Furious man takes out anti-Brexit advert in local Northumberland newspaper

'Don’t let a catfight in the Conservative party ruin Britain,' he says

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Indy Politics

A Facebook campaign has been launched to support an independent anti-Brexit candidate to stand in a pro-Leave constituency in Northumberland.

Steven Ford took out a full page advert in local paper, the Hexham Courant, last week, saying he would stand as an independent candidate if he can get 10,000 expressions of support on the Facebook page by 9 May.

It said the “Tories plan to deliver a Hard Brexit at any cost to the UK", the Lib Dems "prefer a Soft Brexit”, while neither Labour nor the Greens are willing to challenge the referendum result.

This is not strictly true as the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have put the promise of a second referendum in their manifesto.

The advert continued: “If more than ten thousand Hexham constituency voters register their interest before 9th May then an independent candidate campaigning to stop Brexit will stand in Hexham.

“Don’t let a catfight in the Conservative party ruin Britain."

But the campaign is at odds with a constituency that voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU, alongside much of the North East, except Newcastle. 

The Leave vote won by a landslide in South Tyneside, by 49,065 votes to 30,014 for Remain, on a turnout of 79 per cent.

If he gains the required support, he will be running against Guy Opperman, a Conservative MP who campaigned for Remain during the referendum campaign.

Following the result Mr Opperman called for the region to “move on” from the vote and the divisions it caused.

He later became one of the 498 MPs who voted in favour of the bill triggering Article 50 when it passed through Parliament in February. 

Dr Ford, a retired GP, first stood for Parliament in the same seat in 2010 having become disillusioned with political meddling in the NHS and won 4.5 per cent of the vote, narrowly losing his deposit.

But this latest endeavour may backfire as an independent candidate is unlikely to unseat an MP with a majority of over 12,000.

Some have criticised the campaign on Facebook, saying it draws support from mainstream parties which have a chance of winning.

Bill Day said: “Just adding another candidate will only dilute the vote and get nowhere in shifting negotiations. 

“Voting Lib Dem has the chance to get an MP who could oppose a silly Brexit, even to the point of reversing it. 

“People shouldn't be subverted by this last minute exercise which will only play into Conservative hands   

Caroline Ludlow said the campaign was “unlikely to get much traction, so the only thing they are likely to achieve its self-promotion and a split in the anti-Brexit vote". 

“If they don't like other parties' stances why not talk to them, identify the most anti-Brexit candidate and get a commitment from them to fight Brexit all the way, even if that means defying the party whip,” she added.

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