St Albans politicians on war footing for snap election

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:34 24 April 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street, London, announcing a snap general election on June 8. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street, London, announcing a snap general election on June 8. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

St Albans’ politicians have been on a war footing since the Prime Minister announced a snap June election.

Labour, the Greens, and UKIP are quickly selecting candidates, while the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats already have nominees ready.

The presumptive Conservative candidate, Anne Main MP, said: “My role as the local Member of Parliament is to keep giving St Albans a strong voice.

“Over the last 12 years I have worked hard to ensure we keep good NHS services in St Albans, and have continued to fight the rail freight site.

“I have tackled environmental concerns, raised the issue of unaffordable housing and the lack of a district plan.

“I have spoken up for local businesses, press freedom, and hard-pressed commuters to ensure their voice has been heard at the highest level.”

The only confirmed candidate is the Lib Dems’ Daisy Cooper, who recently won the backing of the St Albans for Europe group.

She said: “I will be campaigning full-time from today until June 8 and making the case that anyone who wants to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit, keep Britain in the single market, the only party to vote for is the Liberal Democrats.

“63 per cent of St Albans voted to ‘Remain’, and many more oppose the reckless decision of this hard-right Conservative government to pursue a ‘hard Brexit’.”

The Liberal Democrats came third in the 2015 General Election, winning 10,076 votes, 18.5 per cent of all votes cast.

The St Albans Labour Party, who came second in 2015, have said they have already begun canvassing for the election.

Their leader, Cllr Roma Mills, said: “St Albans Labour Party welcomes the chance to oust an MP who has let down St Albans, and a government who has let down the country by pursuing an approach to Brexit that will damage St Albans and the country, that have failed to address a crisis in our local NHS and care services, and a growing crisis in school funding.”

UKIP will have to pick a new candidate, after their choice in 2015, Chris Wright, revealed he would not be standing again.

He said: “I hope UKIP do well and they can continue to keep the Brexit fires burning.

“I think this is essential for the country, and it will be interesting to see how Theresa May and her party campaign.”

Mr Wright, a former lieutenant colonel, was selected to fight in 2015 after only having been in the party for two years.

He said: “It is going to be very interesting to see how this country responds to a Brexit-style election, rather than a referendum.”

UKIP came fourth in the last election, winning 4,271 votes, 7.8 per cent of all votes cast.

The Green Party candidate at the last election, Jack Easton, hinted at a possible pact between his party and others.

He said: “It is something we have to address as to what is in the best interests of the country.”

However, he added he does not want to “deny our natural supporters the right to express their feelings”.

He said the Green Party can offer something different to the constituency, and would be campaigning on the NHS, the voting system, the environment, and Europe.

Mr Easton said: “We are very conscious that half the country would rather be in the EU, and half would rather be out, so we have to unify, giving everyone their say, rather than just the 52 per cent who voted to leave.”

Elsewhere in the area, Radlett’s MP, Oliver Dowden, has said he will be running again.

He won with an 18,000-vote majority in the Hertsmere constituency in 2015.

He said: “I have tried to be a strong voice for the people that elected me, locally and nationally.

“There is much more to do, both to improve people’s quality of life and to address Britain’s future.”

The Herts Advertiser has not been able to confirm any candidates for the Harpenden and Hitchin constituency, currently held by Tory Peter Lilley.

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