The unfortunate defeats of Dr Evan Harris and Joanne Cash leave the cause of libel reform with no clear champion in the new House of Commons.
There are supporters - yes - but there is now no obvious parliamentarian to take the lead.
And the cause of libel reform is hindered more generally by the relatively small number of returned Liberal Democrat MPs.
This is a set-back.
(The loss of Dr Evan Harris is also a blow across a range of secularist, evidence-based, and rationalist issues; and all skeptics should be seeking to help him back into the House of Commons at the very earliest opportunity.)
In some ways, this is like the morning after Simon Singh's defeat at the preliminary hearing at the High Court.
However, all is not lost.
We have had set-backs before; but we have rallied, and we have prevailed.
The Ministry of Justice is engaged, and it may still publish a draft Bill and secure crucial parliamentary time.
Also the main three political parties did include libel reform in their manifestos.
And we have public support, and a well-organised campaign at www.libelreform.org.
But the first session of this new hung parliament will be busy and perhaps erratic.
The parliament may not even last long.
As in 1974, there could well be a second general election within a year.
In either case, a libel reform Bill could get overlooked.
So, without Dr Evan Harris or Joanne Cash inside the Commons, it is now more important than ever for constituents outside the Commons to keep the pressure on MPs - and indeed on all candidates should there be this second general election.
And, who knows, a new parliamentary champion may even come to the fore.
New MPs may be especially receptive to their first experiences of lobbying and to letters addressed to them with MP after their name.
(You can write to them as [Name] MP, House of Commons, London S1A 0AA - yours may be amongst the first letters they open on their first day - and go and visit them at their first surgeries.)
Although the general election result is a set-back, most of the pre-conditions of libel reform are still in place: (a) departmental engagement, (b) express support of political parties, and (c) public clamour.
What we have lost is the dynamic force which would have been provided by a couple of active MPs and a large Liberal Democrat return.
But that loss can, to an extent, be made good by constituent pressure - whether there is a second general election or an ongoing hung parliament.
The need for libel reform remains urgent.
Things are simply not being published when it would be in the public interest for them to be published, just because of the awful state of English libel law and the threat of libel litigation even if a defence is available.
It is sad - one hopes temporaily - to lose Dr Evan Harris, and to not gain Joanne Cash.
However, we can help fill this breach.
Libel reform is now a little more difficult; but it certainly remains possible.
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