VOTERS in Hampstead Town woke up this morning to find Conservative Simon Marcus installed as their new councillor. He finished with a comfortable lead of 300+ over the Lib Dems in the by-election to fill the vacant council seat left by Kirsty Roberts. The size of the victory will seem curious to any recipients of a last minute leaflet pushed out by the Lib Dems at ’6pm’ which claims candidate Dr Jeffrey Fine had been told by his election agent that ‘it’s neck and neck between me and the Tories’.
The closest thing to neck and neck in yesterday’s contest of course was the race for second place as Labour tried to put down a marker for future elections. The leaflet was asking residents to believe that there was some sort of official word that the margin of victory would be close and so with just hours of voting time left the Lib Dems had gone off to design and print a leaflet urging them to make sure they got to the polling stations in time.
The naughtiest rumour running around the count last night was that the leaflet had been printed in advance on the assumption that the party would need to do everything to urge people in this neighbourhood who have supported the Lib Dems heavily in the past to come out for them again. Whatever, the prediction of a neck and neck finale clanged with the final result as the Tories proved they were the only party able to command a four figure score this time around.