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Luciana Berger: It's 'reprehensible' that Jeremy Corbyn hasn't done more to stop Brexit

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 November 2019

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson (left) is greeted by the party's candidate for Finchley and Golders Green Luciana Berger as she arrives for a visit to a mental health enterprise in Golders Green. Picture: PA Images

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson (left) is greeted by the party's candidate for Finchley and Golders Green Luciana Berger as she arrives for a visit to a mental health enterprise in Golders Green. Picture: PA Images

It's been quite the year for Luciana Berger.

Two party moves and a baby later, she's now standing for a seat more than 200 miles away from Liverpool Watertree, which she has represented since 2010.

Speaking in café near her campaign offices in Falloden Way, she says that she has been "buoyed" by the coalition of supporters who have joined her.

She said: "I've got card carrying members of the Labour Party supporting me. I have one man who has been a member of the local Conservatives for 35 years. He said 'No more, I can't do this any more. I'm fed up of this nonsense. I want somebody who represents my values and the national interest'."

Despite the Labour Party saying its vote is holding up compared to 2017, the Liberal Democrat candidate said that the party's canvassers have walked down roads and have been unable to find anybody willing to vote Labour. While the polls have slipped nationally for her party, she insists the picture isn't the same in Finchley and Golders Green. The Liberal Democrats have never had an MP in the constituency, and only got 3,463 votes in 2017.

"People are very clear they don't want the Labour Party. We sometimes struggle to find anybody that is going to give their vote to Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. On the Tory side, what's coming up is the issue of the prime minister lying. Every door I knocked on the other night was a Tory voter and they were saying he had lied.

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In a remain constituency, they want somebody who will stand up for the remain cause and at the very least will advocate for the closest possible relationship with our European neighbours [...] 2017 was a long time ago, a lot has changed since," she said.

As well as pounding the pavement, she has also visited people's homes for "Luciana in your Lounge" sessions where she fields questions from voters in a more intimate setting.

The 38-year-old grew up in north west London, and her home in London while in Parliament was in the constituency. She is scathing about both Labour and the Conservatives. Words like "reprehensible" and "fallacy" are used when she is talking about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's failure to whip for a second referendum on seven occasions in the last parliament. She's cynical about the party's move to back another vote.

"It is disingenuous of them to do so. Rebecca Long-Bailey says there will be a referendum of sorts, I don't know what that means. According to Keir Starmer they are going to bring forward legislation to implement this 'better Brexit deal' which is a fallacy. There is no such thing.

"Then we hear that Jeremy Corbyn isn't going to take a position on it. It's nonsense. If they felt it they had three-and-a-half years to do it. It's reprehensible that [Corbyn] didn't do something to stop the Brexit mess we're in.

"We will revoke Article 50 if we have a majority, and we're making that point very clear as a party that has consistently said we want to stop Brexit. If we don't have that majority, we will continue our quest to get a people's vote.

Ms Berger said the party's pledge to return to community policing would benefit the constituency, referencing recent muggings in East Finchley. She adds councils will be given cash to help fight climate change too.

She said: "Climate change is something that comes up time and time again. We're going to make local authorites have a duty on it. Very little has been done in Barnet, there's no climate change plan. There's been little investment in active transport and cycling."

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