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Lib Dems defeat their nemesis

JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

This morning it was London: now it’s the results across the south of England which are flooding in, with similarly bad news for the Tories. And one declaration in Somerset will particularly trouble Conservative high command after the party’s expert on defeating the Liberal Democrats was himself defeated, er, by the Liberal Democrats.

For incumbent councillor Hayward Burt has been soundly beaten in the Blackmoor Vale ward for Somerset Council, losing alongside his colleague William Wallace to two Lib Dems Sarah Dyke and Nicola Clark. The two Tories gained 1,443 and 1,328 votes respectively, compared to Dyke on 1,814 and Clark on 1,590. 


Burt runs the ‘Lib Dem unit’ over at CCHQ and last year ran a ‘masterclass‘ for the Conservative Women’s Organisation explaining ‘the policies that cut through against the Liberals.’ He also appeared on a regional party conference panel on which he gave his ‘expert advice’ on ‘the best way to fight off the yellow peril.’

Perhaps it’s time to refresh the Tory playbook? A Lib Dem source told Mr S: ‘In fairness, even the greatest political strategist couldn’t stop the backlash against Boris Johnson across the Blue Wall. He is a one man election winning unit for the Lib Dems.’ 

With a by-election looming in Neil Parish’s Tiverton constituency, it’s a good thing CCHQ will have their Lib Dem expert back to work with them full-time.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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