Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has been criticised by candidates standing for her own party after the Express discovered she had endorsed the Green Party in a local pact to prevent Tories from giving the go-ahead to local housing developments. Responding to the leaflet, a Lib Dem spokesperson distanced the party from Ms Moran’s endorsement of the Green Party.
The leaflet, posted on a Facebook group for supporters of an anti-Tory “Progressive Alliance”, shows the Oxfordshire MP calling on voters in Kidlington to support the Green Party’s Ian Middleton.
She wrote: “The Conservatives running Cherwell District Council have never listened to this end of the district, imposing massive over-development including on the Green Belt.
“They recently proposed that there should be even higher housing targets in the district’s next Local Plan.”
The Express discovered the leaflet hours after Ms Moran passionately spoke about the UK’s housing crisis on yesterday’s edition of Question Time, lamenting that the lack of housing is forcing young people to move out of the area.
She said: “What’s happening is young people just move out; they move away. They want to stay and start a family and have their parents there so they can be part of it and help look after the kids.
“They are putting off having children in the first place, then they move far away, it’s breaking our society that we’re not getting this right.”
As well as criticism from those in favour of building more houses to alleviate the housing crisis, the leaflet was met with opposition from Liberal Democrat candidates.
Former Lib Dem candidate, and policy officer at the Liberal Democrat Education Association, Callum Robertson said: “If you’re going to work cross-party, at least do it for a remotely liberal cause.”
A Lib Dem candidate in Lancaster replied: “We should not be standing down in constituencies we hold. We owe the greens nothing in a democracy.”
A party official in the West Midlands criticised Ms Moran, tweeting: “I find this incredibly insulting that one of our national representatives is endorsing a party that we have severe ideological differences with, and who are so NIMBY it makes my insides burn.”
NIMBY stands for “not in my back yard”, a critical label levelled at those who say more houses need to be built but oppose them being built near where they live.
The internal pressure group Lib Dems for Housing said Ms Moran’s campaign against local housing projects is “very disappointing”.
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Responding to the leaflet’s discovery, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson told the Express: “The Liberal Democrats do not advise endorsing candidates from other parties”.
“The advice given is to stand a full slate of candidates at every election.”
Ms Moran has a history of working with local Greens to deprive the Tories of election victories in Oxfordshire.
In 2019 she wrote: “Liberal Democrats already have a clear record of this with the Green Party, and Oxford West and Abingdon, my constituency, is an example of us having more in common than that which divides us”.
“The effort that won me the seat unexpectedly in 2017 resulted in a huge swing in some seats in 2019. We can and should do more of this.”
In March Ms Moran urged people to vote tactically at a Town Hall meeting in Oxfordshire.
She said: “I urge those from all political persuasions and none, but who want to see change, to get behind the candidate most likely to beat the Tory.
“We can achieve historic change and I thank them for their energy and support.”
Express.co.uk has contact Layla Moran for comment.