The Liberal Democrats, a party many had seen as consigned to history after facing near annihilation at the 2015 General Election, appear to making true on their words of a political comeback after last night’s shock win of the Richmond Park by-election, triggered by the resignation of Zac Goldsmith over a third runway at Heathrow. Despite being over 20,000 votes behind at the last election in the constituency a hard fought campaign, which saw the party attacked by both pro-Brexit parties and the supposedly anti-Brexit Labour, saw them overturn the immense majority of Goldsmith and turn it into a comfortable majority of their own.
Despite the party being on the losing side of the Brexit result earlier this year it appears that the issue will ironically be what saves the party in the years to come as they’ve made their pro-EU stance the flagpole of their entire manifesto, unashamed of their stance on the Union, while others such as Labour have given up all view of fighting the issue. This could tap the party into a groundswell of support not seen since the post-Blair Labour years which saw the party pick up many of those who felt betrayed by decisions such as Iraq.
However while the result may show an upturn in fortunes for the beleaguered party it’s likely to make little difference when it comes to the carrying out of Brexit as while nominally the Conservative majority is now only 11 there are enough Eurosceptic groups within parliament to carry out with voting for Article 50 (the mechanism for leaving the EU) while others may abstain altogether.