Sarah Yong stands down as PPC for Somerton and Frome

July 14, 2014 10:43 PM
By Stephen Tall in Lib Dem Voice

Sarah Yong at LibDem ConferenceIt's six months since Sarah Yong was selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Somerton and Frome, held by David Heath since 1997. Today she's announced her decision to stand down. Here's the letter she's sent to her local paper, announcing the news:

"Dear Editor,

I just wanted to let you know that it is with great regret that I've decided to stand down from my role as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Somerton and Frome. I have made this decision for personal reasons and as a result of changes in personal circumstances.

It's a decision I've not taken lightly, and it's one I take with a heavy heart. I would have loved to have followed in David Heath's footsteps as the MP for Somerton and Frome.

Feel free to quote any of this email in a news story you may wish to write.

With very best wishes,


In an email to LibDemVoice, Sarah added:

"I'm sure you'll all know how difficult a decision this has been for me. But sometimes things don't always work out in the way you planned.

I would like to thank everyone for their support over the past 6 months, and in particular David Heath with whom it has been a privilege to work and who is an outstanding public servant and MP for the people of Somerton and Frome.

It is difficult single out individuals for the kindness and support that they have shown me, but I would also like to thank Paddy Ashdown for his personal encouragement and the faith he has shown in me.

I wish the new PPC for Somerton and Frome well."

That goes for us as well - and in return may we wish Sarah the very best for whatever comes next. Being a candidate, especially for the Lib Dems, is a tough task - as my 2008 series, 'The PPC Files', made all too clear.

Somerton and Frome has remained a Lib Dem seat these past 17 years in large measure thanks to David Heath's unstinting dedication. Holding it will be a tough battle. Holding it with a candidate with just months to bed into the constituency before the next election tougher still. Good luck to the local party and whoever they select.

Lord Paddy Ashdown has commented on Sarah's decision:

"Sarah is a considerable political talent, and I'm sure we'll see her in Westminster in the future. She is a close personal friend and I'm sad she hasn't been able to stand on this occasion. I have no doubt, this isn't the last we've heard of her."

Merlene Emerson added the following comment on the LibDem Voice article:

"I and my colleagues at Chinese Liberal Democrats are truly sorry we could not have done more to support Sarah in her personal situation. We do however respect her decision and her privacy and would urge others not to probe further. This was clearly an extremely tough decision that would only have been reached as a matter of last resort.

We wish Sarah strength at this time and her local party all the best of luck in selecting someone else known locally who can succeed David Heath in May 2015. We share Paddy's faith in Sarah that she can and will make a come back and join other Liberal Democrats on the green benches one day!"