Tooting Bec tube Station

‘No emotional baggage’: SDP hope for comeback in Tooting

By Matt Verri
December 9 2019, 09.45

Tooting’s SDP candidate Roz Hubley is hoping to defy the odds and her own team when she stands for the first time in an election.

The party has failed to make an impact since it was created 38 years ago in 1981 but is fielding 20 candidates in this election which is their largest group since 1987.

Ms Hubley was the only candidate not invited to the hustings in Tooting during this campaign, but that is not stopping her from going into the vote with lofty hopes.

“My team say I’ll be lucky to get 300 votes, they’ve got a sweepstake going on for how many I get,” she said.

“I’d quite like to win, even if I know it’s probably not going to happen.

“But you can’t go into something just thinking about how much you’re going to lose by.

“We have no money to spend, we’ve got our leaflets and ourselves putting our hearts and souls into it – that’s it.”

Ms Hubley’s decision to run in Tooting was motivated by a struggle to identify with any of the parties, rather than any political motivation.

“I’ve always voted Labour, but for the last two elections I voted for Dan Watkins and the Conservatives here, more for the man than the party,” she said.

“I couldn’t vote for Labour anymore, Jeremy Corbyn didn’t speak for me and he doesn’t speak for a lot of others.

“The SDP are targeting particularly safe Labour seats, to give people that choice who don’t want to vote for the established parties and feel lost.

“I’ve lived in Tooting for 20 years and nobody has ever knocked on my door in an election campaign.”

The SDP gained its first MEP in its current form last year when Patrick O’Flynn defected from UKIP.

However, Ms Hubley has urged voters to view the current party as a new political force free from any negative associations with other groups.

“The SDP’s big mistake in the past was joining with the Liberals, who are no longer liberal and no longer democratic,” she said.

“As we are now, we’re regarded as a fresh face and we don’t have any emotional baggage which is really important to potential voters.

“The SDP don’t have the strong personalities, no leader imposing a personality on our party.

“Why can’t we keep growing in the future? We don’t know what the future holds in politics.”

Read more about what’s important to south west London constituencies in our 24-page General Election preview special.

Related Articles