As the only major-party candidate who lives in the constituency, it comes as no surprise that Daisy Cooper knows the issues faced by St Albans inside and out. Her involvement in local campaigns is incredibly broad (from Save St Albans Pubs to the commuter action group) – but her vision for the future is global. She has fought for LGBT+ rights abroad, and wants the UK to become a world leader in tackling the climate emergency. She fully supports a Final Say referendum.
St Albans voted to stay in the EU by 62%, and has had a Tory MP for the last 20 years. But this election is different. A high proportion of young people and students, high pro-EU sentiment and Cooper’s popularity amongst local voters mean this constituency could be swung away from the Tories – just – if Labour voters tactically support Cooper.
Team FFS: Hi Daisy! Can you tell us why you think tactical voting is key in St Albans?
The British ‘first past the post’ system means that tactical voting is always key in UK parliament elections. In 2017 I came second as the Liberal Democrat candidate and so Labour voters that want to change their current Conservative MP should tactically vote for me as the best chance to do so. It’s not just Labour voters that are adding their support to my campaign. Greens concerned about the climate crisis will see that our manifesto has scored better than the Conservative’s, and Remainers from all parties are choosing my longstanding support for a People’s Vote over the hard-Brexit policies of the current MP. I think people realise that it is vital that we put aside small differences and focus on the big issues that unite us in this election.
Team FFS: Why do you back a final say referendum on any Brexit outcome?
Let’s face it: after three years and three prime ministers, everyone thinks Brexit is a national humiliation and there is no form of Brexit that has convinced the people to get behind it. While the Tories have wanted to force a destructive Brexit on the public, the Liberal Democrats have been leading the call for a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal for years. We have tabled amendments for a People’s Vote on Brexit 17 times and voted in favour of a People’s Vote at every opportunity we had. Sadly, the numbers weren’t there in Parliament and we ended up with this General Election instead. In a People’s Vote, we want Remain to be on the ballot paper and we would continue to lead that campaign to Remain. As this general election may be the closest we get to a People’s Vote on Brexit, we still wanted Remain to be on the ballot paper and so we have set a policy that we’d revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU if the people gave us a democratic mandate to do so. In all other circumstances, we’ll be calling for whoever is in Number 10 to put their deal (when they’ve finally got one) back to the people for the final say.
Team FFS: Why do you think young people and students are so important in this election?
In St Albans, the election is going to be very close with perhaps a few hundred votes deciding whether we will have a Conservative or a Liberal Democrat MP. Statistically speaking, older people are much more likely to vote and they tend to vote for Conservatives. On the other hand, youth turnout is around 40-50% and tends to support the Liberal Democrats, Labour or Green parties. That means there is lots of scope for an increase in youth vote. When the result in St Albans is likely to be so close, young voters choosing the Liberal Democrats really could change the result and deprive Boris Johnson of another hard Brexit MP.