Vince Cable has dismissed Labour’s claims of growing support in Twickenham, ahead of Tessa Jowell MP’s Monday visit to his constituency, saying his opponents are not a ‘credible force’.
Ms Jowell will give a speech at St Mary’s University in Twickenham in support of Labour candidate Nick Grant.
The business secretary told SW Londoner: “I suspect Tessa Jowell’s appearance in Twickenham has much more to do with her search for support in the Labour party for her mayoral campaign than it does for the General Election.”
The business secretary has held his seat since 1997 when the Lib Dems won the historically safe Conservative seat from their current coalition partners, their majority has held at around the 20% mark for the past two general elections.
Nick Grant is focusing his efforts on voters disillusioned with the coalition who supported Vince Cable as an opposition figure in the 2010 election.
Mr Cable said: “Labour have never won a general election here and haven’t achieved second place for 40 years.
“Obviously I don’t take anything for granted but I don’t think Labour is a credible force in the constituency. At the local elections last May Labour failed to win a single seat in the 11 Twickenham wards.”
Out of the 11 Twickenham wards, Labour were beaten into 4th or 5th place in 8 of them, coming below the Greens, UKIP and independent candidates.
Mr Cable, one of four Lib Dem MPs in south west London, said there was no evidence to suggest this trend had changed and that Labour are a ‘distant third’ to his own ‘very substantial’ personal support.
He said: “Twickenham has traditionally always been either a Liberal Democrat seat or a Conservative seat.
“In this election the choice is clear for those people who want to influence who will be their MP after May – they can either vote for me or they can vote Conservative.”
Mr Cable said that ‘traditional Labour voters’ who don’t want to see a Conservative victory in Twickenham ‘must consider how best to use their vote to stop that from happening’.
The subject of tactical voting has been addressed by Mr Grant who told SW Londoner that the battle for Twickenham would be a ‘straight fight’ with voters giving up on tactical voting.
The so-called ‘squeeze messages’ where leading parties try to deter voters from ‘tactical’ or ‘protest’ votes that weaken essential support has also been condemned by the Lambeth Greens.
Picture courtesy of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with thanks