Sandra Gidley seizes the Hampsire seat of Romsey from the Conservatives

The win for the Liberal Democrats represented the only by-election gain for any party during the 1997-2001 parliament. Following a hardline Conservative campaign focused on asylum and law and order, new Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy ascribed the party’s success and its 21% vote increase, to ‘a victory of the politics of hope over the politics of fear’.