Jo Swinson defends putting forward Lib Dem candidate in Canterbury
Published: 09:07, 06 November 2019
Updated: 11:14, 06 November 2019
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has defended her party's decision to stand a candidate in Canterbury, saying voters deserve to be able to vote for someone who was committed to revoking Brexit.
There has been criticism of the party's decision from some of its own supporters who say that contesting the marginal seat which is held by Rosie Duffield risks allowing the Conservative Party to regain it.
Journalist Tim Walker was announced as the party candidate for the seat last week.
Asked at the launch of the party's campaign why the decision had been made, given that Rosie Duffield is in favour of a people's vote and a ‘remain’ supporter, she said: “We are very serious about stopping Brexit and there are a lot of people in the Labour Party who have realised that Labour is not serious about stopping Brexit and have joined the Liberal Democrats.”
“Rosie Duffield is absolutely great, she is wonderful and she would be welcome to join the Liberal Democrats and be a Liberal Democrat MP because we do share many values.
"But she is still in the Labour Party and people who are in the Labour Party and standing on a manifesto which is about putting Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10 - that is not what we can support.
"We have a duty to give people the opportunity to vote for candidates who are standing for parties who are unambiguously about stopping Brexit.”
There has been criticism of the decision of the party to contest the seat, which Labour unexpectedly won in 2017.
The Conservative Party is targeting the seat heavily and believes it can regain it.
Meanwhile the official campaign period starts today with Boris Johnson heading to see the Queen to seek the dissolution of Parliament.
That will signal the start of a five week campaign in which Brexit is likely to take centre stage.
The parties have until November 12 to nominate candidates.
More by this authorPaul Francis