THE Liberal Democrats’ share of the vote in Banbury was decimated yesterday, as Labour saw a resurgence in support.
At the election in 2010 the Lib Dems won 20.4 per cent of the vote, more than Labour’s 19.2 per cent.
But this year’s result saw the party slip into fourth place (5.9 per cent) – behind both Labour (21.2 per cent) and the UK Independence Party (13.8 per cent) – as activists admitted their efforts had been focused elsewhere.
Labour candidate Sean Woodcock managed to increase the Labour vote to 12,354, up by 15 per cent on 2010.
Lib Dem parliamentary candidate John Howson said: “We don’t have the funds that Labour and the Conservatives have, so we needed to try to use that for Oxford West and Abingdon. That was the one we wanted to win back.”
But even there the party suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Conservative Nicola Blackwood, who increased her majority from fewer than 200 votes to more than 9,500.
Mr Howson added: “There are a lot of changes coming to Banbury – particularly with how much housing is going to be built – so it is not a seat we should write off in the future.”
Earlier during the count Labour candidate Sean Woodcock said his party was “already established as the main opposition” and his election agent, Terry Davis, said the party had faced little opposition from the Lib Dems.
Mr Davis, a former MP in Birmingham and Privy Council member, added: “In some ways I think the Lib Dems disappeared from this constituency.”