Lib Dem Hampstead and Kilburn candidate Matthew Sanders says the only way to halt austerity is to stop Brexit

Matthew Sanders (centre) with fellow Lib Dems after he was chosen to fight Hampstead and Kilburn aat

Matthew Sanders (centre) with fellow Lib Dems after he was chosen to fight Hampstead and Kilburn aat the next general election. Pictured (L to R) Cllr Luisa Porritt MEP, Marsha Ray, Matthew, Cllr Tom Simon and Cllr Flick Rea. Picture: Roger King/Camden Lib Dems - Credit: Archant

The only way to get out of austerity is to stop Brexit, according to a former aide to Nick Clegg who will challenge Tulip Siddiq for the Liberal

Matthew Sanders, who was a Camden councillor for Haverstock between 2006 and 2014, was chosen by members at a meeting on Sunday afternoon.

He now aims to build on the momentum generated at the European elections in May where the party won across the borough, including in ardent-Tory wards such as Frognal and Fitzjohns.

He said: "It's been a whirlwind. I've always had the dream of being able to stand for Parliament here. I'm humbled and proud to be carrying the flag."

The 36-year-old was part of the Lib Dem and Conservative coalition which ran the council between 2006 and 2010 under Keith Moffitt. He went on to work for Nick Clegg as an advisor on education between late-2011 and 2015.

He said: "I was really proud of some of the things we were able to do, like pupil premium and free school meals for children from poorer backgrounds."

Matthew himself was a recipient of free school meals while growing up in Ulverston, near Barrow-in-Furness. He came to Camden after studying architecture at Cambridge University where he volunteered for Sarah Teather MP in Brent East, which included parts of the now-Hampstead and Kilburn seat.

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With a snap election on the horizon, he is confident that the party could win, despite the Lib Dems getting 30,000 votes less than Labour two years ago. Tulip Siddiq has backed calls for a people's vote, and was pictured draped in an EU-flag at a recent rally in Russell Square.

"I'm not sure Labour has changed its stance [on Brexit]. You only have to look at Emily Thornberry's appearance on Question Time the other night where Labour said they would try to get another deal, and then could campaign against it.

"In recent elections remain voters supported the Lib Dems, with a loud voice to stop Brexit. It's very different from two years ago. Labour Remain voters in 2017 saw their vote interpreted as support for a hard Brexit. It's the biggest threat to this country's future. The only way to stop Brexit is by voting for an unambigiously remain MP from an umambigiously remain party.

Any vote for Labour is also a vote to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister. Voters in the last few months here have told me they're horrified by the idea that he could be."

However when asked how the Chalk Farm resident would unite a divided country if Article 50 was revoked and Brexit was halted, he dodges the question.

"My job is to represent remain voters. That will be my policy. We agree on all kinds of things. The only way to stop this chaos and this meltdown in the parliamentary system is to stop Brexit.

"The damage will be nothing compared to if we leave and voters realise they were misled. That it doesn't mean more money for the NHS. We have to come together to stop it."

He also said he doesn't believe that working for the deputy prime minister as part of the pro-austerity coalition government will work against him.

"I am not going to say that the coalition got everything right. We didn't. I am proud of some of the things we achieved. But we are talking to voters about what they actually care about, and the only way to get out of austerity is to stop Brexit."