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Cambridge Lib Dem MP candidate Rod Cantrill says: “I’ll fight to stop Brexit”

Lib Dem MP candidate Rod Cantrill . Picture: Keith Heppell
Lib Dem MP candidate Rod Cantrill . Picture: Keith Heppell

New Lib Dem MP candidate is a passionate remainer

Liberal Democrat Rod Cantrill says he is ready to take on Labour in Cambridge at the next general election on a platform aimed at making it easier for people to live and work in the city.

He told the Cambridge Independent he will continue to fight Brexit and, if necessary, will even work with other parties in Westminster to bring about a second referendum.

The passionate remainer, the son of a Nottinghamshire miner, has lived in Cambridge for more than three decades and was elected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats at a meeting on January 6.

He will now try and plot the downfall of city’s Labour MP Daniel Zeichner, who saw off two challenges from the Lib Dems’ previous candidate and one-time MP, Julian Huppert. Cllr Cantrill has Brexit high in his sights along with a weighting scheme to help with affordable housing in the city.

A city councillor for more than a decade, he was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor last year.

In the countywide elections he came first in Cambridge against Labour and did the same in South Cambridgeshire against the Conservatives.

Cllr Cantrill, who runs his own financial advisory company, said: “Firstly, I am a passionate European. I will do whatever it takes to stop Brexit. If that means working with other politicians in other parties in parliament, I will do it.

“If it means fighting a general election on the deal that is negotiated, I will do it. If it means fighting a second referendum on the deal that is negotiated I will do it.

“I am not a person who says we should ignore the previous referendum, I think you have to respect the democratic process. But that wasn’t held on a specific deal, it was on a principle and I think the British public deserve to have a say whether we press on with Brexit or exit from it.”

A trustee of the homelessness charity Wintercomfort for 10 years, Cllr Cantrill added: “I have seen the social inequalities in Cambridge and I have seen how they have got greater over the years. What we need to do now is move on to a weighted living wage because the cost of living in Cambridge is almost comparable to the cost of living in London.

“The living wage in London has a weighting and Oxford has a similar type of mechanism. We need to argue for that in Cambridge because even with the real living wage in Cambridge, people are struggling to make ends meet. The cost of housing along has seen rents go up by 20 per cent on average across the city over the last three years.

“It is not just about buying it is about renting property. Even affordable property is not affordable for normal workers like teachers and nurses. I know of teachers living in March but working in Cambridge.

“One couple planned to move back to County Durham where they could buy a four-bedroom house for £150,000, walk to work, have quality of life that did not involve commuting for an hour a day and enabled them to start a family.

“The reason we have a shortage of teachers in Cambridgeshire is partly because of that. People look at their way of life and it becomes a major issue for them.”

With an upbringing in a small Nottinghamshire mining village and his success at going to university and running his own business, the Liberal Democrats will hope he can have the broad appeal that propelled Dr Huppert to victory in 2010.

He added: “Voters want people to do politics differently. They want politicians to be honest with them, they want to have an open conversation with them and for them to address their issues and aspirations.

“That’s what I found in the mayoral campaign. Even though I lost overall, I won in Cambridge against Labour and in South Cambs against the Conservatives.

“My background, because of where I was brought up, means I have a heritage for the Labour voter but because I am self made, I went to university and run my own company, I have resonance with the Conservative voter as well, particularly on Europe.

“I like to think as they look at me, they are looking at somebody they can relate to. I am more than just a politician. I do a lot of other things, I run my own company, I run marathons and I am a trustee on Wintercomfort to name just a few.

“In Cambridge, what people are looking for, particularly in relation to Brexit, is for politicians to be held to account for their actions relative to what they say on Brexit. It is a critical issue.”

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