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Lib Dems promise ‘Latin American corridor’ from Elephant to Stockwell

Election candidates from across the political spectrum addressed members of the Latin American community at the Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre last week.

The UK Ibero-American Alliance hosted a large gathering of more than a thousand Ibero-Americans from London and around the UK.

Simon Hughes, Lib Dem candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, spoke first in Spanish and then through an interpreter addressing some of the issues which most affect the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American communities.

"Exactly two hundred years ago this year and here in London, Simon Bolivar plotted the liberation of South America," said Mr Hughes. "Now is the time for the link between London and the liberation of Latin America to be recognised and celebrated."

Hughes confirmed that Liberal Democrats are committed to allowing illegal immigrants or overstayers, after ten years of UK residence, to start the process of making their stay legal.

"We believe that those who have lived for ten years in this land, respecting all others in the community and ready and able to contribute to British life, should be able to make their case for staying legally in the UK."

Labour Party deputy leader and candidate for Camberwell and Peckham Harriet Harman told the gathering that "Labour is the party that believes in fairness and equality".

"Everybody should have equal rights and equal opportunities. But we know that there is not equality yet in this country and therefore we have to stay in government to fight for more equality."

She called for the setting up of a Hispanic History Month to ensure that schoolchildren understand the history of the Latin American people.

Lib Dem leader of Southwark Council and Riverside ward candidate Nick Stanton received an award for his recognition of Ibero-Americans as a distinct ethnic minority.

"We will continue with the regeneration of the Elephant & Castle," he said.

"We will build new shops and new homes, and this is a real opportunity for the Latin American community in South London, which is really entrepreneurial, to create a new Latin quarter in South London."

Cllr Ashley Lumsden, leader of Lambeth's Lib Dem group, said: "I want to build a Latin corridor from Elephant & Castle to Stockwell in Lambeth."

He added: "Liberal Democrats are the only party who believe in a proper amnesty for people from the Ibero-American community who are here in London. We must regularise people who are in limbo. Limbo is wrong; amnesty is right."

Last year Mayor of London Boris Johnson addressed a similar gathering at the Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre.

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