Hampstead and Kilburn’s new Tory candidate Johnny Luk says he would back a no-deal Brexit
PUBLISHED: 17:01 30 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:47 30 September 2019
Hampstead’s new Tory candidate who spent time working for the government’s Brexit department would support leaving the EU without a deal.
Johnny Luk, who was selected by 70 Hampstead and Kilburn Conservative Association members last week, spent two years working for the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), writing the first draft of the fisheries section of Theresa May's deal.
The 29-year-old voted remain in 2016, but said he would support a government that took Britain out of the EU without getting a deal.
He said: "I would support us leaving without a deal. It's a mistake to assume it might be a black hole. It only resets the clock. It is not my preferred choice. I want a good deal, and the way to deliver that is to get a stonking Conservative majority.
"[No deal] ups the ante. It triggers another set of year long agreements. When they say no deal they don't talk about the time. I don't think if that happens we will stay like that for five years.
"I am a democrat and I know that not everyone has had the opportunity to get involved in the process as I have. It's much harder to recover the faith in our democracy if we ignore the result."
Mr Luk who lives in Totteridge in Barnet said it has been an "amazing" week since being chosen. He defeated former council candidate Ben Tansey at the hustings at Hampstead Synagogue.
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"My phone's been going crazy and I've got emails from friends that aren't even political," he said. "I think they've chosen me as I'm different from what they've had before."
The Durham University graduate describes himself as a Tory in the David Cameron mould. He has made videos for former Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart and current mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey. Yet despite a handful of former Tory MPs and councillors joining the Liberal Democrats in the last few months, he doesn't think it's a difficult time for progressive MPs in the party.
"My story is a Conservative one," he said. "I'm second generation Chinese-British, my father works in a vegetarian sandwich shop in Milton Keynes and has type-2 diabetes, I've had to work my guts off to get to where I am today."
"I'm a political Conservative and a social Liberal. When I was going through selection, a lot of people in my class were social liberal Conservatives as well. It's not a difficult time for us at all."
"I have always had to change people's minds. People in Durham thought I was an international student. People are probably wondering why I am doing it. We need more diverse MPs now.
In the recent European elections, the Conservative Party looked further than ever away from retaking the seat whose predecessor they last held in 1992. In Camden they finished 6th as the Liberal Democrats romped home, topping the ballot in every ward. Incumbent Tulip Siddiq has a 15,560 majority from the last election. Chris Philp, now MP for Croydon South, who came within 42 votes of retaking the reorganised seat in 2010 was due to speak at the meeting but had to pull out.
Yet despite this Luk is defiant, telling this newspaper that the seat is still winnable.
"I wouldn't have applied if I didn't think I could win. Tulip doesn't know what she's got into. Their Brexit policy is a mess, Tulip wants to remain and Corbyn is leading their Brexit policy. Imagine if they were in government.
"Matt Sanders [Lib Dem candidate] worked in the Conservative-led coalition, I can see the rationality, except they are a one issue party. Revoking Article 50, you can't imagine what they will do to our country."