Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron has made his third visit to Manchester Gorton today, as the party steps up its campaign in the constituency.

He visited a restaurant on the curry mile to discuss the impact of Brexit on local businesses before speaking at a campaign rally with the party’s Manchester Gorton candidate Jackie Pearcey.

Once thought to be a safe Labour seat, it has become an increasingly close contest, with many former Labour voters switching to the Liberal Democrats over their strong opposition to a hard Brexit. Labour candidate Afzal Khan has come out in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to order his MPs to vote for Article 50 with no conditions attached, a position that has proved unpopular with many local residents.

Many voters also feel that under Labour’s watch the area has been neglected, with almost half of crimes in Manchester not looked into and the downsizing of the bins leading to rocketing rates of flytipping and littering.

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron commented:

“The momentum is now clearly with the Liberal Democrats. Many of the people I’ve spoken to today are backing Jackie Pearcey because they are worried about Brexit and want real change for this area.

“Even lifelong Labour voters are saying they will vote for us this time because they’re so disgusted by Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to support a hard Brexit.

“While Labour argue amongst themselves, the Liberal Democrats are standing up for local jobs in Manchester by fighting to stay in the Single Market and give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.”

Liberal Democrat candidate for Manchester Gorton Jackie Pearcey commented:

“This area has been taken for granted for too long.

“Labour is ignoring the concerns of local residents, from the state of our streets to local businesses worried about Brexit.

“If elected I will fight to get a better deal for Manchester Gorton, standing up against a divisive hard Brexit and to clean up Labour’s mess.”