A new campaign film from the Liberal Democrats has come under fire after featuring a teen pleading with voters to back the party ahead of this Thursday’s local elections.
In the film, a Manchester-based teenager pleads with voters to cast their ballot for the Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit and ‘give him his future back’ after Manchester Council refused to back a People’s Vote.
The film, which MG understands is streaming across the city, ends with the teenager pleading, ‘I’m 16 and I still can’t vote. But I’m asking you to vote for the Lib Dems for me because my future is at stake.’
The end frame then reads, ‘Your Vote. My Future.’
Watch the film below:
Lib Dem leader John Leech released the film on social media, prompting almost instantaneous fury from the ruling Labour party in Manchester.
Councillor Suzannah Reeves snapped; “I don’t know how you dare!” and slammed the party for its role in the 2010 Government. “Some future!” councillor Gary Bridges hit back, criticising cuts to services in Manchester.
John Leech, who voted against entering coalition and many of the Government’s controversial policies, defended the film and encouraged parents to make a choice this Thursday based on their children’s future.
Doubling down on the film’s message, he said;
“Everyone knows that young people will be hit hardest by this reckless Tory/Labour Brexit and it’s time parents send a clear message to the two big parties.
“We have called for a People’s Vote for three years and to give 16- and 17-year-olds a vote in that referendum – we have been consistent and completely clear.
“As Labour and the Tories work together to deliver this devastating Brexit, parents and grandparents must think carefully about the future of their families – and only the Liberal Democrats will give your children their future back.”
The Liberal Democrats, who were once within touching distance of taking control of Manchester Council, were completely wiped off by 2014 leaving the city 100% Labour. They have since made a gradual but steady recovery and hope to continue on Thursday.
The latest controversy is not dissimilar to last year’s uproar when the Lib Dems were criticised for using children in a dark campaign film likened to an Oxfam advert or Action Aid appeal.