Tim Farron is hoping his party will see a big upswing in June’s electionLouis Ashworth

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron has told Varsity that the upcoming General Election is the “last chance” for students to vote to keep Britain in the European Union.

Farron visited Cambridge this morning, vowing to fight the Conservative government over Brexit as well as supporting local candidates for the Mayoralty and parliamentary seats.

His appearance came ahead of a string of elections in the city, where seats on the County Council will also be contested. Cambridge is one of the Lib Dems’ top target seats for June’s General Elections, and a tight contest with Labour is expected over the coming weeks.

Current projection suggest that Cambridge’s parliamentary seat, a super-marginal which was won by one of the smallest margins in 2015’s election, will swing back to the Lib Dems at the General Election.

Farron addressed around fifty local activists in Chesterton ward, and offered a strong endorsement for Julian Huppert, the Lib Dem candidate for MP, and the party’s nominee for the race to choose Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s first Mayor, Rod Cantrill. He also supported a local development of 50 affordable homes in the ward, which is to the East of the city.

Julian Huppert (left), Tim Farron and Mayoral candidate Rod CantrillLouis Ashworth

Speaking to Varsity, Farron said “This is a discussion, and an election, about Britain’s future. It seems to me the younger you are, the more likely you were to vote Remain, and indeed the more damaging for a longer period Brexit, and a hard Brexit, will be to you. This is probably your last chance to change the direction of the rest of your life and only the Liberal Democrats will give you any hope whatsoever that the outcome of this could be that Britain remains in the European Union.”

He told activists that Cambridge was “one of the most important seats in the country”, as he seeks to overturn Daniel Zeichner’s narrow majority of 599 votes. Farron also slammed the Labour Party, who are currently trailing heavily in the polls: “there is nothing more dangerous to a democracy than a government with an enormous majority, and an appalling opposition”.


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Huppert told the crowd that the Lib Dems “will lead the fight” against Brexit, opposing a Conservative government that is “becoming more and more nasty, more and more right-wing”.

Farron is the second ‘big beast’ to arrive in the city in the run up to the vote on June 8th. On Saturday, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, arrived to endorse sitting MP Daniel Zeichner.

The votes of the 20,000-strong student community in Cambridge is likely to be crucial to the outcome of the election in Cambridge, with all parties encouraging students to register to vote at university in the hope of gathering crucial votes. Speaking to Varsity, former Cambridge Students Liberal Democrats chair Sophie Bell was upbeat about Liberal Democrat prospects, saying “this is a completely different set of circumstance from 2015”, when the party won just eight seats. Bell also emphasised Julian Huppert’s academic background, saying “It’s very important to have a member of Parliament that is a voice for British science”

Varsity’s Matt Gutteridge puts the tough questions to the Lib Dem leaderLouis Ashworth

Last week, Huppert told Varsity he was hearing from voters who “didn’t get involved in the run up to the Brexit vote”, and has claimed on social media that former Labour and Conservative voters in city have told that they will support the Lib Dems instead, over frustration with both main parties’ stances on Brexit.

Farron repeatedly emphasised the importance of the Lib Dems’ stance in the Brexit debate. As an area, Cambridge saw an extremely high vote for Remain in last year’s referendum on EU membership. Market Ward, in the centre of the city, saw the highest Remain vote of any ward in the country.

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