Tooting’s Rosena warns Remainers not to vote tactically

By Matt Verri
December 9 2019, 10.20

Labour’s candidate in Tooting Rosena Allin-Khan insisted the party must avoid any tactical voting alliances with Liberal Democrats in the election.

There have been calls from many Remain supporters for Labour and the Lib Dems to come to an agreement in certain constituencies where senior Conservatives are vulnerable.

In Kensington, for example, where 68% voted to remain in the EU referendum, the parties have decided not to form an agreement in this election.

Labour received just 20 more votes than the Conservatives in Kensington in 2017, and the refusal of the Lib Dems or Labour to stand down could split the Remain vote and allowing the Tories to win the seat.

But Dr Allin-Khan has made it clear that she does not see the Lib Dems as an ally of the Labour party anywhere across the country.

“I don’t agree with tactical voting because I don’t believe in what the Lib Dems stand for,” she said.

“They campaigned for a referendum but now they want to revoke Article 50, which is undemocratic.

“They were in a coalition with the Tories and they played a role in austerity policies, and they are the reason why so many students are crippled with debt.

“While it’s important we don’t allow the Tories to get in power I don’t see the Lib Dems as a real alternative.”

There is little chance of tactical voting in Tooting though, which has been held by Labour since the seat was created in 1974.

Despite this, and a majority of more than 15,000, Dr Allin-Khan refuses to see the constituency as a safe seat.

“I have a big majority, but that’s because I was rewarded for voting against triggering Article 50,” she said.

“It’s often been a Tory-Labour marginal in the past, but people trust me as a strong local voice so there’s a real personal element to campaigning.”

Indeed, Dr Allin-Khan will be pushing personal experiences when she seeks re-election as Tooting’s MP.

She continues to work shifts as an A&E doctor at St George’s Hospital, as well as being involved with Balham Boxing Club and Dr Allin-Khan feels her outside work feeds into her life as a politician.

“The NHS comes up time and time again on the doorsteps,” she said.

“In an emergency department when I look around at St George’s, everything is on display – people’s hopes, fears, pains, and their courage.

“It’s a microcosm of our society. My work in the NHS gives me a legitimate voice to talk about people’s experiences because I live and breathe it.”

Dr Allin-Khan admits she likes to keep busy, but her passion for boxing goes beyond simply wanting to exercise.

Tooting has suffered from serious knife crime over the last couple of years, and local communities such as boxing clubs are seen as a way of keeping young people away from trouble.

“Boxing gyms like the one in Balham provide an outlet for physical activity and discipline,” she said.

“Reacting to crime is not good enough, we have to be proactive.

“The majority of stabbings happen between 4pm and 6pm – children need a safe space to go to after school like a boxing gym is incredibly important.

Tooting’s Conservative candidate Kerry Briscoe believes there is more to issues such as education than just funding.

“Labour will tell you that recklessly spending money is the only answer,” she said.

“Education is complicated and it neither starts nor ends in the classroom.

“I am supporting extra funding for our schools and teachers. That’s just one aspect of my plan for Tooting’s education.”

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

Related Articles