Hampstead and Kilburn: Kirsty Allan says Lib Dems the ‘only party standing up for Remainers’
- Credit: Archant
The Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn has said she is the only person who can properly represent those who voted to stay in the European Union.
Kirsty Allan, 34, is hoping the constituency’s overwhelming Remain vote last year will translate into support for her in the general election on June 8.
To win, she will have to beat other Remain-voters standing in the seat – including Labour’s Tulip Siddiq and the Conservatives’ Claire-Louise Leyland.
Ms Allan – who advises corporations around the world on political risk for Global Counsel, which is chaired by Peter Mandelson – told the Ham&High the Lib Dem position was “very clear”.
“We’re really the only party standing up for the 48 per cent [who voted to stay in the EU],” she said, adding that her primary aim is to see a second referendum on the result of the Brexit negotiations.
“We’re realistic enough to say we’re not going to be forming the next government, but we do want to defend the 48pc in Parliament.”
She added: “Society has the right to make that decision.”
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Ms Allan believes Brexit has put Britain on the “wrong course” and stresses that she “does not see the positive side” of the vote.
“Hampstead and Kilburn made it particularly clear how they feel about Brexit,” she said, adding that it is the most common topic residents discuss with her on the doorstep.
“There are lots of EU citizens here and it’s unreal that they have no stability, that they don’t know what their future will look like.”
Ms Allan said Hampstead and Kilburn has a “very educated and well-informed populace” that is frustrated by the “lies” of the Leave campaign.
“They really know what they’re talking about,” she said.
Though she said she respects Labour’s Tulip Siddiq for voting against triggering Article 50, Ms Allan said the incumbent MP ultimately represents a party intent on a “hard Brexit”.
“This area needs a candidate that’s going to stand up for what they voted for,” she said.
Beyond Europe, Ms Allan is keen to highlight funding for schools.
“It surprises me that Theresa May is investing in brand new grammar schools, which will disproportionately help children from wealthier backgrounds, rather than investing in the schools we currently have,” she said.
On housing, Ms Allan backs the construction of 300,000 new homes across London as an answer to the “huge problem” of property prices.
“The cost of a home has gone from about three to four times average annual earnings to 10 times in Camden,” she said.
“We’ve got to make sure we don’t end up with a segregated society.”
While conceding there is a “problem” with lack of space in the capital, she stressed it was important “to use what we have sensibly” rather than leaving land undeveloped or homes unoccupied.
She was also keen to contrast her candidacy with 2015’s Lib Dem, the anti-extremism Maajid Nawaz, who attracted a 23,000-strong petition demanding his removal from the race because of an image he retweeted.
The picture was of a “Jesus and Mo” T-shirt, showing Jesus of Nazareth and a man named Mohammed (erroneously believed to represent the founder of Islam).
But Ms Allan said she would “like not to be a divisive figure in any way”.
She added: “With extremism, and with knife crime as well, we have to engage with people and bring them together. It has to be an open conversation.”