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We must be Turkey’s critical friend, says Nick de Bois

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Nick de Bois, the Conservative candidate for the marginal Enfield North seat

Enfield North election is a choice between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, Conservative candidate declares

Nick de Bois has been confirmed as the Conservative Party candidate for the marginal Enfield North constituency, setting the stage for a fifth consecutive contest with Labour’s Joan Ryan.

The candidacy of the former MP, who held the seat between 2010 and 2015, was approved in a meeting of the local Conservative party on Thursday evening.

He told Haber that voters in Enfield North, which is home to one of the largest Turkish-speaking communities in the country, would help determine who Britain’s next prime minister would be.

Launching her campaign last week, Joan Ryan said the Conservatives could not be trusted on local issues because it was during Mr de Bois’s term that the A&E and maternity wards at Chase Farm hospital were closed down.

But the Conservative candidate rejected the criticism.

He told Haber: “All Enfield residents know that it was in 2007 under a Labour government that Chase Farm was listed for downgrade and it is that decision we were fighting for years.

“But the choice for residents here at this election is that a vote for me will secure strong and stable decision-making of Theresa May.”

Turkey’s “critical friend”

A vote for Ms Ryan in “a highly marginal seat seat could bring about Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10 and the chaos that it’ll bring with it”, Mr de Bois added.

He said Britain had to develop on its “strong business, cultural and strategic interests” with Turkey, particularly now that it was leaving the European Union.

“I do believe Turkey needs our support given its huge challenges, with the largest number of refugees in its borders and its strategic position in the Middle East,” he said.

On accusations of human rights abuses and electoral fraud in Turkey, he added: “I think we need to be a critical friend where we believe human rights are at stake, where the institutions will struggle to support them. I think it’s my duty as a critical to make that clear.”

Fifth contest

The Enfield North constituency is home to large numbers of Turkish and Kurdish-speaking people and will be a key battleground between Labour and the Conservatives in the 8 June general election.

Joan Ryan has been the MP since 1997 except for a five-year spell after 2010, when she lost the seat to Nick de Bois. She regained it from him in 2015.