The Liberal Democrats have pulled off an incredible victory in Richmond Park.
Although the constituency previously voted Liberal Democrat, it is difficult to understate just how much of a mountain we had to climb. At the beginning of this contest we were 23,000 votes behind, and finished almost 2000 votes ahead.
We won in Richmond because we had a clear message and campaigned hard to deliver that message to the electorate. In total Liberal Democrat activists held 50,000 conversations with voters on the doorstep.
It was fantastic to see members from Vauxhall going down to the constituency to be part of this heroic victory.
<h2>The Brexit Byelection</h2>
There was no doubt that the overriding issue in this election was Brexit.
Across the country millions voted to remain in the European Union. Since the referendum they have been ignored, sneered at and labelled as 'bremoaners' and losers by the hard right.
No one can call us losers anymore.
But it would be wrong to say that this election was just about remain voters punishing a pro-brexit MP through the polls.
Even amongst people who voted to leave, there has been widespread concern about the shambolic and undemocratic way the government is conducting itself, and the lurch towards a hard brexit that no one voted for.
According to our canvass data in Richmond, 30% of tory voters who voted to leave in June, voted Liberal Democrat in the byelection.
Clearly even people who voted for brexit feel that things are going in the wrong direction. That the kind of politics being promoted by the leaders of the brexit campaign has led to devision and intolerance in our country.
Last night we sent a message that we have had enough of the devisive and intollerant politics. The fight back for the soul of our country starts here. No one put it better than Sarah in her victory speech:
<blockquote>"Richmond Park is full of people like me who felt that something was going wrong. That the politics of anger and division were on the rise. That the liberal, tolerant values we took for granted were under threat. We were seeing the UKIP vision for Britain in the ascendancy – intolerant, backward-looking, divisive; just as we see it in America and across Europe.
"Well today we have said no. We will defend the Britain we love. We will stand up for the open, tolerant, united Britain that we believe in. The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit Government. And our message is clear: we do not want a ‘hard Brexit’; we do not want to be pulled out of the Single Market; and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win."</blockquote>
Sara Olney's journey has been an inspiration. She joined the party a little more than a year ago, and had never previously been involved in a political campaign. She is now our newest MP. And she will be a great MP.
She has shown what is possible when people get active and fight for what they believe in.
If you are not a member of the Liberal Democrats, there has now never been a better time to get involved. You can join the party by visiting our national website <a href="https://libdems.secure.force.com/LiberalDemocrats/NewMemberRegistration">here</a>.
During the election, It was wonderful to see people from all parties and none joining fight for liberalism. The campaign to elect a liberal MP, was backed by the Greens, the Womens' Equality Party and More United, a non-party pro European group that supports pro-European candidates at elections.
Labour chose to stand a candidate, and in the end lost their deposit, receiving fewer votes than they have members in the constituency.
The total failure of Labour to make a dent in the by-election is a sad reflection on the fact that the party simply has no credible position on Brexit. On the most important issue our country faces, Labour have abandoned the field.
In our area of course, the situation is much worse, with the Labour MP choosing to campaign alongside Nigel Farage and the hard right for a hard brexit that few people voted for.
Over the next months, we need a Richmond sized effort to make sure Vauxhall has the best chance of electing an MP that will fight for the liberal, open and tolerant britain we all want to live in.