Herts Ad comment: End of an era for Lib Dem Sandy

Herts Advertiser comment

Herts Advertiser comment - Credit: Archant

Unlike much of the rest of Herts, St Albans has always had an intriguing relationship with the Liberal Democrats.

Even as the Tories were winning last year’s General Election and Nick Clegg’s phalanx of Lib Dem MPs was being decimated, support for the party at St Albans district council level remained surprisingly constant even though voters went to the polls on the same day.

And at county council level, there are more Lib Dems representing divisions in this district than elsewhere in Herts.

So now the baton of prospective parliamentary Lib Dem candidate has passed from the evergreen Sandy Walkington to the out-of-district Daisy Cooper, it will be fascinating to see what happens.

Sandy ran Tory MP Anne Main close in 2010, losing out by only a couple of thousand votes. And while support for his party tailed off at the last General Election, in recent years, the Lib Dems have been seen as close rivals to the Conservatives.

The party’s strength, both at St Albans council and General Election level locally, has always been the willingness of its candidates to immerse themselves in what is happening in the district and take on each and every issue. It has certainly served Sandy Walkington well over the years.

New candidate Daisy, who hails from the south coast, admits that with Lib Dem MPs numbering only eight, she faces a challenge. Her strength, and that of her party in St Albans as she sees it, is that the Lib Dems campaigned strongly to remain in the EU and St Albans was one of only two districts in Herts not to opt for Brexit.

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That may well be the case if there is a snap election but if the current government goes full term, plenty more issues will have arisen by then. And if the dire warnings issued by the Remain supporters do not come to pass, it could well be very old news. To succeed in this constituency, Daisy needs to see and be seen as soon as possible.