Lib Dems papering over the cracks as they field 45 candidates

I am delighted by the news that the Lib Dems are fielding 45 candidates in the elections in Brighton and Hove, and not just the eight currently listed on their website. But it is the first time in many years that the Lib Dems have been unable to field a full slate of candidates, paper or real.

The fact that they are fielding so many candidates is great news for both Labour and the Greens. Lib Dem supporters who are angry at Nick Clegg’s betrayal will already have made up their minds to vote for either Labour or the Greens, but which of these parties will receive the largest share is anyone’s guess. I suspect it will be the Greens.

Those who have not already decided to go with Labour or the Greens would probably vote for the Tories if there was no Lib Dem candidate. Other than Green/Labour marginals (Queens Park, Hollingdean and Stanmer, Goldsmid and, at a push, Hanover and Elm Grove and St Peters and North Laine), the Tories would have benefited in most wardshad the Lib Dems not run.

In Goldsmid, in particular, the absence of a Lib Dem would have brought the Tories into the reckoning.

Paul Elgood, who is Leader of the Lib Dem Group on the City Council, as well as its Chief Whip, Deputy Leader and entire group of Councillors (for he is a group of one) said earlier today on Twitter: “Really pleased with our list of 45 city candidates – we’ve put our resources where they’ll make a difference – good luck all.”

But hard as I’ve looked I haven’t been able to find the list of Lib Dem candidates. It does look, after all, that the Lib Dems are able to field mere paper candidates in most wards.