The winning candidate Gareth Roberts, of the Liberal Democrats

London election: sensational gain for Lib Dems in South West as Conservatives drop to third place

The Liberal Democrats have bolstered their Orange Wall in south west London, taking the constituency which covers the area for the first time in its history, with the Conservatives dropping to third place. 

The Liberal Democrat candidate Gareth Roberts has won the South West constituency on the Greater London Assembly with 66,675 votes, followed the Labour in second on 50,666, and the Conservatives dipping to third, with 49,981 votes.

The South West constituency has always returned a Conservative member to the Assembly, and this is the first time a member from a party other than Labour or the Conservatives has won a constituency seat.

On winning Roberts said: “After troubled times in recent years, this a real boost for Lib Dems in London.

“I really hope this is going to translate into more MPs. We’re back. ”

Previous to the results being announced Roberts emphasised working across parties, citing his role as leader of Richmond Borough Council, and working at a cross-London level before, saying he will work with whoever is Mayor at City Hall if elected if the proposals are good.

However, Roberts indicated a preference for working with a Sadiq Khan-led City Hall, rather than the Conservatives’ Susan Hall. 

On Hall, Roberts said: “Hall would be a serious mistake. A Walking talking billboard for culture wars and anti-wokeness.”  

The mayorality was retained by Khan and the Labour Party for a historic third term.

Roberts told journalists that he wouldn’t step down as Leader of Richmond councils, but will do both, saying it’s been done before with Council leaders sitting as AMs on the assembly.

The Labour candidate, Marcela Benedetti, talked up her chances, but admitted it was a three-way race between herself, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

However, she hoped being from the party that looks like it’s about to enter the UK government would swing it her way.

Benedetti said: “A Labour Prime Minister, working with a Labour Mayor, and with a Labour Assembly Member in the south west.” 

Ron Mushiso, the Conservative candidate, highlighted his background, and how he has previously struggled to succeed, saying it was why he would make a good AM for the south west. 

Third place conservative candidate Ron Mushiso

He said: “I understand what it feels like to be poor, what it feels like to have nothing, what it feels like to come from absolute zero, and what it feels like for the state to be there supporting you if you require it.”

After the results came in he said: “I’m disappointed to have come third.”

Adding that they were not able to reach enough supporters on the door to get across the line.   

Steve Chilcot, of Reform UK, pointed out that Reform was a brand new party, and did not expect to win, but was confident in getting votes.

Reform UK came fifth in the constituency, with 14,450, behind the Greens on 17,696.

Ask how he felt about Khan winning the Mayoralty, he said: “Very sad, I’ve not personally met a single person who likes him, he’s very unpopular with everyone I’ve spoken to, whether they’re on the left or on the right.”

In the mayoral race, Labour topped the vote in the South West seat, winning 77,011 votes to the Conservatives 68,856, flipping the seat at the Mayoral level, with the Liberal Democrats coming a distant third with 25,579 votes. 

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