Keep London in Europe

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of Londoners polled recently want Britain to remain in the EU. It is the highest number among all UK regions polled. In addition to the normal electorate, who will vote in the referendum on 23 June, some 500,000 EU citizens will also have a vote in the GLA / Mayoral elections on 5 May.

In the capital, mark the lack of enthusiasm in the Labour Party for the cause of staying IN, mirrored by its mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan. Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate for mayor is described as a Euro-sceptic, and Boris Johnson is plain anti-EU. And of course the open warfare that has broken out among the Tories which plays into our hands.

Liberal Democrats now possess a considerable advantage with our enthusiastic and almost total unity commitment to remaining IN. It is surprising that the Lib Dem campaign has not wholeheartedly made Keep London in the EU the main plank of its policy platform.

Of course housing and transport are the main problems facing the capital, and we have attractive policies for dealing with them. But if we take the easy route to gaining many more votes, perhaps more times as many as the forecast 3 per cent will vote for us. That in turn will give have more seats and more influence in what could be a hung assembly.

We could help ensure that voting exceeds the 37 per cent turnout in 2012, as EU citizens and other supporters come out to vote Lib Dem.

And if we leave the EU we have far less chance of doing anything about them. Caroline Pidgeon, our energetic and eloquent mayoral candidate, has already made several excellent speeches on us staying in the EU.

With just six weeks to go now is the time for Lib Dems to be brave and offer a lead to Keep London in the EU. And in doing so, increase our numbers on the GLA.

* Jonathan Hunt is President of Camberwell & Peckham local party and chair of the Southwark Co-ordinating Committee. He is an elected Life Member of the NUJ, and a former parliamentary candidate.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • So you’re admitting openly, that Liberal Democrats are only interested in what a cosy (per capita), London metropolis thinks and wants?,… and conversely ‘handing waving’ a dismissive, ‘san fairy ann.’, to whatever anyone north of Hemel Hempstead thinks? Nice one,…a tad brave perhaps,.. and some might say reckless,.. but still, I have to applauded this rare ‘window’ into liberal honesty.
    Might it be worth printing this article verbatim, onto leaflets to put through the letter boxes of northern homes, just to make them aware of where Liberal Democrat priorities lie?. (Just in case some of them don’t already know?)

  • David Faggiani 22nd Mar '16 - 4:32pm

    I would be keen on the recent Cannabis legalisation vote playing a larger role in Pidgeon’s campaign, too. Surely this could at least be applied to policing priority policies? Although I don’t know where Pidgeon herself stands on this issue.

  • David Allen 22nd Mar '16 - 4:37pm

    J Dunn is, of course, completely misrepresenting what Lib Dems believe. Lib Dems from all over the country want to stay in the EU. Lib Dems from London merely have some additional arguments to put forward which are specific to London.

    That said, perhaps they should avoid a slogan “Keep London in the EU.” It is bound to encourage thoughts, from all of us impoverished provincials out there, along the lines of “Well then, you rich Londoners can b*gg”r off to the Continent, and give the rest of us a break!”

    And that is not a good message to send, given that we need to win that referendum, up and down the country!

  • jonathan Hunt 22nd Mar '16 - 5:22pm

    J. DUNN:

    The London elections are for London voters to decide. Any local elections taking place north, south, east or west of Hemel Hampstead are for residents of those places to determine, and for local parties to offer their policies according to local needs and opinions. Not what s/he believes are arrogant Metropolitan citizens to dictate what they should or should not vote for.

    Perhaps J. Dunn believes in the levels of centralised power-making that Labour and the Tories believe in. S/he may find it strange that a party is so united and committed to a single policy that some of us wish to promote it as the main issue for Londoners. The only other party with a united stance is UKIP, which should disappear if our view wins.

  • Jonathan
    ‘The core message’,.. that a political party outputs, over time, is cumulative. Only a couple of years ago, Liberal Democrats were pushing the absurd idea of regional pay [for public service workers]. What they, Liberal Democrats at that time, were really saying,.. is that London deserves more [higher wages], and everywhere else deserves less [lower wages]. The core of that LD thinking was both brutal and clear in voter minds,… London is important, and everyone else can go hang?
    A couple of days ago a thread suggested that welfare benefits for childcare in London needed to be raised,… again,…the core message?,… to hell with children in the rest of the country!
    And now this thread tells us that when it comes to the devastating effects of the EU on our country,… the message?,…it’s only what London wants that matters!
    Can you see the point I’m making about the ‘cumulative message’ being sent out by Liberal Democrats, over time?
    That ‘cumulative message’ in voter minds is that politicians see London as *everything* and *deserving more and more and more*, and everyone north of Hemel Hempstead are just minions and inferior mortals who need to be pacified at the lowest possible cost!!
    Can anyone truly not see, why politicians are so despised ?

  • Could we have a link to the poll please

  • nigel hunter 22nd Mar '16 - 9:47pm

    Surely a simple word change could help? How about ‘Keep London and the UK in the EU’ Yes policing is also important and that also should be used.

  • Did this poll question a random representative sample of those living in London as a whole? Or just those who are allowed to vote in the referendum?

  • Out leafletting (London) last night. If the amount of Britain Stronger In Europe material that I saw in recycling bins is anything to go by (in a not particularly well-to-do area), I’m not sure that In has the resonance some might think. The Party Of In certainly didn’t seem to last time it was tried.

  • Paul Murray 23rd Mar '16 - 8:59am

    Yes, as Sophie asks can we see the data for that poll because it would be very interesting. This is a remarkable turnaround relative to the YouGov/LBC poll conducted in January.

    That poll showed remain leading by 39% to 34%. Since national polls conducted since then have shown almost no movement in either direction I am surprised that a poll now finds London is so overwhelmingly for remain.

    Tabs for the January YouGov/LBC poll are here:

  • Mind you, the leaflet did have the production values of Dominos, so maybe that explains it!

  • jonathan Hunt 23rd Mar '16 - 5:27pm

    It is for those Lib Dem parties in the rest of Britain who have elections this May to decide whether they wish to make Remain IN the EU their main campaigning issue. London has a majority of voters who wish to stay in, because of the number of jobs in the capital dependent on EU membership.

    Remember that London has some of the poorest people struggling to survive the Tories’ “War on the Poor”, as well as many of the obscenely rich. The cost of living is much higher, and property prices ridiculous, made all the more so by money launderers from all over the world buying up the peoples’ homes though dodgy banks based in dodgy domains.

    |It is high time government stopped this theft from Londoners and citizens from other British cities and town, and made all residential property safe from all forms of corporate ownership. have mislaid the poll findings, but believe they are from a Lib Dem source, which might include all eligible to vote on 5 May.

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