The Liberal Democrats have lost a previously safe council seat after Political Scrapbook published a series of shocking islamophobic comments from their candidate. Dave Stones’ sick remarks came to light two weeks ago and were resolutely ignored by Lib Dem senior leadership despite overwhelming criticism from a host of anti-racism institutions.
Although appearing on leaflets, Ian Swales MP appears to have stayed away from campaigning and the vote count – yet like his senior Lib Dem colleagues has utterly failed to condemn Stones’ comments. Left to sell a racist candidate, numerous demotivated Lib Dem activists stayed away.
Nick Clegg, who leaked emails revealed was fully aware of the controversy, was clearly hoping to brush the matter under the carpet without comment, but instead saw a majority of almost 400 disappear.
The polls yesterday saw voters punish Stones and his party, with the results as follows:
John Hannon (Lab) – 539 votes
Dave Stones (LD) – 484 votes
Matthew Bennet (Con) – 76 votes
After their drubbing at the ballot box, Clegg’s continuing silence will be even more damning.