General Election 2019: Lib Dems defiant after Canterbury candidate Tim Walker stands down
The Liberal Democrats are understood to be planning to replace Canterbury candidate Tim Walker, who stood down last night to avoid splitting the Remain vote.
Walker announced that he was stepping aside to help Labour incumbent Rosie Duffield, who took the seat in 2017 with a majority of less than 200.
He said he wanted “no part” in allowing a Tory Brexiteer to win the seat, and shared the “visceral dread” felt by “many members of my party locally” that the Commons would be filled with people like his Conservative rival Anna Firth.
“I’d never have wanted it on my conscience I’d stopped you from continuing to represent Canterbury -and fighting so magnificently for the Remain cause,” he tweeted to Duffield last night.
Despite local campaigners reportedly backing the move, Lib Dem HQ is still planning to field an alternative before tomorrow’s 4pm deadline.
A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “We will be announcing a candidate in due course to contest the seat of Canterbury. The Liberal Democrats are committed to stopping Brexit and building a brighter future.”
The move has also prompted questions about the Lib Dems’ insistence on running in other tight marginals, including Kensington, although the party stresses that Labour is not pro-Remain.
But even pro-Remain advocates have questioned the move.
Writing in the Guardian, Walker said: “I don’t trust Corbyn on Brexit, but I share with many members of my party locally a visceral dread of the Commons being filled with people like Firth.
“Trying to stop that happening is now more important than ever given Nigel Farage’s unholy alliance with Johnson.
“I’ve therefore asked that my local party withdraw my nomination papers to stand for Canterbury. Politics does not always have to be grubby and small-minded; sometimes it’s possible to acknowledge that what’s at stake is more important than party politics – and personal ambition – and we can do what’s right.”