Pressure mounts on Labor and Lib Dems to agree joint anti-Tory strategy | Politics

The Liberals will put all their campaign efforts into just one of two pivotal midterm elections this summer — leaving Labor the Tories in the other — as pressure mounts on left-wing parties to work more closely together to remove the Conservatives from power. drive out.

The Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey, told the… Observer on Saturday that his party would focus on the Devon seat of Tiverton and Honiton as it believes it can secure a sensational victory against the incumbent Conservatives in the South West, where it has traditionally been strong.

But with limited resources and money, the Lib Dems know they can only maximize their chances there if they help their candidate in the other contest, in Wakefield, where Labor is the traditional incumbent but was ranked second by the Tories. pushed during the 2019 general election.

The two by-elections — triggered by the resignation of Tory MPs Neil Parish and Imran Ahmad Khan over sex-related sleaze scandals — are likely to be held on the same day in a “super Thursday” by-election in late June or early July. The double election is seen as a potentially critical moment for Boris Johnson’s administration.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey: ‘We will work incredibly hard to fight the Tories in Tiverton and Honiton.’ Photo: Victoria Jones/PA

If the Prime Minister were to lose both, it would be another blow to his chances of surviving in office, showing his vulnerability to twin Lib Dem and Labor recovery in their respective core countries, following the Partygate scandal and facing a crisis in the cost of living.

Without mentioning the Wakefield game, Davey said: “Political parties are always putting resources where they can win, so we will work incredibly hard to do battle with the Tories at Tiverton and Honiton.”

With Labor certainly going to do the opposite, prioritizing Wakefield as it retreats to Tiverton and Honiton, there is now a growing focus on how far the centre-left parties should go in terms of working together – whether it be informally “one-off”. arrangements, or more organized pacts, to expel the Tories.

A special constituency-level MRP poll of 10,000 voters, commissioned and published on Sunday by the pressure group Best for Britain, found that if Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens made formal agreements not to fight each other in 119 English seats at At the next general election, they could form a coalition government without relying on Scottish National Party MPs.

However, if such pacts were only made between parties on the right and such agreements were not made on the left, Labor would fail to gain that majority and rule only by relying on the SNP.

Ukip resigned in seats where it risked splitting the right-wing vote when Theresa May was prime minister in 2017, and the Brexit party resigned for Johnson in 2019.

If past behavior is any indication, Reform UK, the Brexit party’s successor, is likely to step down to help the Conservatives if a Labor-led government looks likely in the next election.

The Best for Britain poll found that if the 2017 and 2019 situation were to be repeated without a similar arrangement on the left, Labor would have 307 seats, the Tories 261, SNP 52, the Lib Dems 7, Plaid Cymru 4 and the Greens. to win. 1. This would not be enough for Labor to rule without the SNP.

However, if Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens played the right-wing parties at their own game and agreed to reject candidates to maximize their chances of winning against the Tories, then Labor would win 323, the Tories 239, SNP 52, the Lib Dems 13, Plaid Cymru 4 and the Greens 1. In this scenario, Labor could rule with the Lib Dems but without the SNP.

Naomi Smith, the CEO of Best for Britain, said: “To win, Labor has to do what the Conservatives fear most, which is team up with the Lib Dems and the Greens at election time.

“The parties on the right are stepping down for each other to secure majority governments with a minority of votes, and our data shows that the safest way for opposition parties to defeat this corrupt and failing government is to win each other’s seats. stand. they can’t win.

“We saw in the local elections last week that voters across the country are already working together to get rid of this government. Their party leaders have to catch up.”

Layla Moran, the Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, added: “In an election where opposition votes are divided, many voters will want to support the candidate most likely to win and bring change. To that end, we need to be honest with each other about the situation in each constituency and make sure voters have the information they need to keep the Tories out of power.”

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “This poll shows that the Green Party holds the key to defeating the Conservatives in many constituencies, a point underlined by our strong performance in the recent local elections .”

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