The Liberal Democrats' class of 2022: who they are and what they think

The next crop of Liberal Democrat MPs want the party to talk about more than Brexit, and are divided over whether to go into coalition.

Thanks to Brexit and low voter approval ratings for Corbyn and May, the Liberal Democrats think there is a clear space opening up for them in politics. They hope to capitalise on it at the next general election.

There are 20 constituencies where the party needs fewer than 10,000 votes to win, and it has selected candidates in 15 of them so far. Of the 20 target seats, 14 are held by the Tories, three by the SNP, two by Labour, and one by Plaid Cymru. Most of them voted to Remain, but some narrowly backed Leave, including several in South West England where the party has traditionally fared well.

Professionally, they’re like current Liberal Democrat MPs

Several candidates have backgrounds in international affairs and development, while others have worked in journalism, teaching and law. Three are former MPs who lost their seats.

Kirsten Johnson, a pianist who is contesting North Devon, said she entered politics to push for more money for mental health services and reduce the gap between rich and poor. “The Liberal Democrats stand for equality across all sections of society, whether economic, gender or any other equality. I think we need to have more people from all walks of life.”

Daisy Cooper, who has a background in international affairs and is standing in St Albans, described herself as the anti-Brexit, pro-People’s Vote candidate. “I’m internationalist, pro-business, pro-environment – increasingly these are the values that will guide the future of the country.”

They want to be more than the anti-Brexit party

Several candidates said they were concerned about being typecast as the anti-Brexit party, a brand that failed to win them many new votes in the 2017 snap election.

“We’re not harvesting a great return from the Brexit crisis in the way that I think logically we should,” one candidate in a Tory-held seat said. “There are so many other things that we need to be getting across. We have a stock line which to the media is very boring: exit from Brexit, things can only be resolved by putting the matter to a People’s Vote… we’ve said it enough times, I don’t think we need to keep on saying it.”

“You can’t be anti Brexit forever,” another added. “If it was …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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The Liberal Democrats’ class of 2022: who they are and what they think

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