Express & Star

Corrie screenwriter standing for Lib Dems in Staffordshire in bid to stop Brexit

A Coronation Street screenwriter who is standing in the upcoming election launched an attack on Boris Johnson as he called for candidates to be "respectful to opponents" on the campaign trail.

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Chris Fewtrell is bidding to win South Staffordshire for the Lib Dems

Liberal Democrat Chris Fewtrell is attempting to overturn Conservative cabinet minister Gavin Williamson's 22,733 majority in South Staffordshire, where 65 per cent of people voted to leave the EU.

The 49-year-old Europhile, who has penned hundreds of episodes of the soap, says he yearns for "reasoned debate" during a campaign where candidates demonstrate "both responsibility and leadership".

He said he wants to block Brexit, saying people had been duped into voting to leave the EU.

He also slammed Boris Johnson, accusing the PM of being full of "bombast and blather" and of attempting to shut down debate.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is the current South Staffordshire MP

Mr Fewtrell, from Codsall, said he felt compelled to stand as he could not "watch from the sidelines" as Britain tore itself apart in pursuit of a "ruinous" Brexit.

"I feel particularly angry at some of the spurious claims made before, during and after the referendum campaign, and especially since the current Prime Minister has taken office," he said.

"Very many hard-working, intelligent, patriotic people voted Leave, having been deliberately misled by an alliance of speculators, media barons and politicians driven by a desire for profit, influence or career advancement.

"These same vested interests now seem hell-bent on driving us over the no deal cliff. But we in the Liberal Democrats refuse to give up on our country and will not be silenced by the Prime Minister’s bombast and blather."

Adding that he would "fight to stop Brexit", Mr Fewtrell lamented that the Leave vote had led to a rise in intolerance in the country, including a spike in hate crime and "poisonous" social media posts.

Chris Fewtrell on the set of BBC comedy Home From Home, which starred Johnny Vegas.

He has written an open letter to his fellow candidates pleading for a clean campaign, with no "unnecessarily inflammatory language, or violent metaphors".

"It is my earnest hope that all the candidates can run campaigns which the voters of South Staffordshire can be proud of," he said.

"That in this highly charged environment, while we may profoundly disagree, we can demonstrate both responsibility and leadership.

"That we can make our arguments in a way that is persuasive, illuminating and passionate, but which remains broadly respectful to opponents and provokes thought rather than anger.

"Whatever happens with regard to Brexit, this country will have to heal at some point, something I think we can all agree on. There is no reason that healing cannot begin with a return to reasoned debate."

Mr Fewtrell has worked on The Bill, Byker Grove, Peak Practice, and Rosemary and Thyme, and also co-wrote the BBC One comedy Home From Home.

In the 2017 General Election the Lib Dems came third in South Staffordshire, achieving 2.6 per cent of the vote.

Other declared candidates in the constituency are former police officer Nicholas Lakin, for the Brexit Party, and environmental activist Claire McIlvenna, for the Greens.