Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey eyes up London target seats as local election campaign begins

Tap above for video report by Simon Harris

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has kicked off his party’s local election campaign in south west London.

The Lib Dems are hoping to make big gains in Merton where their parliamentary candidate came within 628 votes of beating Wimbledon Tory MP Stephen Hammond in the 2019 General Election.

Parts of south west London are regarded as Liberal Democrat strongholds.

The party currently controls three councils: Kingston, Richmond and Sutton and has three MPs in south west London constituencies.

"A vote for the Liberal Democrats at the local elections sends a strong message to the Conservatives that they must stop taking people for granted," Mr Davey told ITV News.

"The Liberal Democrats want a fair deal for people with an emergency tax cut for struggling families and pensioners with a £600 tax cut.

"We want a new ambulance fund so when they dial 999 they know the ambulance will be there.

"And we want support for children who are recovering from Covid in schools," the Lib Dem leader added.

Sir Ed Davey helps clear rubbish from the River Wandle during the launch of his party's local election campaign

The Conservatives are the second largest party in Merton with 17 seats to Labour’s 34. The Liberal Democrats have six seats.

All 32 London boroughs are being contested on May 5th. 

Labour had a 30 point lead over the Conservatives in London, according to an opinion poll last month.

The Deltapoll survey for London Communications Agency put:

  • Labour on 54%

  • Conservatives on 24%

  • Liberal Democrats on 9%

  • Greens on 5%

Labour is targeting Conservative-held Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster.

But the party is involved in a tight race with the Tories in Croydon where the Labour-controlled council was effectively declared bankrupt after a financial scandal.

In Tower Hamlets, Labour mayor John Biggs is up against former mayor Lutfur Rahman who was banned from public office for five years after an election court found him guilty of ‘corrupt and illegal practices’.