Lib Dems unveil Chris Lucas as Hertford and Stortford candidate
Hertford and Stortford Liberal Democrats are calling for a fresh start in the constituency following Conservative MP Mark Prisk’s decision to step down at the next General Election.
The party, which came third at the last national poll in 2017, has unveiled its candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant seat.
Chris Lucas works as a lecturer at North Hertfordshire College and teaches University of Hertfordshire degree courses.
He said: “We live in unprecedented times. This Tory government is recklessly trying to take us out of the European Union without a deal and this would be a catastrophe for our country.
"I will work diligently to prevent this from happening, and I appeal to the people of Hertford and Stortford to reject both the disastrous no-deal Brexit that the Conservatives are hell-bent on delivering and the worrying prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn government."
Andrew Porrer, chairman of the constituency Lib Dem party, said: “I thank Mark Prisk for his 18 years of service locally. He has helped many constituents and taken up many worthwhile local causes.
"Sometimes this involved opposing damaging plans pushed by his Conservative colleagues on the district and county councils. However, nationally he hardly ever opposed his party, and it’s a shame that one of his final acts will have been to support the suspension of Parliament.
“It is now time for a fresh start in Hertford and Stortford, and I am pleased to announce that Liberal Democrat Chris Lucas will be offering that fresh start.”
Meanwhile, the Hertford and Stortford Labour Party has voiced its concern that the constituency's Conservative association will appoint a hard-right Johnson no-deal loyalist to contest the seat in succession to Mr Prisk.
A statement issued by the constituency party said: “Mark Prisk is the latest Conservative MP to announce that they are not contesting their seat at the next General Election. He won’t be the last MP driven out of Parliament by Boris Johnson’s lurch to the hard right.
“Many people in the Hertford and Stortford constituency were looking forward to holding Mr Prisk to account for his appalling voting record and his unrelenting support for the Government line.
“Things have reached a low point when even a loyalist like Mr Prisk can’t stomach the suspension of Parliament, the expulsion of One Nation Conservatives such as Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, and the ‘rise of narrow ideology’. We are concerned that the local association will appoint a no-deal Johnson loyalist to contest this seat.”
Labour’s Hertford and Stortford parliamentary spokesman, Chris Vince, said: “Although myself and Mr Prisk have very different political views, I thank him for his years of service to the constituency and wish him a happy retirement.
"Whoever the Conservative party select as Mr Prisk’s successor, let me assure them that they are in for a battle at the next General Election. Hertford and Stortford Labour Party are campaigning all year round, working for the community and with the community to hold this Tory local administration and this Tory government to account.”
Mr Prisk has been MP since 2001, beating Labour into second place in every election since except 2010, when the Lib Dems were runners-up.
Hertford and Stortford General Election result 2017
Mark Prisk (Con) – 36,184 votes, 60.3% (+ 4.2%)
Katherine Chibah (Lab) – 17,149 votes, 28.6% (+ 10.7%)
Mark Argent (Lib Dem) – 4,845 votes, 8.1% (+ 0.3%)
David Woollcombe (Green) – 1,814 votes, 3% (– 1.7%)
Majority 19,035 (31.7%, – 6.5%) Turnout 59,992 (72.8%, + 1.5%)