The Lib Dems have lost eight deposits in parliamentary by-elections since 2010. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Lib Dems beaten by Bus Pass Elvis Party in council by-election

The party is pushed into last place by a candidate whose policies include the legalisation of brothels with a 30 per cent reduction for OAPs.

It would be remiss to let today pass without noting the highlight from last night's council by-elections. In Clifton North, Lib Dem candidate Tony Marshall was beaten into last place by David Laurence Bishop of the Bus Pass Elvis Party (Marshall received 56 votes to Bishop's 67). The party's policies include the legalisation of brothels with a 30 per cent reduction for OAPs.

Bishop told the Nottingham Post that he was now "confident" of beating the Lib Dems in the general election. He said: "I will either stand in Broxtowe or Skegness and I'm more confident of beating the Liberal Democrats than I was two days ago. It's not the best news for the Liberal Democrats. But perhaps people actually liked my policies of legalising brothels with a 30 per cent reduction for OAPs and holding an enquiry into the cost of vets fees."

The Lib Dems, who have lost their deposit eight times in parliamentary by-elections since 2010, have previously been beaten by Professor Pongoo, a climate change activist who visits schools dressed as a penguin. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.