Max Wilkinson has lived in Cheltenham for ten years. A committed environmentalist, he knows the value of protecting and preserving the planet for future generations. This, combined with full-throated support of a Final Say referendum, makes him perfectly placed to claim the constituency from the Tories in what promises to be a knife-edge battle.
Cheltenham has only ever been either Lib Dem or Tory. It has never been won by Labour, who currently have only 9.5% of the vote share. In 2016, the seat voted to Remain by 57%. Almost a quarter of voters are below 35: if they all voted tactically for Max Wilkinson, a Tory hold would be all but impossible.
Team FFS: Hi Max! Can you tell us why you think tactical voting is key in Cheltenham?
The race in Cheltenham is neck and neck between myself and the Conservative candidate, who supports Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit deal. The latest YouGov poll has called the election a ‘tossup’, with Labour on less than 10%. The Green Party have stood aside as part of the More United initiative. So it’s incredibly close in this town, and every vote will matter. The choice could not be starker between Boris Johnson’s candidate who has voted for Boris Johnson’s deal and 6 times out of 6 against climate action in Parliament, or myself who has campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU since the first street stalls in Cheltenham during the referendum campaign and has been leading the town’s action against climate change – including working on the plan to make Cheltenham carbon neutral by 2030 and single-use plastic free.
Team FFS: Why do you back a Final Say on Brexit?
As a Liberal Democrat, I back Remain instinctively. I have always been pro-European, and think we are stronger as a nation when we work with our partners – particularly on the world’s biggest issues such as climate change that can’t be solved by one nation alone. Since the vote to leave in June 2016, it’s become clearer and clearer why leaving the EU – particularly with no deal or with Boris’ hard Brexit deal – is a bad idea. No deal will leave the South West £13billion poorer – that’s more than what we spend on health services in the region each year. Our public services are already struggling after years of Conservative underfunding. I’ve also been particularly disappointed at how EU citizens have been treated by this Government. There are 1,300 EU residents in Cheltenham in legal limbo right now and they deserve an MP who will stand up for them.
Team FFS: Why are young people key in Cheltenham?
Young people could make all the difference. With a vote as close as this one, every vote will matter. It could be our last chance to stop Brexit, as well as our last chance to demand real, meaningful action on climate change.