February 9, 2006


Stunning Lib Dem victory in Brown's backyard (Alan Cochrane, 10/02/2006, Daily Telegraph)

The Liberal Democrats put their leadership woes behind them and won a startling by-election victory early today in the constituency where Gordon Brown has his family home.

In a personal humiliation for the Chancellor, the Lib Dems overturned an 11,500 Labour majority to capture Dunfermline and West Fife. Their 1,800 majority represented a swing of 16.24 per cent.

Losing to a party that's imploding is a sure sign you're done.

Shock result in safe seat leaves Brown in unwelcome territory (Julian Glover, February 10, 2006, The Guardian)

The result means that Gordon Brown will go into the next general election with a Liberal Democrat MP - boundary changes mean he now lives just outside the seat he represents in parliament. This is a first, surely, for a Labour leader and a small humiliation that he will find hard to shrug off.

Labour will try to argue that Scottish conditions are different - the Lib Dems came second there in last year's general election and have ministers in Scotland's coalition government. But that will not save Mr Brown much embarrassment.

Nor will Tony Blair be able to forget the outcome: when parties start losing byelections, MPs begin to worry for their jobs. It helped remove Margaret Thatcher from power and it could help remove Mr Blair too.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2006 10:43 PM
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