There was one certainty at the 2008 Crewe and Nantwich by-election, and that was that the Lib Dems were not going to better their usual third place. Yes, the seat has never been fertile territory for the party, but their candidate selection process did not help: there was a prospective candidate in place, but he was binned in favour of Elizabeth Shenton, who was pleasant, knowledgeable and approachable, but new to a whole constituency of activists.
So as the campaign started, the Lib Dems were having to dampen down pockets of unrest, rather than focus all their resources on getting elected. The Tories had apparently harboured doubts over Edward Timpson’s suitability, but Fat Eric sensibly kept his man in place. But, so what? Well, now we’re approaching yet another parliamentary election, and the Lib Dems have come up late once more.
As he’s the sitting MP, we know that Edward Timpson will represent the Tories. Also, soon after their loss in the by-election, Labour chose David Williams to fight next time for them, and he’s been working the constituency to some effect. But, as late as last autumn, there was no Lib Dem PPC.
But the decision had to be made, and now there is a Lib Dem PPC, although being third out of the blocks means, inevitably, that third is where they will end up. Like Labour, the Lib Dems have gone for someone new, and the name in the frame is Roy Wood.
A potentially Wizzard choice, no doubt.