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Hornsey and Wood Green: Catherine West on moped crime, NHS ‘collapse’ and the ‘weird’ Tim Farron

PUBLISHED: 15:46 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:14 12 May 2017

Catherine West outside the Labour Party's offices in Middle Lane, Crouch End.       Picture: Iain Burns

Catherine West outside the Labour Party's offices in Middle Lane, Crouch End. Picture: Iain Burns

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The Labour candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green has said she does not trust the Liberal Democrats on the EU.

Catherine West stands in front of Ham&High stories from the past.        Picture: Iain Burns Catherine West stands in front of Ham&High stories from the past. Picture: Iain Burns

Catherine West, who was elected in 2015 after beating Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone, urged voters in the overwhelmingly Remain constituency to back her again on June 8 despite her party’s commitment to Brexit.

The Lib Dems in the area – led by their candidate Dawn Barnes – have made Europe central to their campaign, pledging to hold a second referendum after Brexit negotiations and potentially reversing the decision to leave altogether.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Ham&High, Mrs West also discussed the need to boost police patrols as a means of tackling moped-enabled thefts, the NHS’s “risk of collapse”, standing up for human rights and the use of military force.

She said a Labour government would guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in Britain on “day one”, something which delights her as a “very strong Remainer”.

Mrs West said people in the EU 'get' Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.      Picture: PA/Victoria Jones Mrs West said people in the EU 'get' Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA/Victoria Jones

“It provides recognition for the work EU citizens do here in our hospitals, in hospitality, everywhere,” she said.

But if a voter is so passionate about Europe, why not ditch Labour and go for the Lib Dems?

“I have voted with the Lib Dems on some things – remember, even they were split on triggering Article 50.

“But Tim Farron has said he’s a Eurosceptic,” she said. “I find that weird.”

The Ham&High has focused on public concern following a spate of moped crimes in the area. The Ham&High has focused on public concern following a spate of moped crimes in the area.

She added: “Can you trust a party whose leader is a Eurosceptic?”

People in the EU “get” Jeremy Corbyn, she said, jokingly adding that he once gave a “rambling 40-minute” speech to the Party of European Socialists that was received very well.

On housing, Mrs West said allowing councils to borrow against their assets would permit them to “do what they needed to do” and build enough homes for “all local residents”.

“You wouldn’t have to send as many people to coastal towns that way,” she said.

Catherine West watching Jeremy Corbyn discuss foreign affairs today.      Picture: Iain Burns Catherine West watching Jeremy Corbyn discuss foreign affairs today. Picture: Iain Burns

Addressing the problem of moped-enabled thefts – particularly of phones – which the Ham&High has focused on recently, Mrs West said increased police patrols “are the answer”.

She added: “The number of officers has been cut and yet violent crime is rocketing.

“We need a dedicated team to take these thieves down.”

Mrs West, 50, also said the election is “like a referendum on the NHS”.

Mrs West said the Foreign Office should focus on diplomacy and human rights rather than on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: Matthias Balk/PA Mrs West said the Foreign Office should focus on diplomacy and human rights rather than on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: Matthias Balk/PA

“The whole system is at risk of collapse,” she added. “There aren’t enough nurses. Emergency doctors are really hard to get and really expensive. Social care is not being funded.

“It’s a struggle.”

On international affairs, shadow foreign minister Mrs West – who was watching Jeremy Corbyn push back against the perception he is a pacifist in a speech – said human rights must be at the fore of British policy.

“Military force must be the very last resort,” she said.

“We would do everything to put diplomacy and human rights at the centre of the Foreign Office – which now appears to just be all about Boris.”

But she added: “I’m not a pacifist. None of us knows the future – it’s hard to say we would never go to war.”

The other candidates standing in Hornsey and Wood Green are:

- Nimco Ali of Women’s Equality Party

- Dawn Barnes of the Liberal Democrats

- Emma Lane of the Conservative Party

- Anna Athow of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party

- Sam Hall of the Green Party

- Ruth Price of Ukip

- Helen Spiby-Vann of the Christian Peoples Alliance

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