Will South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats stand down their candidate Ian Sollom and back incumbent Independent MP Heidi Allen against a close Johnson ally with a record of writing inflammatory articles on immigration and race relations?
Today has been full of speculation about when the date of the next general election will be, the Prime Minister plays a political game with very high stakes for the rest of us on whether the UK will crash out of the EU with ‘No Deal’. The latest is that opposition party leaders have declined his request to have a general election before the European Council meeting when any final request for an extension can be put.
Mr Sollom says the next election will be crucial:
South Cambridgeshire will be very difficult to call because there are so many uncertainties – alongside a rapidly changing and growing constituency that saw South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats crush their Conservative opponents on South Cambs District Council in 2018, securing 66% of the seats until the next round of elections in 2022.
With the exception of Samuel Montagu (Liberal) and Albert Stubbs (Labour), the lands around Cambridge have only ever had Conservative MPs – and the former was part of the coalition under Lloyd George that teamed up with the Conservatives in the latter part of the First World War and the immediate years after. So the current situation of not having control of either the district council or the parliamentary seat is something of a constitutional outrage in the context of the past 200 years of local history. Ditto the case for Cambridge itself – hence why ministers still rock up to the place pretending like it’s still a safe Conservative constituency.
Whatever Ms Allen and the South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats decide, they need to decide quickly because their main political opponent is already campaigning.
It remains to be seen what the opposition parties choose to do in South East Cambridgeshire next door, where the incumbent MP is Solicitor General Lucy Frazer QC MP. Given her public support for Mr Johnson in the leadership campaign despite representing a constituency that voted Remain, the Liberal Democrats see a possible upset in a constituency that straddles part of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s area.
We live in interesting times.