Lib Dems fielding no Barking and Dagenham election candidates to ‘focus on Newham campaign’

Gareth Evans. Picture: Andrew Christy

Gareth Evans. Picture: Andrew Christy - Credit: Andrew Christy/Newham Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats are not fielding any candidates in the local election in Barking and Dagenham in order to concentrate their efforts on electioneering in Newham, the chair of the Newham and Barking and Dagenham Liberal Democrats has revealed.

Gareth Evans, the local party chair who is campaigning to become the mayor of Newham, said: “The decision to focus on Newham this election was based on the 2017 general election result which showed clear support for the Liberal Democrats in Newham and as a pro remain party, to focus efforts on the borough that voted to remain in the EU.

“We feel during this campaign, we can achieve our aim of winning Liberal Democrat votes and ending Labour complacency and negligence in at least one of the boroughs we oversee.”

Mr Evans said the party want to overturn the “one party state” in Newham.

In the 2014 local elections the Liberal Democrats fielded nine candidates in Barking and Dagenham, standing in the Alibon, Becontree, Chadwell Heath, Eastbury, Goresbrook, Heath, Longbridge, Village and Whalebone wards.

The party finished bottom of the poll in all of those wards except for Eastbury and Longbridge, where they finished just ahead of the Conservatives and Socialist Labour respectively.

The party received a 1.6 per cent share of the borough-wide vote, compared to a 2 per cent vote share in Newham.

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The decision to prioritise Newham was “unanimously backed” by the local party, Mr Evans added.

“As we continue to grow nationally and locally as a party, our aim is to extend our reach across east London and into Barking and Dagenham,” he said.

“Barking and Dagenham remains important to us and we welcome new members in those boroughs to join us and help to achieve our long-term aim of getting representatives elected who can be a new voice for residents across all boroughs that we oversee.”

He added the party are “delighted that nationally and in London we are fielding more Liberal Democrat candidates than in 2014 and this trend is replicated for us locally as well in Newham”.