Among the unsung heroes of any by-election are the members in and around the contested constituency. As well as helping with local knowledge, delivering, knocking on doors and all the usual stuff, they also provide accommodation to the countless hordes of by-election helpers who descend on the campaign.
As our opponents have noted, the Liberal Democrats are very lucky to have a large number of members who are willing to give up their time for free to help our campaign. Many of these people are with us for more than just a single day and we try to help them out by finding them somewhere to stay. Whilst the Tories are block booking the local hotels, our members are billeted around the local area with an array of members in their homes.
I remember my first taste of a by-election - in my home seat of Truro - where we had someone from, then Leader, David Steel's office staying in our house for the duration.
In Henley I have been lucky enough to stay with three members to date who have all been incredibly generous in giving up their spare beds (and cups of coffee) to a total stranger. I never even got to meet one of these people as I arrived late and left too early to bump into her.
Last night I was staying with a rather special couple. Mr and Mrs Clegg are the parents of Nick and live just on the borders of Henley constituency. It was a bit strange to see pictures on the wall of nine year Nick...