Deputy PM Nick Clegg backs MP Lynne Featherstone to re-take Highgate for Lib Dems
PUBLISHED: 09:39 09 July 2013
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has dismissed the possibility of Labour wrestling power from the Lib Dems in Highgate - despite his party's popularity plummeting nationally.
Mr Clegg backed MP Lynne Featherstone - who has held the seat since 2005 - claiming her record locally would hold her in good stead with voters in the next general election in May 2015.
He said: “I think come 2015, almost whatever you think about the wider national picture, I doubt there could be very many people locally who believe anything other than the fact that Lynne Featherstone is the best local champion for this constituency.”
The MP also received the backing of local party members when she was reselected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green last Thursday (July 4).
In a show of solidarity Ed Davey, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, attended the selection meeting alongside Ms Featherstone’s “heroine” Baroness Shirley Williams.
Haringey Liberal Democrats chairman, Cara Jenkinson, said: “Lynne Featherstone is a fantastic constituency MP and a formidable campaigner. She works really hard for the people of Hornsey and Wood Green – everyone knows someone who’s been helped by Lynne.”
Ms Featherstone said: “I am simply delighted by the confidence the local Liberal Democrat members have shown in me.
“Hornsey and Wood Green is a wonderful, diverse and vibrant area. It is such an honour to represent and fight for all of the residents here.
“I want to continue fighting for better services for local people, working together on successful campaigns like fairer funding – which secured a massive £7.3million for our local schools. The road to 2015 and beyond starts here!”
The decision will see the MP go head-to-head with Labour candidate Catherine West, the current leader of Islington Council, in two years time.
Ms West looks set to be a strong opponent to Ms Featherstone, boasting of a record of “beating Lib Dems” in Islington.
But Mr Clegg was unfazed during a visit to Highgate Wood School, in Crouch End, on Friday - suggesting Haringey Labour’s record while leading the council would work against Ms West.
“It doesn’t surprise me Labour have brought an outsider in, because, of course, the local Labour party’s record is so lamentable,” he said.
“This is the Labour party that can’t be trusted with peoples finances, this is the party that, it seems to me, is driving local shops to the wall by inexplicably jacking up parking prices.”
Ms Featherstone, currently parliamentary under secretary of state for international development, was leader of the opposition on Haringey Council from 1998 to 2006.
After a stint on the London Assembly she moved into government in 2005 when she won the Hornsey and Wood Green seat.