Lib Dems win Chesham and Amersham by-election - taking seat from Tories for first time since 1974

The seat had been a Conservative stronghold since its creation in 1974

The Liberal Democrats scored a historic win in the Chesham and Amersham by-election, winning a parliamentary seat from the Conservatives by overturning a majority of more than 16,000.

Lib Dem Sarah Green is the country’s newest MP after winning the seat, which had been a Conservative stronghold since its creation in 1974.

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Lib Dem Sarah Green is the country’s newest MP after winning the seat, which had been a Conservative stronghold since its creation in 1974 (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Lib Dem Sarah Green is the country’s newest MP after winning the seat, which had been a Conservative stronghold since its creation in 1974 (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

At a glance: 5 key points

- Defeated Tory candidate Peter Fleet acknowledged the Conservatives had to rebuild “trust and understanding” with voters

- Sir Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, said the result sent a “shockwave through British politics” by showing that the “Blue Wall” of Tory southern seats could be vulnerable

- Sarah Green took 56.7 per cent of the vote to secure a majority of 8,028 over the second-placed Tories

- The Green Party came third with 1,480 votes, with Labour placing fourth with just 622 votes

- The scale of the defeat will now ring alarm bells in Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ)

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What’s been said

“Tonight the voice of Chesham and Amersham is unmistakable. Together we have said, ‘Enough is enough, we will be heard and this Government will listen’.

“This campaign has shown that no matter where you live, or how supposedly safe a constituency may appear to be, if you want a Liberal Democrat member of Parliament, you can have a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament.”

She added: “We will continue the work of holding this Government to account for letting Covid rip through the care homes. We will speak up for the three million people excluded from financial support throughout the pandemic and we will challenge Boris Johnson to be far more ambitious in tackling climate change, supporting our frontline workers and backing our small businesses.”

Sarah Green’s acceptance speech

“Clearly this was a very disappointing result, not the result that I was expecting nor my team.”

“It’s an absolutely extraordinary result which must take into account the fact that the Liberal Democrat party didn’t just throw the kitchen sink at this constituency, I think it was the microwave, the table, the oven, the dishwasher, the dog, the cat and anything else that was lying around as well.“

Peter Fleet

Background

The contest was triggered by the death of former Cabinet minister Dame Cheryl Gillan, who took the seat with a majority of 16,233 in the 2019 general election.

Major issues in the campaign included the HS2 rail line, which cuts through the constituency, and the Government’s proposed planning reforms, which have triggered fears about building in the countryside around the seat in the Chilterns.

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