Paul Ray
The Liberal Democrats must rebuild themselves across Lichfield and Burntwood admits defeated parliamentary candidate Paul Ray. Mr Ray finished fourth with 2,700 votes as Conservative Michael Fabricant returned to the House of Commons with an increased majority. The result was a disappointment after the party finished second in May 2010 with 10,365 votes when Ian Jackson stood. But The lawyer believes there is still a clear Liberal Democrat base of voters that the party can reach out to in Lichfield and Burntwood.
Paul Ray
The 52-year-old explained: “The parliamentary result was respectable and in Lichfield and Burntwood there is a solid base of Liberal Democrat support – but we just got swept away across the country because of the anti-Liberal mood. “I’ve had messages back from people praising me for my performance as a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, and that they want to see a strong liberal voice across Lichfield and Burntwood. “The left was routed in this election, but there are many voters we can talk to who never wanted to see another Conservative government. “Since the election over 5,000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats, and the Lichfield, Tamworth and Burton branch has recruited 26 new members, which is an increase of 36 per cent.” Mr Ray also rejected criticism of the Liberal Democrat election campaign. He said the message of being the ‘head’ for Labour and ‘heart’ to the Conservatives was right, because the polls were predicting another coalition government. However, Mr Ray believes that five years in coalition has ‘diluted’ Liberal Democrat values in the eyes of the public. He said: “Our message was right because all of the polls were pointing towards a hung parliament. But being in coalition for five years with the Tories has diluted our values in the minds of voters. “We therefore need to reclaim our emblem as a left of centre party to aid our fightback.” The Liberal Democrat also failed in his bid to become a Lichfield city or district Councillor. But Mr Ray has confirmed he’ll stand again to represent Chadsmead in the future, insisting the party can use the ward as a springboard to gaining a foothold on Lichfield District Council. Mr Ray said: “I’ll still be active within the Lichfield, Tamworth and Burton Liberal Democrat branch.
Marion Bland
“My aim is to work closely with newly re-elected city and district councillor Marion Bland to stand again for the Liberal Democrats as a councillor because I would like to represent the people of Chadsmead. “The Liberal Democrats need to continue to attract new members, we need to build our presence on the city and district council, because local government is a good platform to get our message across. “Back when we had six councillors in Lichfield we focused our attention on three wards instead of just Chadsmead as we are at the moment. Once we rebuild that is something we need to get back to doing.” But Mr Ray believes voters may come to regret electing the first Conservative majority government since 1992. The Conservatives “scaremongering” over a possible SNP-Labour coalition was a major factor in their election victory, Mr Ray claims. He adds that the Tories will inflict more pain upon the British people over the next five years. The Liberal Democrat said: “I’m not criticising the result, but those left of centre voters who decided to back the Conservatives at the general election may come to miss the Liberal Democrats being in coalition as a party of fairness. “I’m alright because I’m a lawyer, I’ve a good job – but as Liberal Democrats we vote in everyone’s best interests and not in the self-centred way that Tory voters do. “What we’ve got to do now is stand up for the most vulnerable in our society to protect them from what is coming down the river. For example, the Liberal Democrats would not be cutting welfare by £12billion as the Tories will now do.”

Lewis Deakin

NCTJ-trained reporter with experience in a wide variety of journalism settings.

One reply on “Candidate admits Lib Dems must rebuild in Lichfield and Burntwood”

  1. What we’ve got to do now is stand up for the most vulnerable in our society to protect them

    Bedroom tax.

    Do you see why you have 8 MP’s?

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