Pro-EU UK parties set to launch anti-Brexit election pact
Ahead of the early UK general election, due on December 12, the pro-EU opposition Liberal Democrats, Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru and Green Party are set to unveil an election alliance in which they will stand aside in about 70 targeted, marginal seats.
The movement has been completely ignored by the BBC and other supposedly neutral UK broadcasters.
The “Unite to Remain” strategy is expected to be agreed next week as a successor to the so-called progressive alliance discussed before the 2017 general election that was ineffective because parties disagreed over who should step down in each constituency.
Labour is missing from the deal and the Unite to Remain has limited ambitions. Plaid Cymru has four MPs and the Greens one member, despite securing more than three times as many votes as the Welsh nationalists in the 2017 general election.
Unite to Remain has already secured August’s Brecon and Radnorshire by-election triumph when Plaid and the Greens did not stand candidates, allowing the Lib Dems to win the seat from the Conservatives. The constituency voted leave in the 2016 referendum and more voters backed the far-right, pro-Brexit Conservatives and Brexit Party combined.
The Lib Dems’ Heidi Allen, a former Conservative who announced yesterday (Tuesday) that she was stepping down as an MP, said it hoped the pact would cover 70 constituencies.
Allen said she was exhausted by the “nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace”, a decision that left her “heartbroken”.
The South Cambridgeshire MP wrote: “[F]or the last 18 months or so, the Brexit impasse has made business as usual impossible.
“Brexit has broken our politics and it is my firm belief that only a confirmatory public vote will bring an end to this sorry chapter and bring healing and light at the end of the tunnel.
“But more than all that, I am exhausted by the invasion into my privacy and the nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace. Nobody in any job should have to put up with threats, aggressive emails, being shouted at in the streets, sworn at on social media, nor have to install panic alarms at home.”
Ahead of the December 12 election, in some seats, the three parties would not campaign against pro-remain Labour candidates where there was little chance of winning.
One complication is that decisions have to be agreed by activists in each constituency. The three parties are heavily decentralised with constituency parties having a high degree of autonomy.
A Green spokeswoman said the party was committed to Unite to Remain: “It is right that political parties engage in grown-up discussions about how to best stop a deeply damaging Brexit.
“Our party is in talks about the potential to stand a single remain-supporting candidate in some seats in England and Wales, as was successfully done in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. No decisions have yet been made and any agreement will involve the [constituency] parties.”
Pro-EU activists in London this month. Picture credit: Eurasia Times