IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Lib Dems’ Arsenal election stunt stalls

Campaign photo by Emirates Stadium fails as van driver falls foul of parking restrictions

01 November, 2019 — By Emily Finch

The Lib Dem van with its ‘Stop Brexit’ slogan near the Emirates Stadium

A LIBERAL Democrat attack on Jeremy Corbyn in his own Islington North constituency was hampered by double yellow lines yesterday (Thursday).

The main parties all launched their campaign this week after the Labour leader backed a general election for December 12.

But the planned Lib Dem photo opportunity in front of Mr Corbyn’s beloved Emirates Stadium failed when their van driver was unable to stop because of strict parking restrictions.

The van, featuring a sign with the Lib Dem slogan “Stop Brexit”, along with pictures of their leader Jo Swinson, had to park in a spot where the symbolic photo couldn’t be taken. The original aim was to position the van in front of the large Arsenal sign with the Emirates in the background.

But Kate Pothalingam, the Lib Dems’ Islington South and Finsbury candidate, was undeterred, despite a local resident loudly complaining that their van was polluting and they needed a permit to park. He refused to budge for 10 minutes.

She said: “What I’m hearing on the doorstep is that the majority of Labour supporters are saying they’re Lib Dem voters now.

“They are saying they can’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn. I hadn’t expected Lib Dem supporters who migrated to us in the European elections to stick with us in this way. It’s very interesting.”

The Labour Party picked up 28 per cent of the vote while the Lib Dems won the majority and managed 29 per cent in the European elections in May.

Ms Pothalingam said she could not “make any predictions” as to whether Labour’s Islington South MP Emily Thornberry might lose her seat.

“But we are optimistic and we’re giving it our best shot. I’m certain we will improve how we have done in the past,” she said.

The Lib Dems plan to “step up” campaigning in Islington and will be out most days of the week.

Anthony Berent, a retired software engineer and Lib Dem member from Drayton Park, said: “It’s going to be a fight but I’m confident Ms Thornberry will lose her seat.”

He added that Mr Corbyn had “the most pro-Brexit stance out of the Labour MPs”.

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