Monthly Archives: May 2014


 TEAM London Update


In today’s bulletin for London …

  • European Election Results
  • Local Council Results
  • Comment

European Election Results

The final result for the London European elections saw us win 148.013 votes, being 6.73% of the total cast.  Interestingly that’s very similar to the GLA result in 2012 where we won 150,447 votes (6.79%) and perhaps this shows a solid core support for the Liberal Democrats but sadly it was not enough this time to re-elect Sarah Ludford as our MEP.

Sarah has been the MEP for London since 1999 and has been a great liberal campaigner; two recent examples being her work on the European Arrest Warrant and her determined opposition to the illiberal Data Retention Directive. These successes are just highlights of the great work she has done in the name of liberalism. Alongside that she has been a frequent visitor to local Lib Dem campaign activities across the capital.

You can see the full London Euro results here.

The UK now has just one Lib Dem MEP; Catherine Bearder won a seat in the South East Region.

Local Council Results

Congratulations to the team in Sutton who managed to increase their council group from 43 to 47 but they are now the only Lib Dem controlled Council in London. Yesterday saw the delayed Norbiton ward result with one more Lib Dem councillor elected to the Kingston team, although their total of 18 down from 27 mean we’ve lost control there.

Overall the total number of the Lib Dem councillors in London is now 118, down from the previous figure of 245.

Across London many extremely hard working local campaigners have lost their seats. As well as being sad to see Sarah Ludford not re-elected, many well known names have lost out locally – Jill Fraser in Camden, Carol Caruana in Kensington and Chelsea and Nigel Bakhai in Ealing to name but three. High hopes in Haringey were dashed including the loss of leader Richard Wilson’s seat.

You can see the full London results on the London Councils site.

There are also two contests that are to be re-run over the summer due to deaths of candidates.


It is hugely disappointing to see so many great champions lose out in these elections. Our campaigns team including Chris Butler and Simon Drage have worked incredibly hard to support activity across the capital and we share their disappointment as we do for the local teams.

We mentioned at the start the comparison to the GLA elections. It’s time for a break and reflection now, and then to look at how to build on that support base for the future, including the General Election next year and the next GLA elections are just round the corner in 2016.


Hospital Closure Clause

Health and Well Being is very close to my heart since one of my profiles as a Lib Dem Councillor was Vice Chair of the Health and Well Being Scrutiny Committee in the London Borough of Sutton between May 2010 and January 2012.

I am particularly thrilled with the outcome of this campaign since I feel that local people, including doctors, are better suited to determine their fate.

The closing down of local hospitals would have exasperated untold misery for people who already find it difficult to travel in dire straits either to visit friends and relatives or to acquire medical treatment themselves.

I commend the thousands of campaigners who decided to make a stand and, as a result, made a profound difference.

Thanks to Lib Dem MP Paul Burstow, ex-Health Minister who tabled the amendments to the clause and listened to the voice of the people.  That is democracy!

38 Degrees Logo

Dear Jennifer,

Some very, very good news. We did it! The government has accepted our amendment to the hospital closure clause in the House of Lords. [1]

Without our amendment the hospital closure clause would have given the government new powers to close any hospital in England, even if local doctors were against it.

The clause was voted through by MPs back in March, after the government made some concessions. Their changes didn’t go far enough, but it seemed like the government wouldn’t budge any further.

The clause was due to be passed today. So the government’s decision to accept – almost word for word – the changes proposed by lawyers funded by 38 Degrees members came right down to the wire – and it was a big surprise.

Our people powered pressure worked and our hospitals are now safer. Thank you for everything you’ve done to make this happen. Hurrah!

David Lock QC, an NHS expert lawyer, has checked the government’s changes and here’s what he said:
“This is a very satisfying outcome. It recognises the compelling logic of the position taken by 38 Degrees members.”

38 Degrees members, alongside others like the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, have been campaigning on this for months:

  • Over 150,000 of us signed a petition calling for the plans to be scrapped
  • After meeting with 38 Degrees members, Lib Dem MP and ex-health minister Paul Burstow tabled amendments to the clause. The government, fearing a rebellion from within its own ranks, made some concessions but they didn’t go far enough.
  • The campaign then moved to the House of Lords. Baroness Finlay, a well-respected doctor and influential crossbench peer, led the charge. 38 Degrees members funded briefings and advice from legal heavyweights and we wrote to peers. [2]

In the end, everything we did together – alongside other campaigners and parliamentarians like Baroness Finlay, Paul Burstow MP, Andy Burnham MP – worked. The government has made the changes that they needed to.

Regardless of what happened today, we’ve still got a huge amount to do to protect our NHS. But wins like this, especially on the NHS, don’t come along that often. Today gives us more proof that when we work together, we can achieve great things, and make the government sit up and listen. So for today, let’s celebrate.

Thanks for everything you do,

Becky, Blanche, Rachel, Ian, Rebecca, Maddy and the rest of the 38 Degrees team

PS: Here’s what Baroness Finlay said:
“I am delighted that the Government have recognised the need for equity and the importance of safeguarding good patient services in a population.

The campaign to achieve this would not have been as effective without the support of 38 Degrees members.”

PPS: 38 Degrees is funded by small donations from hundreds of thousands of us. To donate to 38 Degrees to ensure we can carry on campaigning to protect our NHS please click here:

[1] Here’s a link to the amendment, as tabled by the government:
[2] To read everything we did together to make this possible on the 38 Degrees website:

38 Degrees is funded entirely by donations from thousands of members across the UK. Making a regular donation will mean 38 Degrees can stay independent and plan for future campaigns. Please will you chip in a few pounds a week?