The Lib Dem hoping to unseat Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond Park by-election has vowed to fight the activation of Article 50.
Sarah Olney is battling against Goldsmith in South-West London after the former Tory MP resigned over the decision to expand Heathrow.
And speaking to City A.M. with just days before the vote, Olney has revealed that she will go further than her party leader, and attempt to block Brexit “regardless” of guarantees on any future relationship with the EU.
“If I am elected as an MP I will vote against the activation of Article 50,” Olney said, adding that being selected over arch-Eurosceptic Goldsmith would effectively instruct her to fight any exit from the EU.
“If I was to win the by-election on an uncompromising pro-Remain stance then that be a mandate for me from my constituents."
It's not yet clear whether MPs will get to formally vote on Article 50 – government lawyers will argue in the Supreme Court that it is not required to gain the approval of parliament.
Responding to Olney's comments, Goldsmith said: “The Lib Dem candidate for Richmond Park wrote emphatically, just a few weeks ago, that she felt Brexit should happen. Her words were: ‘Britain is leaving the EU. I accept that. I don’t think we should re-run the referendum. I think we should stick to the course that has been decided.’ She also said she wouldn’t vote against Article 50.
“Now she is saying the exact opposite."
"I just do not believe people respect politicians who flip their views completely on the big issues simply to scrape together a few votes. More than ever, people expect politicians who keep their word and show integrity."
Olney's comments mean she would take a more aggressive stance than even Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, who told City A.M. earlier this month that the party hoped only to steer the government away from a “Hard Brexit” that would take the UK out of the Single Market.
The by-election battle has largely been cast as a fight between the Brexiteer Goldsmith and the europhile Lib Dems, which Olney said reflected her experiences canvassing.
“Brexit is really coming through on the doorstep as something people are concerned about and part of that s because so many of them work in financial services and they feel slightly betrayed,” she said.
“People are worried about exiting the Single Market and the loss of passporting rights because it could hit jobs across the country and in this constituency quite hard.”
One early poll showed Goldsmith boasting a dramatic lead, though Olney told City A.M. the seat is “definitely winnable”.