In a positive mood, speaking at a street stall in Northbrook Street recently, Judith Bunting, Liberal Democrat candidate for Newbury constituency, said: “We must be clear with people about our stance in this election. We don’t rule out future coalitions – we believe in optimistic, plural politics – but we will not enter a coalition led by either May or Corbyn.”
Bunting continued: “We will work with pro-European MPs in any party to stand up to the Conservatives over hard Brexit, but Corbyn is not that. Corbyn is pro-Brexit, he wants to pull us out of the single market. He marched his MPs through the lobbies to vote for article 50 alongside Richard Benyon and the Brexit Conservatives.
Every Liberal Democrat vote and every Liberal Democrat MP elected is a challenge to Theresa May’s Brexit agenda. This election is your chance to change the direction of our country. If you want to stop a hard Brexit, if you want to keep us in the single market, if you want a real opposition, this is your chance.”
Lee Dillon, leader of the Liberal Democrats on West Berkshire Council said: “During the referendum this constituency was clear regarding Brexit. People here don’t want it. Labour should unite behind the Liberal Democrats in this election and back Judith Bunting to hold our Tory MP to account for going against the wishes of his constituents”.
I know many of you will have had a concern regarding the Liberal Democrats’ decision to enter into coalition in 2010 with the Conservatives. This wasn’t a decision which the party took lightly. It was, however, the only way to ensure that the county had a stable government at a time of economic crisis.
It looks, now, as if the economy is moving in the right direction. Unemployment is at an historic low, the economy is now one of the strongest in Europe and we are seeing sustained growth. Our leadership team, in the form of Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and Danny Alexander, have been at the heart of the reforms which have enabled this to happen.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable says: “[The Liberal Democrats] have launched the UK’s long term industrial strategy; established the British Business Bank and the Green Investment Bank; built up apprenticeships to record levels, promoted gender equality; strengthened the minimum wage; and brought in legislation to strengthen consumer rights and the promotion of small business.
As a party of government Lib Dems have been able to deliver on those policies you voted for in 2010. We have delivered the raising of the income tax threshold to put an extra £900 a year back into the pockets of those in work; we’ve delivered the biggest ever rise in state pensions of £800 a year and have secured that through our triple lock; we’ve delivered the pupil premium which gives an equal start to our most disadvantaged children.
Looking forward we recognise the need locally for more affordable housing, to speed up the introduction of new capacity on the railways to increase care for the elderly outside hospitals through bodies like Homelink.”