Have the Lib Dems found an election-winning strategy?

 

He only started his new job this morning, but Winston Roddick has already been nominated for a prestigious award.

Mr Roddick won the race to be Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales as an independent candidate.

A Liberal Democrat briefing sent to party spokespeople last Friday highlighted the North Wales result: "In Wales, Lib Dem member Winston Roddick won the North Wales PCC seat. He ran as an independent and was backed by Kirsty Williams."

His victory was raised this morning in the House of Commons - by Labour. Shadow Leader of the Commons, Angela Eagle, briefed MPs on developments:

"It appears the Liberal Democrats used the PCC elections to test out their brand new election strategy. In North Wales, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats endorsed one Winston Roddick because she said 'as an independent candidate he is free from party political pressure', and he was elected.

"But it was subsequently uncovered that Mr Roddick was in fact a member of the Liberal Democrats masquerading as an independent.

"Can we have an urgent debate, Mr Speaker, on this new electoral strategy by the Liberal Democrats to hoodwink people into voting for them?"

The morning after last night's Spectator parliamentarian of the year awards, Ms Eagle had an idea for a future award winner: "Do you think we should nominate Mr Roddick the not-so-independent police and crime commissioner for politician of the year because he's the only Liberal Democrat to have found an election-winning strategy?"

The Leader of the Commons, Andrew Lansley, has strong family links to North Wales: "As it happened, my wife met him [Winston Roddick] at Menai Bridge during the fair. He came up to her and said: 'Do you know anything about the police and crime commissioner elections?'

"She said: 'As it happens, I do.' But curiously, because I've checked with her, Mr Winston Roddick didn't disclose any party affiliation whatsoever. So there we have it."

Labour's Kevin Brennan later returned to the issue: "There's evidence that this has been happening in positions even of higher status than that of police and crime commissioner, namely the deputy prime minister, where we've got a Tory pretending to be a Liberal Democrat."

Mr Lansley said he couldn't speak from personal experience of Mr Roddick but thanks to his wife he did have "some knowledge of this matter".

Mr Roddick said on twitter: "I have made no attempt to hide party membership during the campaign. I stood as independent, and will serve as an independent."

 
David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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