The independent London newspaper

Christmas election: Rivals warn Tulip Siddiq she has not got poll wrapped up

Labour MP asks Hampstead and Kilburn residents to judge her on record

31 October, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Tulip Siddiq won in Hampstead and Kilburn in 2015 and 2017

LABOUR MP Tulip Siddiq is to face a third general election in just four-and-a-half years, with rivals warning that she will not have it all her own way in Hampstead and Kilburn.

The constituency was once one of the most hotly contested seats in the country with a three-way race to the line ending in Labour holding it by just 42 votes in 2010. Since then, Ms Siddiq – a former Camden councillor – has extended her majority to beyond 15,000 votes.

The Liberal Democrats, however, insist residents and analysts should instead take this year’s European elections as a guide to how the latest ballot box battle will pan out.

In May, Jo Swinson’s party won in nearly every ward. Voters will be dragged back to the polling booths on December 12 after MPs voted for a Christmas general election on Tuesday.

The unusual time of year for a national vote means canvassing teams will have to go out doorknocking after dark in the run-up to the festive season, when carol singers are more often the visitors at the door. The election was prompted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he failed to meet his “do-or-die” deadline for leaving the EU.

He said he wanted a “revitalised” set of MPs to get the divorce deal done, ignor­ing calls for a second referendum on Europe alone.

Ms Siddiq said: “It is the greatest privilege to represent the area where I grew up. I am Hampstead and Kilburn’s voice in Westminster, not Westmin­ster’s voice in Hampstead and Kilburn. I would ask every voter in this election to judge me on my record. I opposed HS2, voted against cruel welfare cuts and have championed 22,000 EU nationals who call Hampstead and Kilburn their home.”

In 2015, candidates in the marginal seat faced more than 50 sets of hustings, a schedule unlikely to be repeated this time. “My record on opposing Brexit is clear,” said Ms Siddiq. “I lost my job as a shadow minister to vote against the trigger­ing of Article 50 and delayed the birth of my son to vote against the Prime Minister’s dreadful withdrawal agreement.”

Johnny Luk says the UK must leave the EU

Her challengers are Johnny Luk, the Conser­vative candidate who has backed Mr Johnson’s handling of Brexit, and Lib Dem Matt Sanders, a former Camden councillor and special adviser to Sir Nick Clegg. The “Bollocks To Brexit” message played well for the Lib Dems in Camden earlier this year, an area where around 75 per cent of residents wanted to remain. Like so many people in Hamp­stead and Kilburn, I will never forget how devastated I felt the day after the referendum result,” said Mr Sanders.

“It was a huge blow to all those of us who believe passionately that Britain should be an open, tolerant, outward-looking country. Liberal Demo­crats have led the fight against Brexit from day one. While Jeremy Corbyn has sat on the fence, we have repeatedly demanded a People’s Vote.”

Matt Sanders runs for the Lib Dems in Hampstead and Kilburn

He added: “With a mandate to stop Brexit, a majority Liberal Democrat government could end the political chaos and focus instead on vital issues like tackling the climate emergency and securing better investment for our schools, hospitals and other public services.”

Mr Luk said: “We are throwing the kitchen sink at Hampstead and Kilburn and we have a series of senior ministers and the PM backing our campaign for that One Nation Conservative moderate platform, leaving with a good deal and to move on to other priorities. Let’s get off the Brexit roundabout. Even our launch video had over 100,000 organic views and a thousand retweets.”

He added: “A second referendum can only come under a Corbyn led government, potentially propped up by the Lib Dems. That’s we are fighting so hard for this seat. It’s a binary choice between us or Labour and I don’t trust Labour’s plans on the economy.”

David Stansell will stand for the Greens in Hampstead and Kilburn. We will report any further candidates as they are announced.

Labour’s Keir Starmer starts with a 30,509 majority in Holborn and St Pancras. Lib Dem Matthew Kirk and the Green Party’s Kirsten de Keyser are his declared opponents so far.


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