POLITICS

Samantha Bond Backs Lib Dems In General Election And Slams 'Unelectable' Jeremy Corbyn

Actress tells HuffPost UK she is 'frightened of a hard Brexit'

15/05/2017 00:15 BST | Updated 15/05/2017 01:55 BST
Paul Cunningham via Getty Images

Samantha Bond has given her endorsement to the Liberal Democrats at the general election in the hope the party can prevent a hard Brexit.

In an interview with HuffPost UK, the actress best known for her roles in the BBC comedy Outnumbered, Downton Abbey and as Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond films, said she had “very little faith” in Theresa May “as a human being”.

And the long time Labour supporter said Jermey Corbyn was “not going to make the Labour Party electable” and backed Andy Burnham or Chuka Umumma as the next leader.

The actress also named Yvette Cooper as someone who could lead Labour after June 8, but said she was worried Ed Balls had “fucked” the former shadow home secretary’s chances by appearing on Strictly Come Dancing.

PA Archive/PA Images
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron (L) greets former business secretary and 2017 Lib Dem Twickenham candidate Vince Cable.

Bond, 55, who lives in the south London constituency of Twickenham, said she wanted Vince Cable, who is “strong, stable, safe, sensible and experienced” and “economically sound”, to be re-elected as the local MP.

“I am backing the Lib Dems,” she said. “I am specifically backing Vince. He is a huge person for us and I believe for our nation.”

Cable is hoping to recapture the seat, which he first won in 1997 but lost in 2015, from Tory Tania Mathias.

Speaking to HuffPost UK, Bond said: “What I firmly believe we need is a strong opposition. No one is suggesting the Lib Dems are going to win. No one is suggesting the Labour Party is going to win. What we need, all of us, and for the health of the country, we need a strong opposition - and there are people in the Tory party who will tell you that.

“I am very frightened at the prospect of a hard Brexit. I am very frightened at the prospect of a Brexit without a deal. 

“I think at the moment what the country is facing politically is almost above party politics. I was ten-years-old when we joined Europe. I am devastated for my children that we are now leaving Europe. I think that rises above party divides.

“The only people who are going to ensure that doesn’t happen are the opposition. On a national level I think it’s a hugely important in a seat like Twickenham, if we have the chance of electing a Lib Dem, that’s what we should be aiming for.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Theresa May addresses supporters in North Shields, Tyne and Wear.

Bond said there were “so many lies told” during the EU referendum campaign by both sides that the public were not sure what they were voting on.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has put holding a second referendum on the eventual Brexit deal at the heart of his general election campaign.

Bond said: “I don’t think the electorate really understood what the prospect was going to be. I support the Lib Dems fully in the idea that once a deal is reached, which they will have fought to have made as sound a deal as they can, that this then can be put back to the people in a referendum.”

She also sharply criticised the prime minister for her decision to interpret the EU referendum result as an instruction to take the UK out of the single market and out of the customs union.

“Theresa May was a Remainer,” Bond says. “Until she became leader. And now seems to have thrown all conscience to the wind.

“The woman who we thought was a Remainer and would lead us gently into the future has turned out to not be that person at all.

“Someone who does a volte-face on that scale, it’s very hard to trust them. And that’s in our human lives, our personal lives and our political lives.

“At the moment I have very little faith in her as a human being - even if she is a vicar’s daughter.”

Bond added she was “gobsmacked” that May is in favour of bringing back fox hunting given an overwhelming majority of the public [78%] are opposed.

It is “barking”, she said, for the prime minister to have argued the 52% majority in favour of Brexit was an endorsement of her approach to leaving the EU while at the same time proposing repealing the popular fox hunting ban.

PA Wire/PA Images
Jeremy Corbyn with Labour candidate Sonia Barker (second right) and local people on the beach at a campaign event in Lowestoft.

Bond described herself as “naturally a Labour Party supporter” who only voted for the Lib Dems in Twickenham in the past as there was no sizable Labour presence in the seat.

But she added: “I have to say I am not a Labour Party supporter under Jeremy Corbyn. I don’t think he is realistic. I don’t think he is a leader. I am sure he is an honourable man. But he is not going to make the Labour Party electable.

“I think should the Labour Party do poorly in the election, yes, I think he should quit.”

Bond said there are “a lot” of Labour MPs who would make good leaders for the party

“Andy Burnham has just become mayor of Manchester but I would have been a keen supporter of him,” she said. “And Chuka Umunna.”

Yvette Cooper is seen as likely to run again to be leader should Corbyn step down or face a leadership challenge after the election.

Bond is a fan of Cooper and also named her as a good replacement for Corbyn. But she added: “I can’t feel help feeling Ed Balls might have fucked her future career by going on Strictly Come Dancing - much has it made us laugh.”

She also said it was “disappointing” Labour had not embraced the idea of a progressive alliance against the Tories.

“I would like to see more of that,” she said. “I would like to think Labour was thinking the way the Lib Dems and Greens are thinking.”

In Twickenham, the Green Party has stepped aside in order to help Cable over turn the 2,017 Tory majority.