Witney by-election: Did it really matter?

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By Luke Goodstadt

By-elections in British politics tend to serve two purposes. Firstly, and formally, they are to elect a new Member of Parliament after the resignation, removal or passing of the sitting member. In the case of Witney 2016 it is to fill the seat of MP David Cameron, the man who this week was voted the second worst Prime Minister of all time. The second purpose of by-elections is an informal one; they act as a warning to the government about the public opinion of how well they are doing (which is never usually nice).

So how has the Witney by-election 2016 effected British politics? In realistic terms, not much. The Conservatives held the seat so the government still have a working majority of 16. Thus, can still pass the policies that they want to.

However, these results have significantly shifted the political landscape in the UK. The Conservative majority shrunk from 25,000 to just under 6,000. A surprise resurgence from the Liberal Democrats took second place from Labour with a huge increase of the percentage vote of 23%. In fact all parties apart from the Liberal Democrats suffered losses in this by-election. Even the Green Party’s Larry Sanders (the brother of ex-Democrat presidential nominee Bernie Sanders) who received an incredibly large amount of attention coming into this by-election, left with a drop of 1.6% of the percentage vote.timfarron

These results not only warn Theresa May that the people of West Oxfordshire are not happy with her Premiership so far, but they also tell the country that the Liberal Democrats are once again a viable party to challenge the current two party system as both the right and left attempt to steer the country to either extreme; especially since they are the only party that are truly united in the fight against Brexit.

This has now become the pinnacle of the ‘LibDemFightback’ and something that Tim Farron and his party will certainly build on in the coming months and years.

This Witney by-election certainly has added some extra interest into British politics and has poured gallons of fuel to the flames of the Liberal Democrat resurgence.


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