Election 2017: Liberal Democrat Richard Clare to again stand in Ilford North
PUBLISHED: 10:03 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:18 20 April 2017
Ilford North constituents may well feel a sense of déjà vu this summer, with the three main election candidates reprising their campaigns of two years ago.
Incumbent MP Wes Streeting (Labour) will defend his seat in the forthcoming general election against former Conservative MP Lee Scott (if he gains his party’s nomination, as expected) and Liberal Democrat candidate Richard Clare, who has announced today that he will stand once more.
The Redbridge resident received 1,130 votes in 2015, while there were 589 votes separating Mr Streeting and Mr Scott’s respective counts of 21,463 and 20,874.
In a statement, Mr Clare said: “I’ve lived in Redbridge my whole life and I’m honoured to have been selected with so much support from the party and look forward to making the case for liberalism here where I grew up.”
The Lib Dems lost 49 seats in 2015 – holding on to only eight – but have been experiencing a resurgence of late, winning the Richmond Park by-election in December, and pitching themselves as the party for those opposed to a ‘hard Brexit’.
Speaking of the party’s record in government, Mr Clare argued: “When the Liberal Democrats left Government in 2015, we left the UK with a strong and growing economy, standing proud on the international stage.
“Look how things have changed in two years – we have a Tory government in thrall to its own far-right MPs, set on scrapping human rights, forcing investment out of Britain and shrugging its shoulders at the growing NHS crisis.
“They have a slender majority so a competent, united opposition could hold them to account, but they’ve been allowed to run rampant under Jeremy Corbyn’s feeble leadership.”
Mr Clare said the key themes of his campaign will be “halting hard Brexit”, protecting local NHS services, promoting mental health as a priority and “delivering more investment in schools”.
He added: “48 per cent of the country voted to remain in the European Union and many of the 52 per cent that voted to leave don’t want this right-wing hard Brexit where Britain gets dragged out of the single market, customs union and European Court of Human Rights.
“If enough of those people back me in Ilford North and other Liberal Democrats around the country, then we’ll win and we can show the world that Britain’s still open for business.”
The Recorder will be providing election news and analysis throughout the campaign, so look out for regular updates on the website and in the paper.