#Article (Archive)

UK coalition suffer another defeat

Mar 7, 2011, 11:53 AM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye - The Point's UK Correspondent

The Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in the current UK coalition, faced another bitter defeat in the Barnsley Central by-election prompting several observers opining that the party needed to thoroughly explain its 'own agenda' to the public, and not to 'support any more cuts' by the current government.

Interestingly, the Liberals are part of the coalition and can't distance themselves from it. But winning could have been a positive boost for the government.

Barnsley Central with thousands of migrants from various parts of the world, including a large number of West Africans, has a thriving local council with great services.

Such benefits include immigration and humanitarian support, which is very helpful to such immigrants, especially new-comers living in the area. Thus the outcome of the election was very useful to such people. 

It is important to note that the by-election, second of its kind in just few months, took place when the seat was vacated by the resignation of their former Member of Parliament called Eric Illsley. He was a member of the opposition Labour Party.

The former MP, who was forced out of office due to immense pressure both from the press and tax-payers, was later convicted and jailed last month for 'expenses fraud'. Even though he vehemently denied the allegations and his supporters blaming part of it 'a difficult system to understand', voters were having none of it.

Also, in the current economic troubles, combined with a vibrant and fearless press, such arguments were declared void. Matters became even more difficult for the former MP when the courts ruled against him.  He was henceforth rejected by his own party.

However, Labour was able to regain the seat with another resounding by-election victory. Its candidate Dan Jarvis won with 61 percent of the votes.

Unfortunately for the Liberals, their candidate lost his deposit and came in sixth behind smaller parties such as Ukip and the BNP - an 'anti immigrant' party.

Experts are saying that the Liberals were ‘humiliated’ and it was high time 'they put their act together', as soon as possible. Commenting on his victory, the winning candidate Dan Jarvis said it sent a 'message to the coalition'.

However, the Liberals are not budging and their party leader, Nick Clegg, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said that 'people should not write off the party'.

But the Liberals' candidate, Dominic Carman, admitted that 'the voters here in Barnsley have given me and the Liberal Democrats a kicking'.

He quickly added, 'but we can take it'.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband described the by-election outcome as 'a fantastic result and another step on the road to regaining the trust of the British people'.

Despite the current debate mostly based on the current cuts, some political pundit are sympathetic with the Liberals noting that 'some of the cuts are necessary' citing the ‘difficult economic crisis' faced by the country.