By-election supremo and past Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats, Chris Rennard visited my Campaign HQ in Manchester Withington to give his election seal of approval to the newly converted campaign offices on Gawsworth Avenue.
Former party Leader Charles Kennedy describes Chris as “a quite extraordinary figure in British politics”. He transformed the Liberal Democrats over the last 20 years and masterminded our many by-election victories including Brent East, where we overturned a 13,000 Labour majority and the major gains made at the 1997, 2001 and 2005 general elections.
At the tender age of 22, he became the most successful agent in the country when he worked for the Liverpool Mossley Hill constituency of David Alton (now Lord Alton of Liverpool) and helped to achieve a winning 14% swing against the Conservatives in 1983.
He is quite simply the by-election guru having achieved success in a number of constituencies including Eastbourne (1990), Kincardine & Deeside (1991), Newbury (1993), Christchurch (1993), Eastleigh (1994), Littleborough & Saddleworth (1995), Winchester (1997) and Romsey (2000).
He oversaw the party’s target seat campaign in 1997 which resulted in the party increasing its number of MPs from 18 to 46. With Tim Razzall as Campaign Chair, he directed the Liberal Democrats’ 2001 and 2005 General Election campaigns in which the number of MPs increased to 52 and 62.
It was a real honour to have Chris Rennard visit the campaign office in Didsbury and impart his invaluable knowledge into the campaign.
Chris commented how impressed he was with the organisation of the office and the real enthusiasm that was evident throughout having met many of our supporters and helpers.