CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Lib Dems say local elections must be used for Brexit message

Candidate claims local elections will be 'interpreted nationally as a commentary on the Brexit process'

26 April, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Matthew Kirk at the hustings on Tuesday evening

THE Liberal Democrats have made a new appeal for next week’s local elections to be used as a protest against Britain’s divorce from the European Union.

Matthew Kirk, a candidate in Gospel Oak, said: “I believe that, and I think in common with most people in Camden, we are not living in normal times. We are in catastrophic times. Catastrophic firstly because, if we must leave the European Union, it shouldn’t be the damaging, hard Brexit we are being led into by the Tories, closely followed and supported by Labour.”

He added: “More fundamentally, I believe, again in common with most people in Camden, our best future is remaining in Europe.” The election campaign period has been marked by disagreements between rival parties over whether voters should focus on local issues in Camden or allow themselves to be influenced by the wider debate over Brexit.

Mr Kirk, speaking on Tuesday evening at the hustings in Highgate ward, where he was standing in for three candidates unable to attend, said: “This is a very, very important election because this is the only significant electoral test there will be before the end of the negotiation process. It’s quite a unique time. The reality is that this election is going to be interpreted nationally as a commentary on the Brexit process. If you believe profoundly that our future should be in Europe and Remain, this is an election where you should signal that.”

He added: “If you want to send a message that will support those few, brave pro-European voices in the Tory party, then you should vote Liberal Democrat. And if you want a signal that will strengthen the hand of the vast majority of Labour membership and the vast majority of the Labour parliamentary party in their struggle to have a pro-European policy against their leadership, then once again the way to achieve that is a vote for the Liberal Democrats.”

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