Tim Farron’s battle bus began its journey in Surbiton this week as the Lib Dems launched their bid to reclaim seats across south west London.
Despite the rain dozens of supporters turned out to cheer on the party leader, flanked by heavy hitters Ed Davey and Vince Cable, as well as newcomer Sarah Olney, who are all contesting seats in this area.
Following Sarah Olney’s unseating of Zac Goldsmith in Richmond Park six months ago the Lib Dems are looking to re-establish themselves in what had been a stronghold until the last general election.
Olney said: “I am very confident I will be welcoming [Vince Cable and Ed Davey] back to the House of Commons.”
“We are the only opposition to a hard Bexit.”
That was the message of the day: The Lib Dems, not Labour, would be the most effective opposition to a hard Tory Brexit and the result isn’t a foregone conclusion.
The other candidates were optimistic about their chances and aware of the importance of the area for the party’s success nationally.
Vince Cable, former cabinet minister and parliamentary candidate for Twickenham , said: “What people are saying to me a lot is ‘welcome back’.
“There is growing enthusiasm, a bit more than last time!
“There are big, big, big battles to fight to fight, we need a very strong Liberal Democratic representation in this area.”
Both Ed Davey and Vince Cable had lost their seats to conservatives in the 2015 general election which saw the party fall to only eight seats nationally and lose all but one in London.
Mr Farron said: “It would be fantastic to welcome Vince back into parliament – his knowledge and experience are a huge asset to our party.”
With Theresa May telling foreign leaders that she will win the election the Lib Dems are looking to make sure she has a real battle on her hands.
Mr Farron believes the party can provide a home for all those ‘crying into their latte’ about the state of politics.
He said: “She expects a landslide, our job is not to give it to her.
“This will not be a coronation, this will be a contest.”
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