- Title: Liberal Democrats hope to strike gold in Richmond
- Date: 11th December 2019
- Summary: CONSERVATIVE CAMPAIGN STAND IN SHOPPING STREET BANNER ON STAND READING (English): "VOTE CONSERVATIVE" CONSERVATIVE CAMPAIGNER LEAFLETING CHAIRWOMAN OF CONSERVATIVES IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, JANE SHALDERS, HANDING OUT LEAFLETS (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRWOMAN OF CONSERVATIVES IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, JANE SHALDERS, SAYING: "Richmond voted predominantly to remain. There is a strong pocket of Brexiteers but they are in the minority here in Richmond. But we try to encourage people to see beyond Brexit to the economy. The economy is very important to the people here in Richmond." SHALDERS TRYING TO HAND LEAFLET TO CONSTITUENT WHO HAS DECIDED HOW TO VOTE BUT DECLINED TO SAY, LAUREN BARNETT (SOUNDBITE) (English) CONSTITUENT WHO HAS DECIDED HOW TO VOTE BUT DECLINED TO SAY, LAUREN BARNETT, SAYING: "I'm only voting for the least worst of the worst bunch. I'm literally like: 'Ok, so that's the best option for me', but I can't really bear any of theâ€¦ More about the people, the individuals, some of the policies are actually good, whether or not they'll come to fruition or not, but essentially it's about picking the very least awful choice." VARIOUS OF SHOPPERS IN STREET (SOUNDBITE) (English) CONSTITUENT WHO HAS ALREADY VOTED FOR THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS BY POST, LINDA ALEXANDER, SAYING (ASKED: WHY DID YOU VOTED FOR THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS?): "Because of Brexit mainly, I voted to remain, so I think that though there's other issues that maybe the Lib Dems haven't carried through, I think that Brexit is the main thing that maybe people will be voting on." (SOUNDBITE) (English) LABOUR-LEANING VOTER WHO SAYS SHE HAS PROBLEMS WITH PARTY'S HANDLING OF ANTI-SEMITISM AND WANTS TO STOP THE CONSERVATIVES, MICHELLE TRIEGAARET, SAYING: "I would say that I am much more Socialist-leaning than anything else, but the next option would be Lib Dems, because I most definitely do not want to have Boris Johnson, and I really do think this is just a referendum by proxy really and it should have been a referendum to sort out the whole Brexit thing and then a general election on which you can vote for the policies of parties and what they would do for us in the future." VARIOUS OF SWANS IN RIVER THAMES BRIDGE OVER RIVER THAMES
- Embargoed: 25th December 2019 18:04
- Keywords: Conservative Party Liberal Democrats Richmond Sarah Olney Zac Goldsmith marginal constintuency
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003B9J9Y6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:As the British election campaign drew to a close on Wednesday (December 11), Boris Johnson's opponents were hoping his status as Brexiteer in chief would cost his party in parts of the country that voted to remain in the EU.
The affluent south London area of Richmond is famous for its 2,500 acre park home to a population of wild deer.
Despite the apparent calm here a battle is waging as Conservative incumbent Zac Goldsmith defends his wafer-thin majority of just 45 seats.
His challenger is the Liberal Democrats' Sarah Olney who was out tramping the streets in the winter sunshine on Wednesday, canvassing to convince last minute waverers.
She says the campaign is going well and that the top issue on the doorstep is Brexit, with 69.3 percent of voters in the wider Richmond area having voted to stay in the EU in the 2016 poll.
"People around here voted remain, they don't want Brexit anyway but they certainly don't have any faith in Boris Johnson to deliver it," she said.
But more than three years after the referendum result which sent shockwaves through the British political establishment, even some of those who opposed the exit are weary and seduced by Johnson's promise to "get Brexit done".
Constituent Mark Matza said he had voted remain but that the Liberal Democrats' promise to block Brexit was undemocratic.
"There was a result, disappointing though it was for the referendum, a lot of people who want to leave, and I accept that result and that's part of the due process of politics as I see it," he said after a run-in with Olney.
A short drive through the constituency's wide, leafy avenues, in its commercial district busy with Christmas shoppers, local Conservative campaigners were out leafleting for Goldsmith.
The high-profile cabinet minister is well-known locally, particularly after his failed bid to become mayor of London in 2016.
Conservative campaigners said Goldsmith was popular with local residents but that fears about the impact of Brexit, particularly on the country's economy, came up when they were out canvassing.
"We try to encourage people to see beyond Brexit to the economy. The economy is very important to the people here in Richmond," canvasser Jane Shalders said.
A much-watched poll by YouGov published on Tuesday (December 10) saw the Liberal Democrats ahead in Richmond Park but nationally the centrist party is extremely unlikely to take power.
In the event that Johnson fails to win a national majority, however, they could be crucial in lending their support to the opposition Labour Party.
Many in Richmond said they were switched off by the socialist head of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, though they did not have much time for either leader.
"I'm only voting for the least worst of the worst bunch," said constituent Lauren Barnett, declining to say who she meant.
(Production: Graham Kelly, Johnny Cotton)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None