General Election 2019: South Cambridgeshire Tory candidate describes Liberal Democrats as ‘omnishambles’
Anthony Browne, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for South Cambridgeshire, has hit back after a poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrats put them ahead of the Tories.
The survey of 410 people in the constituency, carried out by pollsters Survation, suggested 40 per cent would vote for the Lib Dems, while 36 per cent would favour the Conservatives, if the General Election was held tomorrow.
But Mr Browne, who has said the result of the 2016 referendum must be respected, told the Cambridge Independent: “This is just another dodgy Lib Dem poll and has as much credibility as their leader saying she will be the next Prime Minister.
“It is a totally unrepresentative sample commissioned by the Lib Dems which promotes the Lib Dems.
“It is as believable as if politicians commissioned a survey saying they are loved by the public.”
Heidi Allen was elected as a Conservative to the traditionally safe Tory seat in 2015 and re-elected in 2017, but last month switched to the Lib Dems after two spells as an independent, either side of being interim leader of Change UK.
Ian Sollom, who had been announced as the Lib Dem candidate for South Cambridgeshire, stood aside to make way for her.
But Ms Allen, a prominent remainer, who left the Tories partly because she was disillusioned with the party’s position on Brexit, surprised constituents by announcing last month that she would not stand for re-election after intrusion into her personal life and threats.
That led to Mr Sollom returning to the fold for the Lib Dems, who shocked the Tories last year by wrenching control of South Cambridgeshire District Council from them.
But Mr Browne said: “The Lib Dems came third in South Cambs with a tiny share of the vote in the only poll that matters - the last general election.
“The Lib Dem candidate is their reject candidate that they sacked when they adopted Heidi Allen, and has now been brought back from the shadows.
“They are the omnishambles party who have changed candidate twice in the last month.”
The poll by Survation suggested that the Brexit Party would effectively split the Brexit vote in South Cambridgeshire by winning seven per cent of support.
Mr Sollom said it represented “evidence” he could win in the constituency.
But Mr Browne, a former journalist who was policy director for economic development for Boris Johnson when he was mayor of London, suggested it was the Lib Dems who may have a surprise coming.
“Our canvassing shows not just that our vote is holding up but that lifelong Lib Dem voters are ditching them because of their anti-democratic policy of just cancelling the referendum,” he said.
Labour secured 12 per cent and the Greens had four per cent in the survey, which follows another poll by Survation for the Liberal Democrats suggesting their candidate, Rod Cantrill, would win control of the Cambridge seat from Labour’s Daniel Zeichner at the December 12 election.