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Saturday, 8 May 2010

Following the election...

Thanks very much to everyone who voted for me as the Lib Dem candidate for Hendon in the General Election of 6 May 2010. I got 5,734 votes, which is roughly the same as the Lib Dem candidate got in 2005, despite strong attempts to "squeeze" the Lib Dem vote in what was seen as a Labour/Tory marginal. I am disappointed not to have got more votes, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of standing for Parliament for the first time, which was a great honour. I do think that a lot of voters were tightly undecided between the Lib Dems and another party before finally deciding to vote Tory or Labour (partly for tactical reasons), and I respect that entirely - I am just delighted to have been able to stand. I have congratulated the Conservative Matthew Offord on being elected as Hendon's next MP, and my commiserations go to Andrew Dismore, the outgoing Labour MP. I greatly enjoyed debating with Andrew and Matthew at the hustings meetings to which we were all invited.

Nationally, the British people have elected a Parliament in which no one party has an overall majority. In light of this, I strongly endorse the approach being taken by Nick Clegg, as outlined in the statement below yesterday morning:
"Last night was a disappointment for the Liberal Democrats. Even though more people voted for us than ever before, even though we had a higher proportion of the vote than ever before, it is of course a source of great regret to me that we have lost some really valued friends and colleagues and we have returned to Parliament with fewer MPs than before.

"Many, many people during the election campaign were excited about the prospect of doing something different, but it seems that when they came to vote, many of them, in the end, decided to stick with what they knew best. And at a time of great economic uncertainty, I totally understand those feelings. But that’s not going to stop me from redoubling my efforts and our efforts to show that real change is the best reassurance that things can get better for people and their families, that it shouldn’t be something which unsettles people.

"Now we’re in a very fluid political situation with no party enjoying an absolute majority. As I’ve said before, it seems to me in a situation like this, it’s vital that all political parties, all political leaders, act in the national interest, and not out of narrow party political advantage. I’ve also said that whichever party gets the most votes and the most seats, if not an absolute majority, has the first right to seek to govern, either on its own or by reaching out to other parties, and I stick to that view. It seems this morning that it’s the Conservative party that has more votes and more seats, though not an absolute majority, and that is why I think it is now for the Conservative party to prove that it is capable of seeking to govern in the national interest. At the same time, this election campaign has made it abundantly clear that our electoral system is broken, it simply doesn’t reflect the hopes and aspirations of the British people, so I repeat again my assurance, that whatever happens in the coming hours and days and weeks, I will continue to argue not only for the greater fairness in British society, not only the greater responsibility in economic policy making, but also for the extensive, real reforms that we need to fix our broken political system. Thank you very much."

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