Full details of historic Unite to Remain arrangement announced

Full details of the seats affected by the Unite to Remain arrangement have been released.

The Liberal Democrats will stand aside in 17 seats while the Greens and Plaid Cymru will stand aside in 43 seats across England and Wales.

This will give us a better chance of getting more Remain MPs elected.

Scotland is not part of this because we are the only party advocating remaining in both the EU and the UK and so could not step aside for the SNP who are wanting an early independence referendum.

The seats affected are as follows:

Green Party: Brighton, Pavilion, Isle of Wight, Bristol West, Bury St Edmunds, Stroud, Dulwich and West Norwood, Forest of Dean, Cannock Chase, Exeter (9)

You will notice a lot of familiar names in this – seats we hold and key targets:

Liberal Democrats: Bath, Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Buckingham, Cheadle, Chelmsford, Chelsea and Fulham, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Esher and Walton, Finchley and Golders Green, Guildford, Harrogate and Knaresborough, Hazel Grove, Hitchin and Harpenden, North Cornwall, North Norfolk, Oxford West and Abingdon, Penistone and Stocksbridge, Portsmouth South, Richmond Park, Romsey and Southampton, North Rushcliffe, South Cambridgeshire, South East Cambridgeshire, South West Surrey, Southport, Taunton Deane, Thornbury and Yate, Totnes, Tunbridge Wells, Twickenham, Wantage, Warrington South, Watford, Wells, Westmorland and Lonsdale, Wimbledon, Winchester, Witney ,York, (40)


Green Party: Vale of Glamorgan (1)

Liberal Democrats: Brecon and Radnorshire, Cardiff Central, Montgomeryshire (3)

Plaid Cymru: Arfon, Caerphilly, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Dwyfor, Meirionnydd, Llanelli, Pontypridd, Ynys Môn (7)

In addition to these arrangements, we can confirm that we are also stepping aside in three further seats: Beaconsfield, Broxtowe, Luton South

This arrangement gives us the best chance of not just getting Remain MPs elected, but a good number of Liberal Democrats.

Speaking after the details were announced, Jo Swinson said:

I am delighted that this arrangement will help elect more pro-remain MPs in the next Parliament.
In the 43 seats agreed today, as well as hundreds more across the country, it is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain.

A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit, so that we can invest the £50bn Remain bonuses in our public services and build a brighter future.

Party President Sal Brinton added:

This is an exciting day for those in the country who are committed to standing together and stopping Brexit.

This is a numbers game. And these 29 Conservative-facing seats could make all the difference in terms of stopping Boris Johnson returning to Number 10 and denying him a majority.

Labour’s failure to engage in this process could be fundamental, but we are confident that in these 60 seats, we can make a real difference, and we can stop Brexit and build a brighter future for this country.

The UTR initiative is a really good example of parties working together where they agree in the national interest. If this helps us stop Brexit, we all gain.

I want to recognise, though, that this is bound to have been a difficult process for the candidates and local parties affected and it’s important to acknowledge that it is hard to stand aside when you’ve put work and effort into a seat. The party should be looking at how they can support those local parties beyond this election.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • This is good news indeed, and I’m sure, improves each participant’s chances to catch seats.

    I wish though, that the list was more ambitious (=longer). Now at least I, as a sympathetic bystander, get the impression, that these are the seats you are targeting, and don’t expect to.make any gains outside the list. Maybe that is how it is, but even in that case a longer list, including no-hope seats, would have sent a message, that you are seriously contending to become the largest party and make Jo Swinson Prime Minister.

    Well, it if course possible to gain seats outside the list, but including them into the list would have added to the credibility, that Lib Dems are serious challengers in those seats.

    Anyway, I understand the difficulties caused by the limited time to negotiate such deals with the local parties. I wish every success to Lib Dem candidates wherever they are standing, and to Plaid Cymru and Green Party candidates in the seats the Lib Dems are standing aside.

  • Paul Pettinger 7th Nov '19 - 12:36pm

    Today’s announcement will have involved a great deal of delicate work and generosity. It is a major success. Local parties and candidates that have stood down have made a noble sacrifice, in the interests of an open society and the nations of the UK. We must salute them for what they done for the greater good. Hopefully this enlightened approach is how we will fight General Elections until we achieve, among other things, proportional representation. Thanks should also go to, among others, Unite to Remain, and the thought leadership of those like the Social Liberal Forum, which has advocated progressive cross party alliance building.

  • John Chandler 7th Nov '19 - 12:42pm

    Sad that this has to be done, due to our unfit-for-purpose electoral system. Let’s hope this is the last general election using FPTP (some chance with the Red and Blue parties favoured by the current system), and voters can make a genuine choice.

    Unite to Remain has done a good job here, and a big thank you to the Green Party and Plaid Cymru for working with us to make this happen. Of course, the next step is making sure this does its job of electing MPs from Remain parties.

  • Paul Barker 7th Nov '19 - 12:55pm

    We should promote this as hard as we can, it says everything about who we are & stands in sharp contrast to Labour & The Tories.
    There will be many more Seats where The Greens dont stand & where We are THE Remain Party.

  • chris moore 7th Nov '19 - 1:00pm

    Shame not to see Cambridge on the list.

  • What about Yeovil? We are definately a top target seat?

  • Ross McLean 7th Nov '19 - 1:31pm

    Grown-up politics. The candidates and local parties involved deserve a lot of credit here.
    Two of the seats we’ve stood down in have a history of fairly recent LibDem representation (Isle of Wight, 1974-87 and 1997-2001; and Bristol West, 2005-15).
    The fact we are standing down for Anna Soubry and Gavin Shuker as well is also good and shows real maturity.

  • Re. Yeovil and Cambridge, I think we have to assume that our negotiators tried but the Greens refused. Maybe their leaders were OK with it but the local Green parties wouldn’t play ball. In other words, don’t take it personally, and it certainly isn’t an indication that you are not considered target seats. Maybe you can talk to your local Greens yourselves and come to an arrangement? If not, don’t worry – I think you’ll win anyway. 🙂

  • @John Bicknell, I didn’t mean they _are_ the only Lib Dem targets, I mean that this _is the impression_ a bystander like me can easily get.

    It would have helped, if there were more seats where the agreement could be reached, but now when this is the situation, I wanted to tell that this is the impression a bystander could get, so that you could do something to make sure, that the voters will know about the other target seats.

  • Christine Headley 7th Nov '19 - 2:39pm

    It’s Romsey & Southampton North and Rushcliffe, not Romsey & Southampton and North Rushcliffe.

  • Paul Barker 7th Nov '19 - 3:17pm

    The agreement is less ambitious than many of us might have hoped for but there will be other Seats where there are purely Local Agreements, its worth remembering that Green Party Branches are even more Localist than ours.
    Most Voters will only pick up a vague idea about this, if any & may well get the impression that it is a full blown Alliance like the 1980s. If that does happen that is all to the good. We will certainly have to promote this ourselves, The Media wont do it for us.

  • Somebody should tell Britain for Europe branches to stop telling some people to vote Labour. As I understand it they they will the election they will hold a referendum after a conference where they will decide how to recommend people to vote. They are not reliable Remainers.

  • Lawrence — wouldn’t it make sense in some circumstances for a LibDem to vote a referendum-favouring Lab in to keep a Tory-Brexiteer candidate out , half a loaf being beter than no bread?

  • Greens & PC also committed to PR, unlike Labour.

  • Richard Underhill. 7th Nov '19 - 7:18pm

    In Tunbridge Wells we voted to Remain, as previously posted on LDV.
    The Tory MP voted for Article 50.
    He has recently had the whip restored.
    According to the (free) Times of Tunbridge Wells this week he intends to stand again as a Conservative.
    This is not an area where Labour has done well recently, but they are choosing a candidate.

  • @Steve Trevethan – Because Labour is not a Remain party. Even their supposedly ‘pro-Remain’ MPs have not been reliable allies in the Remain cause, and in this election they will be standing on a manifesto that is not for Remain. Better to have a proper Remain MP if we can.

  • Stewart Gardiner 7th Nov '19 - 10:23pm

    Why don’t we agree to have a Remain Alliance (Green) candidate in Jeremy Corbyn’s seat in Islington and Remain Alliance withdraw completly from Uxbridge to give Labour a free run at Boris? That would represent proper tactical manouveres under FTTP system and generate huge headlines for the Remain Alliance. Lynton Crosby’s 2015 decapitation strategy reversed.

  • Nothing really to do with this deal but I wonder why if the the Lib Dems are standing down for two of Change MPs who are restanding why are they standing in Nottingham East against Chris Lesley?

  • The first requirement to Stop Brexit is to Stop the Tories. That means we should hold our noses and be prepared not to stand against Pro-Referendum Labour candidates if we’d risk letting in a Tory. Steve above can see thsi. Why is the party missing the blindingly obvious?! We need a bit of ‘Leavers can’t win here’ strategy — come on!!

  • Overall this is good grown up politics.

    It’s a little disappointing us not contesting Bristol West as there was quite a high likelihood we could win it. While I’d quite like to see more Green MPs in Parliament, I’d more like to see more Lib Dems and it becomes like Brighton Pavillon – we should be winning seats in what is arguably the most liberal city in Britain.

    But to get something from someone you need to give something – for the Greens if they win Bristol West that will be a major gain for them. We get 40 seats where we get about 2% more which may be significant (viz the B&R by-election), perhaps more importantly a very good campaign message in those seats and a good look nationally.

    You have also to say that it is a bit odd that we are standing down in Dulwich and West Norwood where we where ahead of the Greens quite considerably – but the co-leader of the Greens it standing there and 70% last time there for the Labour will be quite difficult to surpass.

    Well done to all concerned esp. local parties standing down and those need to go and campaign in a Lib Dem target.

  • Richard Underhill. 9th Nov '19 - 9:49am

    Michael 1 9th Nov ’19 – 12:54am
    Is Bristol West affected by the timing of the election on 12 December?

  • Ruth Coleman-Taylor 9th Nov '19 - 1:05pm

    Politics is the art of the possible. A Unite to Remain deal involving 60 seats seems to me to be a brilliant achievement, well beyond what I would have predicted to be possible. So I would urge Liberal Democrat colleagues not to indulge in complaints on the lines of “If this seat, why not that one?” when this deal clearly resulted from what Paul Pettinger has called “a great deal of delicate work and generosity”.

    This is the deal that was possible. Complaining about it just gives ammunition to our political opponents.

    Let’s build on the success of this deal and campaign full-on for the end of Brexit and the end of First Past The Post.

  • Perhaps when this election is over ‘unite to remain’ could become ‘unite to reform’
    and fight to leave us with a better electoral system.

  • Don’t understand why you’re making it as hard as possible to win Labour crossover support? Even if Corbyn isn’t a Remainer , many supporters and MPs are. Why risk falling a few hundred tactical votes short of toppling a Tory by dismissing Labour voters?

  • @Andy – I’m not sure what you are referring to exactly (i.e. in what way are we making it difficult to win Labour crossover support) but if you are saying Labour should have been part of this Remain alliance, it’s very simple: they are not a Remain party. It’s not just that Corbyn isn’t a Remainer, the official party policy is not Remain. I know a lot of members and MPs are Remainers, but we cannot have a Remain alliance that includes parties whose policy is not to Remain.
    Incidentally, even if we were to change our minds on that (which I think would be ludicrous) Labour wouldn’t actually want to join this alliance. They refuse to accept the idea that they should stand down for any other party, so they wouldn’t play ball.
    We are not ‘ignoring Labour voters’ – quite the contrary. We are giving them the opportunity to vote Remain. And a lot of them are taking it.

  • Peter Martin 11th Nov '19 - 9:15am

    @ Tony H,

    “….. it’s very simple: they (Labour) are not a Remain party.”

    Will you still be saying this, after the election results are known, when the Tories will be adding the % Labour vote to the % Tory and Brexit vote to then claim that more than 75% of the electorate voted for Leave?

    I don’t think so! Do you? So maybe not so simple after all!

  • Will you still be saying this, after the election results are known, when the Tories will be adding the % Labour vote to the % Tory and Brexit vote?
    No, because this time Labour are not strictly a Leave party either. They’re a “we don’t know, we’ll tell you later” party. So it wouldn’t be right to add their vote to either the Leave or Remain columns.

  • Have mixed feelings about this when it comes to the specifics of certain Constituencies. How do we deal with Plaid when they are mainly for Independence (we are against) and the Greens also want to” Break up Britain”. How do we deal with certain Plaid M.P.s who have publicly stated that there should be “reparations” from England? What about those many seats (the vast majority) where Liberal Democrat Candidates are facing hostile and critical Plaid and Green Candidates/Parties? Any ideas?

  • Richard Underhill. 14th Nov '19 - 3:40pm

    Ruth Coleman-Taylor 9th Nov ’19 – 1:05pm
    “Politics is the art of the possible.”
    It was , perhaps in the 1950s, perhaps never. Does this perhaps describe the need to keep a one party broad coalition together and still make some progress?
    “A Unite to Remain deal involving 60 seats seems to me to be a brilliant achievement, well beyond what I would have predicted to be possible.” Plus 2?

  • In response to Richard (above) and others: If you want to go back to previous decades:-
    1. Plaid Cymru were historically opposed to the E.U (see The Wiki entry for their Party) as were the Greens!
    2. Both the Greens and P.C. want Wales to be an Independent Country (Can you trust them?)
    3. As many votes could be lost as gained because many people are aware of those facts.
    4. There have been many unsettling comments from the P.C. Leaders referring to “reparations” from England!
    5. The Greens are on 2 or 3% in the Opinion Polls and the support for P.C. is quite patchy, with many people voting for them because of the lack of choices on the Ballot Paper. Independents with Centrist or Left of Centre views could do quite well if voters aren’t given the option of voting Lib Dem.

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