'Only we are truly fighting against Theresa May's hard Brexit' - Newly named Liberal Democrat candidate for Stevenage vows to hold government to account over Europe
PUBLISHED: 12:59 08 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:00 09 May 2017
The Liberal Democrats have selected university lecturer and businesswoman Dr Barbara Gibson as their candidate to fight the Stevenage seat in the General Election on June 8.
Dr Gibson is a political outsider who believes the UK needs a stronger opposition party who will help to soften the Prime Minister’s ‘hard Brexit’ strategy.
In a surprise upset in last week’s local elections, she unseated the Conservative incumbent to become Hertfordshire county councillor for the Haldens division in Welwyn Hatfield.
Dr Gibson said: “41 per cent of Stevenage constituency residents voted Remain in the EU and many more oppose the reckless decision of this far-right Conservative Government to pursue a ‘hard Brexit’.
“Only the Lib Dems here in Stevenage, Knebworth, Codicote, Datchworth and Aston are truly fighting her plans and fought to Remain.”
She added: “The Labour Party is in an absolute mess, fighting amongst themselves rather than acting as the effective opposition this country so desperately needs.
“I will be campaigning and making the case that for anyone who wants to avoid a disastrous ‘hard Brexit’ for Stevenage and for local jobs, the only party to vote for is the Liberal Democrats.”
The announcement comes after Lib Dem county councillor Robin Parker held his seat in the Chells division of the town in the county council elections on Thursday, polling more than any other Stevenage candidate in the six available Stevenage seats. On the same day the Conservatives won three of the remaining five seats from Labour.
Mr Parker – who is also the Lib Dem group leader on Stevenage Borough Council – told the Comet:
“I wish Dr Gibson well and particularly support the Lib Dem’s commitment to properly funding the NHS and adult social care and the fact we’ve said where the money is going to come from with our 1p increase in tax.
“I’m very pleased about winning again in Chells. Once again the vote reflects the work myself and my colleagues do, not just on election day, but all year round.
“I’ve been doing this for 35 years so people recognise my name, a lot of them know me and I feel a personal responsibility to them to get things done.
“I’m very pleased to have got more votes than any other candidate for any other party in Stevenage.”
Mr Parker said he was not surprised the Conservatives gained ground in the county elections as he said Stevenage tends to follow the national trend.
He added: “The election is being held only for the benefit of the Conservative Party. The point is the health service is underfunded, there are queues in A&E, a lack of cancer drugs and long doctors’ waiting times.
“Local authorities are being cut to the bone and they are reintroducing more grammar schools.
“People should vote Lib Dem because there’s a great need for a strong opposition to hold the Conservatives to account. It’s not just about Brexit, it’s about having a greater number of opposition MPs to challenge teh Conservatives.”