Hampstead and Kilburn candidate Matt Sanders says legalising cannabis could help cut gang violence in Camden
PUBLISHED: 21:54 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 22:07 21 November 2019
The Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn Matt Sanders said the party's policy to legalise cannabis could help stem youth violence and gang crime in Camden.
Gang violence in the borough is thought to be largely driven by the drugs market, with groups competing for customers in a price war. Camden Town has particularly been an area associated with drugs amid its party reputation.
Speaking to the Ham&High after the party's manifesto launch on Wednesday night, Mr Sanders said: "The war on drugs is worrying. I think if you had a regulated market for cannabis you would pull the rug out from under the suppliers. It would definitely tackle the gang violence issue."
Mr Sanders introduced the party's leader Jo Swinson at Fest in Camden Market for her speech. There were party branded lollipops for the occasion, along with candy floss and a balloon lettering spelling "stop Brexit". It was followed by a deafening DJ-set afterwards as workers swept up confetti that was shot out of a cannon at the end of Ms Swinson's speech.
Mr Sanders, who is hoping to upset the odds and become the constituency's first Lib Dem MP said the party choosing Camden to hold the event showed it was making progress in north London. The Lib Dems are heavily investing resources in the capital as it hopes Luciana Berger can also win in Finchley and Golders Green.
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He said: "It's great that the party is in Camden for this event. It is a real sign that we are on the up here and people are responding to our remain message.
"We are trying to show that we can do things differently, and we wanted to introduce Jo Swinson and a new liberal generation. The whole message is that Jo Swinson represents the future and the two party politics represents the past."
Mr Sanders highlighted the party's policy on education as something he was particularly proud of. The manifesto said the party was committed to recruiting 20,000 more teachers and it will give every adult £10,000 to spend on training and education throughout their life.
"It's really personal to me. I've been a governor in schools in Camden. Schools desperately need more support. It's exactly the same with the Royal Free and NHS in Camden. All of this does come down to Brexit. 1/3 of nurses are from European countries."
He added that the policies weren't intended to be negotiated away as part of a post-election coalition deal.
"That's not the case at all," he said. "It's a document that says exactly what you will get if you vote for a Lib Dem government. Our priority is to tackle inequality and stop Brexit, and deliver a better future that Jo Swinson set out in the manifesto."