LOCAL ELECTIONS 2014: Lib Dem couple defend Teddington seats in bad night for their party


Stephen Knight and Jennifer Churchill are expecting their second child in three weeks.


By Rachel Jenkins and Drew Nicol 

There is still a silver lining for Richmond’s Liberal Democrat power couple after a crushing defeat in yesterday’s local elections.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Councillor Stephen Knight, and his partner, Councillor Jennifer Churchill, who is eight months pregnant, ensured their second child will be born into one of the last Liberal Democrat strongholds by narrowly defending their Teddington seats.

The pair should expect to have their hands full in the coming months as they juggle the responsibilities of another four years on the council, as well as caring for their new baby girl and their two-year-old daughter, Dylan Rosa.

The couple met through their mutual political interests and Ms Churchill took on the challenge of defending the Liberal’s remaining seats in 2010.

Councillor Knight became a Liberal Democrat Councillor in 1998 and took over as leader after the party conceded control of Richmond Council to the Conservatives 2010.

Councillor Knight said: “It was a glimmer of hope in what was an unhappy evening for us.

“I believe in what we stand for, social progress and progress in government.”

It was a poor turnout for the Lib Dem’s, who lost control of the council in 2010 to the Conservatives, and conceded another nine seats last night.

The Liberal Democrats only managed to defend 15 of their 24 seats.

Despite another defeat, Councillor Knight, remained positive and reiterated that in the back drop of poor ratings for Liberal Democrats on a national level this was still an achievement for his group.

Councillor Knight blamed the Conservative’s for the Liberal Democrats recent woes in national polls.

He said: “It is the coalition, it is the Conservatives that have out manipulated our key position as an opposition party.”

Voter turnout was averaged at 46.13% over 18 wards, which is higher than the national average of 30 – 35%, but significantly lower than in previous Richmond elections with 72.92% in 2010 and 51.1% in 2006.

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