Luciana Berger named as new Lib Dem candidate for Finchley and Golders Green

Luciana Berger speaking to media on Collge Green, Westminster, after the former Labour MP announced

Luciana Berger speaking to media on Collge Green, Westminster, after the former Labour MP announced she has joined the Liberal Democrats, saying they are "the strongest party to stop Brexit". Picture: PA Images/Jonathan Brady - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Luciana Berger has confirmed she will stand in Finchley and Golders Green for the Liberal Democrats at the next election.

The move has been hotly tipped since the current Liverpool Wavertree MP, 38, joined the party this month. It was confirmed at a meeting of the party's local executive on Tuesday night, with Ms Berger informed by phone afterwards.

"I'm really pleased and I'm looking forward to the campaign whenever it comes," she told the Ham&High. "My husband and I have had to work out how to balance our work alongside our two young children. After a great deal of thought, we decided at the next election we would relocate from Liverpool to London."

Her children go to nursery in the constituency and her centenarian grandmother also lives nearby. Her main home is in Liverpool but she has a second home in Finchley and Golders Green for use when she is in London.

Ms Berger sparked headlines earlier this year when she, along with six other Labour MPs, left to form Change UK. She said she had left Labour due to antisemitism and the party's position on Europe. She believes both will echo locally.

"This is a constituency that voted 70 per cent to remain," she said, "and I have a strong record of challenging the government on Brexit. The Labour leadership is mired in racism. That will resonate for people here and across the country."

Change UK suffered a fatal blow in the European elections, failing to win a seat. But Ms Berger's new party finished second with 14 new MEPs. Ms Berger said it has paved a way for Finchley and Golders Green to get its first Lib Dem MP.

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At the last general election, Tory Mike Freer got 21,000 votes more than the Lib Dems, in third. Mr Freer has a slim majority of 1,657 over Labour, who have yet to announce a candidate.

"We won in every ward in the constituency in June," she said. "People have changed since the last general election. In the face of a Conservative Party that is trying to drive through a harsh no-deal Brexit, and a Labour Party whose leadership is mired in racism, we can win."

Ms Berger thanked and paid tribute to her current constituents, who she said it was a "privilege" to serve. She hopes her experience serving on the health and social care committee would be useful with the current "under-utilisation" of Finchley Memorial Hospital.