. He also couldn’t make time to see the representatives of the postmasters and postmistresses to hear their side of the story.

    Perhaps he was scared of having to answer questions on the matter which could have embarrassed him?

  4. Julian Lyon Reply

    January 9, 2024 at 11:17 pm

    There seems to be so much concealing of facts by the local Lib Dems (see the Frog & Giles excellent cartoon) that it seems highly appropriate for Sir Ed Davey to be bringing out his Story Removals van!

    Julian Lyon is a former R4GV candidate

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