NOW that we are into the traditional period of post-election finger-pointing, I would just like to give my perspective as one of the candidates in Bournemouth East.

I have heard many people say what a "terrible" night it was for my party, the Liberal Democrats but I beg to differ.

It was indeed a terrible night for the United Kingdom. It was a night that marks the start of the countdown to a Scottish Independence referendum. With the SNP now dominant, it is pretty much inevitable that Independence will happen, ending the union that has lasted since 1707. In this event, the Union Flag so often waved by "patriots" will no longer be the flag of our nation.

On the other side of the Irish Sea, demands will grow louder from Ulster as Northern Ireland seeks to secure its place in the European Union, something for which it voted overwhelmingly in the 2016 referendum. This is something made more likely by the creation of Boris Johnson's new border down the Irish Sea.

There is a very real prospect that within the foreseeable future the United Kingdom may only exist as a remnant union between England and Wales.

It was also a terrible night for the Labour Party, The party had tried to return itself to 1970s-style, "big state" socialism with a manifesto or Christmas wish-list of pledges worthy of Michael Foot. The voters of this country treated that manifesto with the respect it deserved. Seats that have been Labour for generations fell like dominos, but it gave me no pleasure at all to see so many turning blue.

So, what of my party?

In every region of the country, the Liberal Democrat vote increased significantly after the awful results of 2015 and 2017. Nearly 1.3million additional voters backed Liberal Democrat candidates in England, Wales and Scotland.

Here in Bournemouth, both parliamentary constituencies saw an increase in the Liberal Democrat vote share (while both Labour and Tory vote share decreased) and, while it was disappointing to see Jo Swinson lose her seat, our parliamentary representation remains more or less the same. Perhaps one day, when we have a sensible electoral system, voters will see a House of Commons that truly reflects their views and 11.6 per cent of the vote will be reflected in 11.6 per cent of the seats.

Looking to the future, having experienced at first hand the impact of continued and deepening Tory spending cuts since 2015, I genuinely fear for our public services under Boris Johnson's new regime. Nonetheless, Liberal Democrats local can hold their heads up in the knowledge that we fought this election to defend public services and defend the United Kingdom. We made our case and, as our increasing vote share proves, the voters are starting to listen once more.

Politics is a "long game" and there will be hard times ahead for all of us, but when the time comes to fight these seats again Liberal Democrats will be ready and we will be stronger.


Spurgeon Road, Bournemouth