The chaotic saga of the Lib Dem preparation for the 2015 election took another turn last night, with the selection of a candidate for Taunton Deane. Rachel Gilmour, from Bampton in Devon won the contest. Left licking her wounds was local contender Justine Baker – who now has some explaining to do to voters in Bridgwater and West Somerset.
Baker, a Taunton councillor, was selected for the Bridgwater seat in October last year. She said at the time:
“I wanted to be the candidate for this beautiful part of Somerset as it’s an area I care about deeply.” But then something better came up.
When the Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne announced he wold not be standing again in Taunton, Baker saw the opportunity of a winnable seat – something Bridgwater and West Somerset will never be for the Lib Dems. She was one of five contenders at a meeting of Lib Dem members last night. But she was rejected by what the Lib Dems say was a “clear majority.”
Labour is the dominant opposition in Bridgwater
What could have been a good career move has backfired. Baker now has the task of reviving her faltering challenge in Bridgwater and West Somerset, when voters know she would rather be somewhere else.
She had already failed to make any impact in area where Labour is the dominant opposition party. Now, she will struggle even harder when she tries to persuade people she cares deeply about a constituency she did her best to get out of.