South West Surrey Liberal Democrats have confirmed that their candidate Ollie Purkiss will be standing after all, despite local supporters backing a progressive alliance to oust Jeremy Hunt. The NHA Party finds this particularly disappointing from a party which has benefited from alliances elsewhere in the country, including the National Health Action Party agreeing not to stand their own candidate in Oxford West & Abingdon.
In SW Surrey there are special circumstances. Taking on the Health Secretary requires a very specific skill set, and as a campaigning GP, Dr Louise Irvine is ideally placed to do it.
Dr Louise Irvine said,
I know the Greens will support me. I remain profoundly grateful to those Liberal Democrats in SW Surrey who both initiated the Progressive Alliance and have been so supportive and helpful to me. I believe that the Labour Party members will honour their commitment not to campaign for the candidate they had imposed on them, not of their own choice. I have great respect for the three who risked expulsion from the Labour Party they love.
But, of course, I am disappointed in the Liberal Democrats. It was them standing aside for Martin Bell that made the famous Tatton victory possible. And it was the Lib Dems who made our own Dr Richard Taylor’s 18,000 majority in Kidderminster possible. If the combined votes of the Lib Dems and NHA equal or exceed those of Jeremy Hunt on the day the results are announced, I think they will deeply regret this decision.
With sufficient support and commitment we still believe that we can achieve our very own ‘Portillo moment’ in SW Surrey.