5 April 2005


The defection to the Liberal Democrats of Stephen Wilkinson, hitherto Labour candidate for Ribble Valley, has been milked for all it is worth by Charles Kennedy and his chums, and you can't blame them for that.

But is it really that significant? Though the Lib Dems won it once in a by-election, Ribble Valley is now one of the safest Tory seats in the country, and Labour hasn't the faintest chance of winning. Here's how it voted in 2001:

Nigel Evans (Conservative) 25,308 (51.5%)
Mike Carr (Lib Dem) 14,070 (28.6%)
Marcus Johnstone (Labour) 9,793 (19.9%)

So Wilkinson's defection is that of a complete no-hoper. Did it really deserve the prominence it got on the Today programme?

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