In a surprise defiance of expectations, Southwark Liberal Democrats emerged from the election in a strengthened positon and with the real possibility of increasing their overall numbers when the election of the contested seat of London Bridge & West Bermondsey takes place in mid-June.
Before Thursday’s local election, experts were predicting that the Liberal Democrats could be ‘wiped out’ from Southwark, with bookies giving odds of 3/1 on that happening. However, the party returned the same number of councilors and have the very real possibility of gaining more next month. They also ran Labour a close second in many wards, and with Southwark now being a two-party council, with only Liberal Democrats and Labour councillors elected, the party will now have a strengthened platform to hold the Labour council to account and to make gains in future elections. Despite the wider surge for Labour in London, in Southwark, they only managed to gain one seat.
Commenting on the results, Cllr Anood Al-Samerai, Leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrat council group said ‘Though some first-rate Liberal Democrat councillors and candidates were sadly not returned on Thursday, there can be no doubt that we defied all expectations and strengthened our position. There were many other seats where we came close to winning, and in London Bridge and West Bermondsey, we have a real chance to make even further gains. Labour’s central aim in this campaign was to make Southwark a Lib-Dem free zone. In that, they have clearly failed.’