Following the result last Friday, LDCF Director, Claire Mathys, offered these thoughts to LDCF members and supporters:
"Last week’s election results were a very disappointing day for us as a party, and I know many of you are still feeling shocked and upset about what has happened. There are a few things I’d like to say as we rest, reflect, and gather ourselves.
Firstly, thank you. Many of you put in hours and hours of time working and campaigning for the election. At least 30 of you stood as Parliamentary candidates. You got involved because you care about how people are treated in our society and you want to make a difference – to seek justice, to give a voice to the voiceless, and to protect creation. Thank you for doing what Christians in Politics has been encouraging Christians across the UK to do in the Show Up campaign – participating and engaging with politics, and not just commentating or complaining from the sidelines. Because that is what we are called to do, as we seek God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Secondly, I would like to pay tribute to some extraordinary people who have either stepped down or lost their seat at this election and have been outstanding Parliamentarians. Simon Hughes has served the people of Bermondsey for 32 years and more recently as Justice Minister. Steve Webb has been a hugely popular MP since 1997 and has done a remarkable job as Pensions Minister for the whole of the Coalition period. Duncan Hames has made a big impact in his five years in Parliament, including serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nick Clegg. Sarah Teather has been a politician of conviction for over ten years and should take much credit for the ending of child detention and for speaking up on immigration and welfare. Sir Alan Beith has retired after a life of politics and will be missed, not least for his commitment to justice issues and constitutional reform. Sir Andrew Stunell has represented Hazel Grove for many years and served as Local Government Minister for two years of the Coalition.
These individuals have served us greatly in Parliament, and have been committed supporters of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum for many years, for which we are all hugely grateful. We will of course miss all the other Liberal Democrat MPs who have done a fantastic job of upholding the values of our party in Parliament.
We also celebrate the successes of those who did get elected. Four of the authors of our book ‘Liberal Democrats Do God’ were re-elected – Mark Williams, Greg Mulholland, John Pugh and Tim Farron. We’ve also got several Councillors re-elected, including LDCF Executive member Jackie Beckford and long-standing member, Jon Hunt.
Finally, while there will be plenty of time for reflection on what went wrong for us - and we will be asking for your views – let us keep politics and elections in perspective by remembering who it is that we serve and who has true power, strength and love. These verses from Isaiah 40:28-31 may help:
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
I hope you will all be able to rest and recoup this week, and gather the strength to carry on fighting for what you believe in. We have much more work to do, and we need to keep going together."