Mark congratulates Willie Rennie on stunning by-election win

February 10, 2006 10:29 AM
Nicol Stephen and Ming Campbell join Willie Rennie on the Dunfermline campaign trail

Willie Rennie and the Lib Dem team

Cheadle MP Mark Hunter has congratulated Lib Dem colleague Willie Rennie on his sensational victory in the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election last night.

Mark said, "This results shows that if you listen to local people, concentrate on the issues that matter and work hard, you can achieve spectacular results. Congratulations to Willie and thank you to the people of Dunfermline and West Fife."

Other reaction:

"Liberal Democrats have gained Dunfermline and West Fife from Labour in a bombshell by-election result in Chancellor Gordon Brown's backyard" - Daily Mail

There was a massive swing of 16% from the Labour Party to the Liberal Democrats (and 9% from Conservative to Lib Dem), just nine months after the General Election. The Liberal Democrats turned a Labour majority of 11,562 into a Lib Dem majority of 1,800. This victory was the first ever Liberal Democrat gain from the Labour party in a Scottish by-election.

"The Liberal Democrats have delivered a hammer blow to Labour" - BBC

"Lib Dems pull off stunning victory in Brown's backyard" - The Times

"The party's astonishing win ... is surely the most famous victory of them all" - The Guardian

The full result was:

Willie Rennie (Liberal Democrat) - 12,391 (35.8%)

Catherine Stihler (Labour) - 10,591 (30.6%)

Douglas Chapman (Scottish National Party) - 7,261 (21.0%)

Carrie Ruxton (Conservative) - 2,702 (7.8%)

John McAllion (Scottish Socialist Party) - 537

James Hargreaves (Scottish Christian Party) - 411

Thomas Minogue (Abolish Forth Bridge Tolls Party) - 374

Ian Borland (UK Independence Party) - 208

Dick Rodgers (Common Good) - 103

Turnout - 59.9%

"The poor Tory showing is an embarrassment for David Cameron" - The Times

"The Liberal Democrats have pulled off a sensational by-election victory" - ITN

The result has stunned Labour and saw David Cameron's Conservative Party finish fourth in his first major electoral test since becoming Conservative leader. The result was the worst Conservative Parliamentary by-election result for eight years.

Willie Rennie, the Liberal Democrat victor said:

"I would like to thank the people of Dunfermline and West Fife for the trust that they have shown in me personally - and in the Liberal Democrats. Tonight they have sent a powerful message to the Labour Government. It is time that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both got that message."

Willie added:

"There are messages tonight for all the major parties. The Liberal Democrat message that we want a fairer, greener and more democratic society - is one that wins widespread appeal.

"Labour has lost the confidence of people who supported them for generations. People want a change - but they do not want to go back to the Conservatives. This by-election has shown that the Conservatives are irrelevant in much of Britain. This is a terrible result for David Cameron - the Conservatives continue to decline. This must be a deeply depressing night for the SNP's Alex Salmond following their decline at the General Election."

Before the result many commentators thought that the Liberal Democrats would be fighting to retain the second place that they narrowly gained over the SNP at the General Election.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have increased their vote in each of the last three General Elections and won 11 of the 59 seats in 2005. The SNP has lost support in each of the last three General Elections and fell to third place in votes and seats in 2005.

"Crushing defeat for Labour as Lib Dems take Dunfermline seat" - Financial Times

"Stunning Lib Dem victory in Brown's backyard" - The Telegraph

"Lib Dems stun Labour in byelection triumph" - The Guardian

The by-election has proved that the residents of Dunfermline and West Fife preferred what Willie Rennie and the Liberal Democrats had to say on the key issues of the Labour's record on health and education, pension provision, Iraq and the proposed Forth Bridge toll hike and regeneration of Dunfermline.

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