Ukip back out of Westminster North election race and pledge support for Tory candidate
‘Little difference between Theresa May & Nigel Farage’, says Liberal Democrat
19 May, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya
Labour candidate Karen Buck was joined on the campaign trail at the weekend by Chuka Ummuna, Emily Thornberry and David Lammy
The UK Independence Party is not fielding a candidate in Westminster North – in a move the party hopes could tip the scales in favour of Tories.
Ukip says it is making a tactical move in the hope former voters will back the Conservative Lindsey Hall over Labour’s Karen Buck, who is strongly opposed to Brexit.
Ms Buck won the 2015 election with a majority of 1,977 with Ukip’s Nigel Sussman polling 1,489.
Ukip regional chairman Freddy Vachha told the Extra: “Ukip didn’t field a candidate in Westminster North because Karen Buck, the incumbent, is a ‘Remainiac’ who, given a choice, would leave us entrapped in the unaccountable, anti-democratic EU. Ukip believes that the chances of removing this obstacle to our democracy is bettered by us not standing and splitting the vote.”
On the EU, Ms Buck has said: “I’m willing to fight this election on the question of Europe and the crucial importance of not allowing what happens next to be waved through parliament by an anti-European Conservative party.
Here in Westminster North, electors voted to ‘Remain’ by a margin of more than two to one. Since then local people have never stopped expressing their concerns to me. Sadly there has also been a rise in hate crime and intolerance since last year – totally out of keeping with our values as an open, safe and diverse city, and that is something we can unite against and declare wholly unacceptable.”
On Saturday in Queen’s Park, she was joined by Labour big-hitters Emily Thornberry, David Lammy and Chuka Ummuna on the campaign trail, canvassing for votes in what is the 22nd most marginal seat in the country.
Tory Ms Hall said: “I am not sure this will help me, but given that the country voted to Leave in the referendum – and I can’t change that – we now need to get on and deliver the best deal for the country and our area. “As you know I voted Remain but fully accept the outcome and the need to pull together behind a strong leader. That doesn’t exactly make me a Brexiteer…”
Conservative candidate for Westminster North, Lindsey Hall
She added: “If the Greens or the Lib Dems were to drop out and form a coalition of the left, that would pose a problem for me; but on the other hand they are rather more centre-left parties, why on earth would they want to ally themselves with a Marxist, Jeremy Corbyn?”
Lib Dem candidate Alex Harding said: “It’s unsurprising that Ukip haven’t put forward a candidate for Westminster North, considering that their ideas have been fully absorbed by the Conservative Party.
“There is now very little difference between Theresa May and Nigel Farage, hence why we have no need for the latter.”
Green party, Independent and Liberal Democrat candidates in Westminster North
Emmanuelle Tandy: Green Party
Emmanuelle Tandy is a solicitor who works out of Marylebone and was previously a director for the education charity behind the Electric Barge and Floating Classroom near Little Venice. Also a founding member of St John’s Wood Neighbourhood Forum, she said that her priorities include tackling pollution, youth funding and social care.
Abby Dharamsey: Independent
Abby Dharamsey wants to increase funding for education and health nationally while getting CCTV installed on estates across the constituency, and increasing police presence. An active member of the South East Bayswater Residents’ Association and the Westbourne Neighbourhood Forum, he says he wants to represent a “multicultural pluralistic community”.In his professional life he has worked in accountancy and charity roles.
Alex Harding: Liberal Democrats
Involved with the Lib Dems from the age of 15, Mr Harding decided to run for MP following the EU referendum. He is keen to offer people another chance to decide on the terms of Brexit and give them the option to “Remain”. Reducing air pollutionand building more affordable homes are among his top priorities. Mr Harding works for a foreign policy think-tank in central London.