Former US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has publically endorsed his older brother Larry in his campaign to represent former UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency.
Larry Sanders is standing for the Green Party in the Witney by-election which takes place on Oct. 20.
Cameron was elected Witney MP in 2001, but resigned one month ago, saying he did not want to distract PM Theresa May’s new government following the July Brexit referendum.
In his endorsement of his older brother Larry, Bernie Sanders released a video message in which he lauds Larry’s commitment to “issues of social justice, economic justice and racial justice.”
“He wants to see a society in which we do not have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, wants to see a society where healthcare is a right of people and that means quality healthcare under the national health system”, said Sanders of his brother. “For decades now, and I hear this from him almost every week, he has been working to strengthen the NHS to ensure that it is the quality system that everyone in the UK is entitled to.”
Larry Sanders, who has lived in Oxford since 1969, acts as the Green Party’s health spokesperson.
He also served as local councillor and spent eight years as leader of the Oxfordshire County Council Green Group, during which he campaigned for the reopening of Oxford Community Hospital.
Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader, welcomed Bernie Sander’s endorsement.
“Larry is committed to building a fairer Britain and tackling the entrenched inequality that has blighted our society for so long”, Bartley said. “With Larry as a candidate the people of Witney have a chance to vote for someone putting forward the bold policies we so desperately need to build a better Britain.”
Bernie Sanders’ endorsement is a rare instance of a US politician crossing the Atlantic to intervene in UK politics. It is something that is not always a welcome in the United Kingdom.
US President Barak Obama travelled to the UK in April urging, alongside then PM Cameron, the UK electorate to vote to remain in the EU.
His visit was criticised by Eurosceptic politicians who in March sent a letter to the UK’s US ambassador to persuade Obama not weigh in on the issue.
With just more than a week before voters head to the polls, the Green Party is trying to stage an upset where Conservative candidate Robert Courts is the favourite.
Witney has voted Conservative in every general election going as far back as 1983. David Cameron in 2015 won the Witney election with 60 percent of the vote.
It is unclear what impact Bernie Sanders’ endorsement will have on the high-profile Witney election, or if indeed, UK voters share the enthusiasm their US peers have for the Liberal politician and if that support will provide enough traction to affect the vote.