CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Lib Dems insist they can form the ‘main opposition’ in Camden

Manifesto is 'stunning document' says long-serving councillor at launch

19 April, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Liberal Democrats at the launch of their manifesto in West Hampstead

LIBERAL Democrats believe they can pip the Tories and become the main opposition to Labour in the Town Hall after the May 3 elections.

Camden members of the party gathered at St James’ Church, in Sherriff Road, West Hampstead, for the launch of their manifesto. The 38-page set of promises includes paying for 20 new police and community support officers, a “team” of dementia care nurses, building 700 “zero-carbon social and affordable homes”, reducing pollution in Camden and scrapping Labour’s garden waste collection charges.

Flick Rea, one of only two Lib Dem councillors at the Town Hall, said the manifesto was “a stunning document”, adding: “We won’t, sadly, get enough seats to tip the Labour Party out this time around. But we might stop the Conservatives being the main opposition in Camden. “I want to see the Lib Democrats running Camden again in my lifetime.”

She told supporters: “In all your efforts, not one vote is a wasted vote. It’s a vote for things that are right and things that are true.”

As the New Journal reported last month, the party hopes to attract voters who want to “send a message” to Conservatives and Labour over Brexit, with its policy of calling for a second referendum. Tuesday’s event heard about the challenges Lib Dems have with fundraising, compared to the two main political parties.

Dinish Dhamija, deputy treasurer of the Lib Dems nationally, said: “The Tories are supported by big business. Labour is supported by the unions. We are supported by small businesses and the middle classes. The small businesses are easily converted by the Tories – which just leaves us the middle classes.”

Lib Dems at the event claimed a surge in “exciting new members” had followed the national party’s firm “exit from Brexit” stance.

James King, a former councillor for Kilburn, spoke about his plans to improve dementia care services and mental health, while Stephen Crosher, who is standing in Gospel Oak, called for more empty buildings to be used to shelter the homeless.

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