Hacked Off chief is fighting for Lib Dems in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 August 2016

Daisy Cooper

Daisy Cooper

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A seasoned parliamentary candidate has been chosen to fight the St Albans constituency for the Liberal Democrats at the next General Election.

St Albans Lib Dem candidate Sandy Walkington answers questions in the Herts Advertiser officesSt Albans Lib Dem candidate Sandy Walkington answers questions in the Herts Advertiser offices

The selection of Daisy Cooper, 34, at such an early stage in the parliamentary term is in case a snap General Election is held.

And she will be fighting strongly on the pre-EU ticket in a constituency which came out clearly opposed to Brexit at last month’s referendum.

Daisy, who is a local councillor in Lewes, East Sussex, and has fought parliamentary seats in both Suffolk Coastal and Mid Sussex, knows St Albans ‘reasonably well’ as she has had family members living in the constituency.

And should she be elected in a constituency where the Lib Dems have traditionally fought a strong campaign, she would move here.

She pointed out that the Lib Dems had a strong local government base in St Albans with the majority of county council seats in the district in the hands of the party, and former candidate Sandy Walkington having come close to winning the parliamentary seat in 2010, polling just over 2,000 fewer votes than the Conservative Anne Main.

Daisy admitted that the last election, which left only eight Lib Dem MPs in the country, was ‘clearly a challenge’ but the party was the only one that was unequivocably pre-EU, a position which had not received much commentary from a national press largely in favour of Brexit. “They had no interest in our views because they were pro-Remain,” she pointed out.

She said she would campaigning ‘first and foremost’ with people of all parties and none to keep the UK in the EU. She went on: “Residents are rightly outraged that whilst they voted 63 per cent for ‘Remain’, their MP not only actively campaigned for ‘Leave’ but has reportedly refused to meet with them since.”

Although she does not live in St Albans, she said she had a strong track record of fighting to save green spaces and was a daily commuter so she knew ‘just how insufferable Thameslink has become’.

Daisy worked in international affairs for 10 years, campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU. She is currently joint executive director of Hacked Off, a not for profit organisation which campaigns for a free and accountable press.

It was set up in 2011 and has become known for high-profile supporters such as the actor Hugh Grant and comedian Steve Coogan. But she stressed that it was mostly concerned with campaigning for ordinary people who had faced unnecessary press intrusion. She said: “I really enjoy it and it is really worthwhile.”

Hacked Off’s aim now is to establish an independent press regulator rather than the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) set up after the publication of the Leveson Report with the support of large newspaper groups and which the campaign believes is not sufficiently regulated.

Daisy has been endorsed locally by Cllr Chris White, both a county councillor and Lib Dem group leader on St Albans council, and former parliamentary candidate Sandy Walkington, also a county councillor.

Cllr White said that in his view she would be an excellent champion for St Albans in Parliament, adding: “With Labour in disarray, the Conservatives could trigger a General Election at any time. Only Daisy and the Liberal Democrats offer a progressive alternative to Anne Main and the Tories.”

Cllr Walkington added: “The baton is passing to a new political generation. Daisy’s record as a campaigner speaks for itself. The residents of St Albans are fundamentally liberal in outlook which is why they voted so heavily to remain in the EU. She will be their champion.”

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