Whilst the elections last week didn't quite live up to the 'US style' billing as a 'Super Thursday', a very clear, and very important message came out of the results. For anyone who wrote off the Liberal Democrats after the General Election a year ago, they were very wrong. The Liberal Democrat Fightback is well underway.
Our party made the most gains in the English local elections, increasing our share of seats more than any other party, now having 45 more, passionate Councillors working hard for their communities.
We strengthened our support in the liberal heartlands of Eastleigh and Cheltenham. We dominated the results in Southport, Cumbria and in Watford, where we took control of the council. And we gained seats in cities like Hull, Rochdale and Manchester thanks to my fantastic former colleague John Leech, who will provide the only opposition to Labour there.
Up and down the country we've seen the green shoots of liberalism grow up in communities disillusioned with an impotent Labour party dubbed as the worst ever Government opposition, and a heartless Conservative Government imposing ideological cuts to valued public services.
While we only managed to retain our five seats in Scotland, it's worth highlighting the fantastic results in Edinburgh Western, North East Fife and the Orkney and Shetland Isles. Admittedly results in Wales and London can be viewed as a disappointment and are incredibly undeserved after the brilliant campaigns run by Kirsty Williams and Caroline Pidgeon.
It's no secret that Caroline was by far the most skilled and qualified candidate and I am sure that as our Assembly Member she will continue to be a passionate voice for Londoners.
I congratulate Sadiq Khan for becoming the first Muslim Mayor of a major western city. Despite not being from the same party, I was proud that Londoners rejected the shameful, divisive and frankly racist Tory campaign, which thankfully fell flat on its back.
For us, last Thursday's results are a step in the right direction. There is no doubt that our path to recovery will take time and that we will suffer bruises along the way. However, Liberal Democrats are fighters, optimists and believers and make no mistake about it, we are in no mood to go away anytime soon.
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