Lib Dem candidate says ‘majority’ of those canvassed would vote for her
15 November, 2019 — By Emily Finch
THE Liberal Democrat candidate looking to unseat Labour’s Emily Thornberry in Islington South and Finsbury said the “majority” of people she has canvassed in the past week said they would be voting for her.
Kate Pothalingam’s confidence came as various newspapers including the Sun and the Daily Telegraph reported that “private internal polling” by the Labour Party has suggested that shadow foreign secretary Ms Thornberry is “at risk” of losing her seat.
When asked for her thoughts on the poll, Ms Pothalingam said: “While door-knocking on Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Canonbury, south of Essex Road, I heard plenty of reasons to understand why the polling may indicate this for the Labour Party.”
She added: “I would say out of the people we reach door knocking, the majority of people are suggesting they will vote Lib Dem in this election. They might not be for a variety of reasons Lib Dem members, but are going to vote Lib Dem.”
Ms Pothalingam said she “didn’t know” if the developments would mean getting more resources from Lib Dem head office.
Emily Thornberry submitting her PPC papers to the Town Hall
Islington Lib Dems have been optimistic following their EU election results in May which gave them a 873 vote lead over Labour despite not having any councillors in the Town Hall since 2015.
So much so that the Lib Dem Islington North candidate Nick Wakeling has changed his Twitter profile to say he is “the next MP for Islington North”.
A local Constituency Labour Party (CLP) document seen by the Tribune dated last month said: “Islington South and Finsbury CLP recognises that the Liberal Democrats may pose a real threat to us in the forthcoming general election, but believes that this threat can be decisively defeated if all members are armed with ‘facts to fight with’ on the doorstep and in debate.”
Islington South Labour activists told the Tribune that they were not aware of any private, internal polling that showed Ms Thornberry’s seat was at “risk”. She was elected on a 20,000 majority in 2017.
An activist, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Canvassers in Islington South say they are worried but we believe the Labour vote will hold up. Emily’s majority will be dented but it won’t result in her losing her seat.”
They called the articles in the Sun and Telegraph “tub-thumping” but added: “Labour should not be complacent.”