Lib Dems could gain seats at the next election

The Liberal Democrats could build on their Eastleigh by-election win and gain up to 30 seats from the Conservatives at the general election, the Party President has suggested.

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem President, said the result in Eastleigh shows that the Conservatives are "a lot weaker" in many key seats than had been realised.

The Liberal Democrats won the Eastleigh constituency in the recent Parliamentary by-election while the Conservatives were beaten into third place.

Mr Farron told Sky News that the result showed the Lib Dems can hope to win seats from the Conservatives at the next general election.

He said: "What this by-election tells you is not necessarily the overall picture of British politics, but it does tell you an awful lot about seats like this: in other worlds, the other 56 seats we hold and the perhaps 20 or 30 Conservative-Liberal Democrat marginals after that."

He added: "Liberal Democrats have got strength on the ground, good councils, good organisations and not just win but win well and gain seats. It shows you the Conservative position is a lot weaker in Conservative-Liberal Democrat marginals."

Mr Farron told the BBC: "It's a massive morale boost for Liberal Democrats up and down the country, lots of people had written us off and they were absolutely wrong."