Tom Brake dismisses Lib Dem coalition as he retains seat by narrow margin

Tom Brake has dismissed the idea of the Liberal Democrats entering a coalition after he defeated the Conservatives in Carshalton and Wallington by 1,369 votes.

Mr Brake beat Conservative Matthew Maxwell-Scott by a narrow margin and the victory gives the Liberal Democrats another five years in a seat which they have controlled since 1997.

In a tight contest Mr Brake received 20,819 of the votes cast, 41% in total, compared to 19,450 for Maxwell-Scott.

With the Lib Dems guaranteed more MPs going forward than before,  Mr Brake sees an opportunity for his party to challenge the Conservatives in the future on issues such as Brexit.

He said: “It’s not a brilliant night for the party but it’s been a good night.

“We’ve improved our results from two years ago and we’ve now got more people in Parliament.

“There will certainly be no formal coalition with any of the other parties.

“There may be more opportunities for the Liberal Democrats to challenge the Conservatives, either to join forces with them on issues or to join with other parties.

“This should ensure that this future Parliament is more dynamic.”

It has been a mixed night for the Liberal Democrats nationally, with former leader Nick Clegg being defeated in Sheffield while heavyweight Vince Cable was elected back into power in Twickenham after being dumped in 2015.

Mr Brake added: “This has been quite a strange election for everyone but I am pleased that we got Vince Cable back because he is someone who has consistently been able to put across some really complicated economic issues that people can understand and grasp.

“He is more than an intellectual match for anyone who can be put up by any of the other parties in a treasury capacity.”

Having served 20 years as the MP for Carshalton and Wallington, Mr Brake is determined to not bask in his success, instead intending to get straight back to work fighting on issues which matter to his constituents.

He said: “I know that from Monday morning we will again be focussing on the things that matter in Carshalton and Wallington such as St Helier hospital and ensuring that we fight for more schools funding.

“This has been a great victory for the Liberal Democrats here, against all odds.”

Despite the impressive victory, Brake’s majority decreased despite winning more votes than in 2015.

Two years ago the Lib Dems received 16,603 votes – 4,216 fewer than Mr Brake received tonight.

With regards to how his party should operate in Parliament, Brake is adamant that the Lib Dems must be flexible with who they side with going forward.

He said: “We will want to look at what each of the parties are proposing and there may be issues on which we have some common ground.

“Even in the last Parliament there were some issues where we supported the government.

“If they bring forward proposals which we agree on we will support them.”

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