The Battle for Cambridge BEGINS as PM calls General Election

It’s Labour VS Lib Dem in the fight for the Cantab’s vote

With Theresa May calling a snap election on June 8th, it looks set to be a fight between the incumbent Labour MP for Cambridge Daniel Zeichner and local Liberal Democrat candidate (and former MP) Julian Huppert.

Britain is set for another dose of political action as Theresa May calls a snap General Election to take place on June 8th. If you aren’t bored of politics yet, the clamber for the marginal seat of Cambridge looks set to be a tightly fought race.

The 2015 race was one of the closest fought in the entirety of the UK, with Labour’s Daniel Zeichner winning the Cambridge seat by just 599 votes, representing just 1% of the Cambridge electorate. The seat had previously been held by the Liberal Democrats’ Julian Huppert, a local candidate who owed much of his strong support to the city’s large student population. The loss of the seat was emblematic of the Lib Dems’ dismal fortunes at the 2015 general election, a collapse in the party’s support leaving them with only eight Members of Parliament.

On the other hand, Zeichner’s victory showed Cambridge bucking the trend of general swing to the right, defiantly picking up at seat that’d be under Liberal Democrat control since 2005.

Zeichner campaigning for higher pay alongside Unite

However, with Labour in a state of turmoil and disarray since electing and re-electing Jeremy Corbyn, many are predicting a resurgence of the Liberal Democrat’s in the upcoming election. Having already gained a seat in the Richmond Park by-election last December, with Sarah Olney ousting the incumbent Zac Goldsmith, Tim Farron is surely eyeing Cambridge as another potential gain for the Liberal Democrats.

Despite looking to gain strongly across the country in this snap election, the prospect of a Conservative Victory in Cambridge still looks faint. The Tories last won the seat in 1987 and performed dismally in the 2015 election, winning just 15.7% of the vote. The controversial candidate Chamali Fernando surrendered her chances of winning following a statement in which she said “Those with mental health Issues should wear wristbands.” With Cambridge representing one of the most Pro-EU constituencies in the country, it’s hard to envisage the Tories gaining a seat.

Reacting to the news, Zeichner tweeted “Now is the time to put differences aside, unite our party and kick out this vicious Tory government which is tearing our nation to shreds.”

By comparison, Julian Huppert sounded tweeted “Excited at the chance of a General Election. So much more to do for Cambridge, and a real chance to change the future of the country!

Speaking to the Tab, Zeichner said “Today the Prime Minister has announced her decision to call an early General Election after telling us for months that she wouldn’t do so. This is proof that she cannot be trusted to keep her word, especially as we embark on the toughest set of negotiations in a generation. She has once again put the interests of the Conservative Party over those of the country.

“I relish the opportunity to fight an election to rid us of this awful Tory Government.  Only Labour will stand up for working people and protect the most vulnerable in our society.

“This is our opportunity to chart a different course for our country and I will be fighting tooth and nail to ensure we have a Labour Government in June.”

Julian Huppert told the Tab “I’m surprised that Theresa May has called this snap election – I’m sure it’s because she’s worried about how badly Brexit will be, and because Labour are so caught up with in-fighting at the moment.”

“I’m pleased to have a chance to stand up again for Cambridge and Cambridge’s values – I worked hard to get more money for our schools and our NHS, to defend the environment, get more affordable housing, support mental health, and much more. “
“And above all, this will be an election about Brexit. Students have been utterly let down by Tories and Labour, who have joined to force through a hard Brexit. Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will let people know that you want to preserve free movement, membership of the single market, and all the other benefits of EU membership.”

With the Liberal Democrat’s unencumbered by coalition and emboldened by Europe, and with Corbyn’s Labour looking to prove their electability, the Cambridge contest looks set to encompass much of the upcoming General Election.

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