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In the last of our four-part General Election series, the head of the University of Bristol Liberal Democrat society tells us why you should vote yellow on 8th June…

When Bristol’s students go to the polls on the 8th June to cast their votes in the 2017 General Election they will be confronted with some stark choices. This article makes the case that there is only one national party espousing the values which I know many Bristol students hold dear and that party is the Liberal Democrats.

At the centre of the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto for the nation in 2017 is a key principle which I believe correlates with the beliefs of many Bristol students. We oppose Brexit. Yes, we acknowledge the 48 per cent vs 52 per cent result of the referendum but we refuse to be cowed into meekly accepting the vision for our land that Theresa May is proposing on the back of it. Democracy doesn’t just start and stop when a Conservative wants it to. May’s offering, to borrow slightly from William Hague, ‘is the most abhorrent and miserable land that has ever been offered to the people of a nation state’. 48 per cent of those who voted, including most Bristol residents and the clear majority of Bristol students, agree with me.

Stephen Williams is the Lib Dem candidate for Bristol West

It is my party, the Liberal Democrats, who alone are prepared to voice their concerns. It is also only the Liberal Democrats who seem prepared to hold the government to account on domestic issues too; whilst Brexit steals the front pages daily, the incoherent Corbyn led Labour party wave through bill after Tory bill leaving the people of Bristol West, South and East without a strong oppositional voice. The sinister Snooper’s charter, the insidious anti- immigrant rhetoric, the callous response of the right to the plight of refugees, the repealing of important environmental policies, where were the opposition? Swathes of people across Britain who care about their European status, who believe in civil liberties, who desire tolerance and open debate, have joined the Liberal Democrats in response to the failings of the Conservative and Labour parties.

In Bristol alone, the local party membership increased by 10 per cent within two hours of Theresa May calling an election. This article is an invitation for Bristol students to join in. The Liberal Democrats will lobby for the retention of the Erasmus scheme and the encouragement of foreign students to come to Bristol. It is vitally important that the University retain its cosmopolitan cocktail of nationalities; I am proud to count Bulgarian, Italian, half-German and half-French persons as amongst my friends, Theresa May mustn’t be allowed to endanger this wonderful internationalism in the future.

There had been doubt as to whether Mr Williams would run following his recent defeat in the West of England Metro Mayoral election

In Bristol West, where the majority of students from the University of Bristol reside, they will have to choose between a Tory candidate who will support Theresa May’s Brexit plan and who will contribute to the demonising of those who voted to Remain and desire a champion for their perspective, a Labour candidate whose MP career began in 2015 with chaos inflicted on her by Corbyn’s leadership and whose party have failed time and time again to stand up and fight, a Green candidate who I am disgusted to tell you publicly praised the butcher and homophobe Fidel Castro on Twitter, or they can choose to vote for the Liberal Democrat candidate.

If they choose that last option they can be sure of several things: their belief in European cooperation will be fought for, their civil liberties will be defended, their tolerance and love of openness will be represented, their desire for meaningful environmental policies will be advocated for and the real opposition they so deserve will be provided. Theresa May recently stated that the UK and Europe was in desperate need of Liberal Democratic values, for once I agreed with her. Take her advice, vote Liberal Democrat and stake your claim to the vision of our country that you desire. Don’t let Labour or the Conservatives throw it away.

You can check out the rest of our GE Series on our website and on social media…

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