General Election 2017: Statement from South Cambs Liberal Democrat candidate Susan van de Ven

PUBLISHED: 16:22 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:24 15 May 2017

Liberal Democrat candidate Susan van de Ven.

Liberal Democrat candidate Susan van de Ven.

Archant

Brexit is the defining issue of our time. How the next government shapes a new relationship with Europe will determine what kind of society we leave for our children.

I’m a passionate community campaigner and local councillor. But I’m standing for Parliament because Theresa May’s ‘will of the people’ doesn’t include the 60 per cent of South Cambridgeshire voters who opted to Remain in the EU – and the many Leave voters who favoured a constructive EU relationship.

That vote reflects the deep EU ties of our business and research communities, and of our health and social care workforce. It reflects the knowledge of housing and education professionals that Brexit will make it harder to run day-to-day business, and impose new austerity on public services that we can ill-afford. It is anything but taking back control.

My 13 years as a councillor have brought me into contact with local firms who are unequivocal about the importance of staying in the single market and customs union.

During this time I’ve witnessed the varied lives people lead. Ours is an affluent area, yet people struggle because they are physically isolated or can’t find affordable homes. We can’t afford a hard Brexit.

My work has centred on affordable, sustainable transport, through community action. I founded the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, which successfully lobbied for half-hourly off-peak services, and brokered a 50 per cent rail discount for 16 to18 year-olds which is unique nationally.

I launched the A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign, championing a link between Cambridge and Royston – now well progressed through a collaborative approach. I’d like to see a genuine cycle network across the villages, high-standard links to rail, and far better supported bus and community transport services.

Sadly as the voting record shows, a Conservative MP is subject to the party whip. It is incredibly painful to see that power for power’s sake has driven the Tories to bend over backwards in appeasing the extreme right wing for the sake of more votes.

It is equally painful that there has been no meaningful Labour opposition. Power without challenge is dangerous.

Liberal Democrats offer opposition with a clear message: we need the strongest possible relationship with the EU, and a say in the final deal.

As an immigrant with a mixed-nationality family of my own, I empathise with the profound uncertainty that has beset many people’s lives.

A world that is open to Europe offers our young people so many more opportunities. For their sakes let’s open doors, not close them.

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