Meet the anti-Brexit Green and Lib Dem candidates trying to overturn Jeremy Corbyn's 21k Islington North majority
PUBLISHED: 13:29 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:38 31 May 2017
Fighting Labour in Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North stronghold is hard work.
Ahead of next Thursday’s general election, the Gazette is following Green candidate Caroline Russell on a door-knocking session in Calabria Road, Highbury.
One of the handsome houses has a “Vote Labour” poster on the front window. She tries her luck anyway. A man in his early 60s answers the door. Ms Russell starts: “Hello! I am the Gre–”
“Don’t even bother,” he interjects. The door slams shut as she chirps: “OK, bye!”
The Conservatives may have finished second in Islington North in 2015, but the Greens and Lib Dems have been Islington Labour’s most visible opposition since the 2014 local elections.
They have gone all-out for next week’s poll, claiming Labour leader Mr Corbyn – who did not respond to an interview request – has failed constituents by voting in favour of Brexit when 78 per cent were against it.
But the fact remains: he has a massive majority of 21,194.
Other Calabria Road voters are more sympathetic to Ms Russell’s message: it takes her just two minutes to woo one teacher, who promptly plasters a “vote Green” poster on her window.
Ms Russell says: “I’ve said it many, many times. I’ve lived in Islington North for 25 years. I have huge respect for Jeremy’s work as a constituency MP.
“But this is politics. I have fundamentally different views to him on leaving the EU. I have fundamentally different views to him on needing a new voting system.”
Lib Dem candidate Keith Angus, meanwhile, claims his party is making a recovery after being bombed out of Islington Council in the 2014 elections.
“People are particularly supportive of our anti-Brexit message,” he said. “Within that group are Labour voters who are no longer supporting Jeremy. There’s no denying that his support has eroded.
“When people are switching from Labour in Islington North, it is overwhelmingly to the Lib Dems. Since June last year, there’s beeen a disconnect in a way we haven’t seen before.
“Yes, it’s a big majority to overturn. But we work on the basis that the Lib Dems overturned an even bigger majority [Zac Goldsmith’s 23,015 in Richmond Park] in the by-election a few months ago and our message has resonated.”