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Vote Lib Dem, Actually: Actor Hugh Grant endorses Luciana Berger as part of tactical voting campaign

PUBLISHED: 19:04 01 December 2019

Liberal Democrat's candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, Luciana Berger and Hugh Grant canvassing in Finchley while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture: David Mirzeoff/PA Wire

Liberal Democrat's candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, Luciana Berger and Hugh Grant canvassing in Finchley while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture: David Mirzeoff/PA Wire

Love Actually and Notting Hill star Hugh Grant has backed Luciana Berger in Finchley and Golders Green, praising her as a "principled politician with guts."

Liberal Democrat's candidate for Finchley and Golders Green,  Luciana Berger listens to Hugh Grant speaking during a canvassing event in Finchley. Picture: David Mirzeoff/PA WireLiberal Democrat's candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, Luciana Berger listens to Hugh Grant speaking during a canvassing event in Finchley. Picture: David Mirzeoff/PA Wire

The actor joined Ms Berger and Liberal Democrat activists on the doorstep in Finchley before speaking to around 100 campaigners at Woodhouse College.

He said he was endorsing remain-backing candidates in the Lib Dems and Labour as well as independents and will be campaigning for them in the next few days. He said he had got to know the Lib Dem candidate through his Hacked Off press regulation campaign.

The 59-year-old told the Ham&High: "I knew she was feisty, strong, principled. I think it does take a lot of guts to give up a majority of 29,000 and come and stand in a marginal and face the wrath of her old party. I think she is that rare creature of a politician with principle."

He described the election as unlike any other he had seen and said the country faced great danger. Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Grant also encouraged people in next door Chipping Barnet, a Labour-Tory marginal, to back the Labour Party.

Liberal Democrat's candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, Luciana Berger, with goddaughter Isla Robins (left) and Hugh Grant canvassing in Finchley while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture: David Mirzeoff/PA WireLiberal Democrat's candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, Luciana Berger, with goddaughter Isla Robins (left) and Hugh Grant canvassing in Finchley while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture: David Mirzeoff/PA Wire

He said: "I do think this is not an election like any other election in my 59 years in this country, in which I live, people sometimes think I live in LA, I don't. I live here, I pay my taxes like a good boy, no monkey business.

"I think we really do stand on the edge of an abyss. It scares me to the point where I am actually getting off my arse and making a modest contribution. As there wasn't a pact between the second referendum supporting parties, we the voters have to do it."

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On the doorstep, Mr Grant and Ms Berger had met voters who had switched to the Lib Dems for this election from both the Conservatives and Labour. One first-time voter, with a Lib Dem poster in his kitchen window, said he was trying to persuade his mum to back Jo Swinson's party.

Despite playing prime minister David in Love Actually, there were no festive renditions of Good, King Wenceslas for surprised voters.

At the rally at the college in North Finchley he alluded to his role in A Very British Scandal, he joked that he had a "great admiration" for the Lib Dems "having led the party for much of the 1960s and 1970s."

He said: "I don't think any sane person thinks that there is time if the Conservatives get in for a new deal with the EU before the transition period runs out. We all know that's catastrophic for this country. I represent those people who are terrified of that. That means heavy tactical voting, and tactical voting here means voting Lib Dem."

When asked which of the candidates to become prime minister he preferred, he demurred and said: "My personal dream would be a hung parliament."

He added: "There is one issue that trumps all other issues. It's imperative that Boris Johnson is not elected prime minister on December 12. I really believe that would be a catastrophe for this country. The end of our union. The end of peace in Northern Ireland. I don't see any way you could make a new trade deal with the EU in the time remaining.

"I think that means no deal. That means hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs lost, the end of manufacturing and industry in this country, food shortages, [and] medicine shortages. Not to speak of all the things that go with it, our loss of standing in the world, our loss of influence in the world, the damage to our security arrangements given all our joint efforts with the EU."

Ms Berger said: "It just shows how important this election is. Hugh comes here as somebody who doesn't show a party colour. This is the first place he came to, because he knows what is at stake. He knows my record, what I've done and what I stand up for and that a tactical vote can make the difference."

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