General Election 2019: Emily Thornberry says Brexit is not only issue in her constituency
PUBLISHED: 15:42 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:37 07 November 2019
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MP Emily Thornberry says Brexit may be the main election issue in her constituency’s “leafier lanes”, but elsewhere people are simply trying to make ends meet.
The Islington South & Finsbury MP - who has a majority of 20,263 from the 2017 election - says cuts to benefits, health and social care, and housing are what most people are worried about on the doorstep, which only a Labour government can solve.
She told the Gazette: "On the leafier lanes of my constituency the priority is certainly Brexit but in the other half of my constituency it's challenging to make ends meet when September comes around. The question is: can you afford the school uniform? Christmas is coming up, how much can you afford to spend on the catalogue."
A favoured Tory attack line is to paint Islington as an out of touch elitist area.
At the Conservative party conference home secretary Priti Patel, who was born in Highbury, said: "This daughter of immigrants needs no lectures from the north London, metropolitan, liberal elite."
But Ms Thornberry said: "We have some of the richest and poorest people in the country living in Islington.
"We do have leafy lanes, cappuccino bars and Georgian squares, and they are beautiful areas to walk around, especially in Autumn. But we also have some of the worst child poverty and you have people from everywhere and every background."
On the election itself, Ms Thornberry warned that the Tories came second in Islington South & Finsbury at the last poll (taking 9,925 votes to her 30,188), and Labour voters shouldn't be complacent.
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"If you don't vote Labour there's a chance a Tory will get it," she added. "Those who might be tempted to vote Lib Dem or Green, I understand where they're coming from, but to do that is letting a Tory in."
Responding to claims the Lib Dems could cause an upset on December 12, she said she hadn't seen any of their campaigners yet.
Ms Thornberry continued: "I have not seen them about. People will see us about going door to door, and we will try to get to every door, asking for their support because we never take it for granted. Maybe we will see some Lib Dems en route, but I doubt it."
On her Lib Dems rival Kate Pothlingham, Ms Thornberry said: "When she spends some time in Islington South I hope she can learn what I'm about - a good constituency MP."
Nationally, Ms Thornberry says "disgusting" rhetoric from Conservative MPs like Jacob Rees-Mogg could harm the party, and only Labour will offer a second Brexit referendum.
She added: "I think, if the last week is anything to go on, we are going to do really well - the Tories are in the process of imploding.
"The thing about a general election, quite often, is that they can expose fundamental weaknesses - and the Conservative party hard-right has some people who have no experience of life. To hear Rees-Mogg claiming because he was more clever than people who live in tower blocks he would have survived [the Grenfell fire disaster that killed 72 people], it was so disgusting. The superiority and the sneering and the complete lack of empathy of all those people who died."
Ms Thornberry added: "The ruthless politicians of the extreme right Conservative party have been exposed - they have taken over the party,"
Ex Labour MP Ian Austin became an independent in February and today urged people to vote for Boris Johnson over Jeremy Corbyn.
Ms Thornberry added: "Ian Austin has been very angry for a very long time and left the Labour Party some time ago. He has changed his politics."
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