General Election 2015: Last SWL Liberal Democrat Tom Brake urges party to fight against nationalism

South west London’s remaining Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake has called on his party to lead the fight against the growth of nationalism after retaining his seat in Carshalton and Wallington.

There was speculation that he would lose to Conservative candidate Matthew Maxwell Scott but edged out his rival by a mere 1,510 votes.

Mr Brake has held the seat since 1997 and vowed that the party would begin to rebuild and reflect on the election immediately.

“There has to be some rebuilding and it starts right now,” said Mr Brake. “I think as a party we still have a major contribution to make.

“It looks as though nationalism is on the rise, if you look at the SNP in Scotland and the threat that it might be on the rise in England.

“That is why we need a strong, sound liberal party that can play a role in fighting for the value of liberalism.

“There is an increased risk of the UK splintering with the rise of the SNP and UKIP during this election and I think nationalism is always something which liberalism has something to say about.”

The Liberal Democrats were projected to get only ten seats when the exit polls were released, a fraction of what they won in 2010.

Mr Brake’s focus was on the national state of this party but he was at a loss to explain the reason for his party’s demise.

“I was nervous before the result was announced and I am still very despondent because of what has happened at a national level,” he added.

“We took a very large hit and have a period of reflection and see what we can learn from this.

“We always anticipated that when you go into coalition as a junior partner, you would lose seats.

“All of the evidence from across Europe shows that the junior partner always takes an enormous hit come the next election but I don’t think anyone thought that it would be on this scale.

“Our plan for the next few days will be to reflect on what has happened during the General Election and work out what sort of a strategy we can adopt from here on.

“I can’t say what that will be yet until we know how many seats we have left.”

Despite his devastation, Mr Brake sent out a clear message to his constituency that he would continue to fight against the closure of St Helier’s hospital.

“It’s too early to say that whether a change of government will have any implications on the future of St Helier’s,” he said.

“The campaign will continue and remains my priority.

“That was the thing I focused most on during my campaign and it will continue to be during my next five years in office.”

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