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banner Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Redhead wins Big Brother
Sandra Gidley
The Romsey by-election was easy by comparison
Sandra Gidley has won the 'Big Brother' game at the Liberal Democrat conference.

Ms Gidley fought off tough competition from Jackie Ballard and Ronnie Fearn to emerge victorious in last night's final voting round.


[I won] because I've got red hair and make a nice matching pair with Charles Kennedy

Sandra Gidley
In a battle that threatened to put even her Romsey by-election victory in the shade, Ms Gidley defeated Jackie Ballard by just seven votes.

In a surprise move the winner was decided by a single transferable vote. Lib Dems had been expected to use a first past the post system, but stuck to their electoral-reforming principles for the last round.

The spoof version of the Big Brother TV programme has been running throughout the conference, with regular updates making headlines in the conference newspaper.

Turnout low

Colin Breed, Lembit Opik and Donald Gorrie were the first three MPs to be thrown out of the Big Brother house.

They were followed on Wednesday by 'Nasty' Nick Harvey, after the Lib Dem health spokesman was thrown out for using underhand tactics.

But the turnout for last night's final round of voting didn't quite match the sky-high figures of the TV original, with only 104 conference delegates bothering to vote.

Lembit Opik was still smarting from his early exit on Thursday morning. In a reference to his views about protecting the earth from asteroid strikes, he said "I still don't think it's fair that I got booted out - especially after I saved the world on Monday."

Sandra Gidley was delighted with her win, but was a little worried that she had been compared to guitar-playing ex-nun Anna, one of the contestants on the real Big Brother.

Victory in the Liberal Democrat version has not proved lucrative, with Gidley winning nothing at all. Had she scooped the 70,000 that went to the winner of the real game show, she said, she'd have given it to Romsey Hospital appeal.

Asked why she thought she'd won, Gidley said it was probably "because I've got red hair and make a nice matching pair with Charles Kennedy."

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See also:

20 Sep 00 | Liberal Democrats
Big Brother - 'Nasty Nick' out
18 Sep 00 | Liberal Democrats
Big Brother in Bournemouth
Links to more Liberal Democrats stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more Liberal Democrats stories