That Remain Alliance is go…

So it looks like the efforts of Unite to Remain are about to bear fruit.

For some months, difficult negotiations have taken place. Now, a result has been achieved in tens of seats which will see Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru or Greens stand down in favour of one Remain candidate. Details fo the seats in question will be announced tomorrow.

Jo Swinson said:

We are delighted that an agreement has been reached.  We would like to thank Unite to Remain for making this possible.

This is a significant moment for all people who want to support remain candidates across the country.  We look forward to sharing the detail of the seats tomorrow.

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

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This entry was posted in News.


  • The Guardian is reporting that it is 60 seats in total: 49 in England, 11 in Wales.
    This could be hugely significant for us, in terms of how many seats we can win on the night. Tonight’s survation constituency polls show us well in contention in Wokingham (John Redwood’s seat) and Esher & Walton (Dominic Raab). Also Cambridgeshire South and Cambridgeshire SE. The Green votes could make all the difference in places like these. I know they won’t transfer to us wholesale but every vote could count.

  • John Marriott 7th Nov '19 - 9:17am

    With the Tories and Labour heading for the extremes, as witnessed by the decisions of people like Hammond and Watson, to name just two, to abandon the fray, that centre ground appears to be opening up before our eyes. Therefore I wonder whether to stick so slavishly to revoke/remain rather than referendum/remain might have been a better bet. But, wait a minute, hasn’t someone already got there first? It’s probably time to teach that pony a few more tricks.

  • There was talk of such a sensible arrangement two or three years ago — why has it taken us all so long.?

  • Duncan Greenland 7th Nov '19 - 9:37am

    Has taken so long because it is very,very difficult to negotiate the detailed agreements at local constituency level ,with local parties insisting on their autonomy ; warm congratulations to the Unite to Remain team who have pushed this through !

  • nvelope2003 7th Nov '19 - 10:40am

    This is good news but not so good news are reports of a West Country candidate in a winnable seat posting unpleasant tweets, which need to be investigated and appropriate action taken if necessary.

  • Tean Porteus 7th Nov '19 - 10:53am
  • Peter Hirst 7th Nov '19 - 1:44pm

    My concern is that it might not be sufficient to return a pro-remain parliament. Without Labour involved, it might be seen as a sticking plaster solution. It is up to other organisations to harness the remain Labour supporters to prevent Brexit.

  • Now that Labour remainers with some clout have seen the list of 60, some may be inspired to do further thinking about what to do next in their own constituencies. Well …it’s possible! They may find ways of converting their despair into creative possibilities for one-off nose-holding choices.

  • David Allen 7th Nov '19 - 3:37pm

    Good news, but Peter Hirst identifies the unresolved paradox. If we cannot somehow work with Labour, the chances of finding a practical route to Remain are pretty much zero. The more we distance ourselves from Corbyn to appeal to centre-right Remainers, the less we will convince those voters that it is worth bothering to vote for us, because we won’t actually be able to do anything effective about Brexit.

    Labour’s worst weakness over Brexit is their insistence on a renegotiation before a referendum, which could take years, and which therefore makes it impossible to envisage a temporary alliance to Get Brexit Un Done. So what about this challenge to Labour:

    Accept the Withdrawal Agreement as it stands.

    Redraft only the Political Declaration, which being non-binding will be instantly acceptable to the EU. Put into that your proposals for a customs union etc.

    Then call a referendum between “Labour’s Deal” and Remain. We will campaign for Remain. Labour can do what they like.

    Promise all that, and you really could get it done and dusted in six months. For that six months maximum, Lib Dems should support a mutually agreed interim PM from whichever is the largest non-Tory party, who will not be Corbyn. Once the referendum is completed, the temporary alliance will be concluded.

    How about that?

  • Peter Martin 7th Nov '19 - 4:28pm

    @ David Allen

    “If we cannot somehow work with Labour, the chances of finding a practical route to Remain are pretty much zero.”

    That’s true. Even though I’m pro Leave I wouldn’t want Boris’s deal and I wouldn’t want 5 years of a BJ Tory government.

    Jo Swinson position is that, even though she is pro Remain, she wouldn’t even want 5 months of a Jeremy Corbyn government. She’d rather attack JC and split the anti Tory vote. We all know that will mean.

  • Paul Barker 7th Nov '19 - 6:31pm

    Right now, we are fighting an Election & that involves fighting Labour as well as Tories.
    Once we have seen the results of that Election then we can count the various Parties & Factions of Parties & see what is possible. Thinking about those possibilities now is just a waste of time & energy.

  • David Allen 7th Nov '19 - 6:56pm

    “Once we have seen the results of that Election then we can count the various Parties & Factions of Parties & see what is possible. Thinking about those possibilities now is just a waste of time & energy.”

    Fighting an election campaign without giving the voters the slightest clue as to how you might interact with the other parties in the ensuing parliament is what I’d call a waste of time and energy. That’s because nobody wants to vote for a complete unknown quantity.

    Sure, we also ruled out coalitions in the 2017 election. But we did then have a pressing need to distance ourselves from THAT Coalition, and we did then say things about the merits of deciding issues on a case-by-case basis in a hung parliament. So we did at least give a reasonably comprehensible answer to the “what will you do?” question.

    The same answer wouldn’t sound so plausible in 2019. An interviewer could reasonably ask “So, if you had to choose between a definite Brexit with the Tories or a possible escape from Brexit with Labour, what would you do? Toss a coin?”

    So at the moment, we don’t seem to have any answers, other than “Well hey, we know what we’d do if we won a landslide!” Sooner or later, that vulnerability will be exposed and exploited, either by our opponents or by enterprising media interviewers looking to make an impression, unless we start providing better answers.

  • nvelope2003 9th Nov '19 - 5:02pm

    The candidate has apparently apologised according to the President of the Party but did they lose a council seat in the area because of this ? Let us hope it does not lose the parliamentary seat. Other parties’ candidates have been forced out for misbehaviour.

  • nvelope2003 9th Nov '19 - 5:34pm

    The problem is that the Liberal Democrats can only get into Government if one of the larger parties collapses and unless they want to become a right of centre party this has to be the Labour Party. If the latest YouGov polls are correct then this appears to be happening and a deal with them would keep them on life support. Socialist parties are in decline in most of Europe and in virtual collapse in Scotland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands where they started so why would the rest of Britain be any exception ?
    Unless we want to endure years of negotiations and uncertainty the only way to proceed would be to repeal the Article 50 withdrawal Act if there is a majority in Parliament in accordance with ancient law and custom as confirmed by the Supreme Court. A referendum could be held to confirm this but would take time to arrange and cause endless delay and bitterness. The Conservatives now understand that Leave is not a practical option and that is why they have obstructed the procedure at every possible opportunity because they do not want to be blamed for the mess.

  • Paul Barker 9th Nov '19 - 9:12pm

    Both Labour & Tories are in a dire state but we dont actually need them to collapse for us to Win, we “just” need to take a lot of Votes off both. Its a mountain yes but only on the scale of “Cleggmania” ( if we had known what to do with it) or our recovery during the 1983 Campaign.
    Its not impossible that we could get a stable 3+ Party Politics with competition for Votes & Partners.

  • It looks as if this has the potential (but no means certainty) to be a “meat pie” rather than a tomato soup election for us from the constituency polls that have been released.

    Pollsters sometimes make the analogy that 1,000 people can represent 30 million by pointing out that if a cooks tastes a small bit of soup they know how the rest will taste.

    In contrast if you take an average of a meat pie – the meat and the pastry it doesn’t really tell you a lot. The ultimate meat pie is the SNP – getting 5% across the UK which should translate into zero seats but obv. they have got 40%+ in Scotland and picked up virtually all Scottish seats.

    Equally we are getting about 35% of the Remain vote nationally (and about 4% of the Leave vote). But in the constituency polls that have released in constituencies with more than 50% Remain vote show getting 50% or more of the Remain vote. Some 60%+ and North Somerset on the tactical vote question 78%. Equally in the Economist sponsored poll of Gedling (44% Remain) we got 12% of the Remain vote and the Daily Mail sponsored poll of Workington (39% Remain) we got 10% of the Remain vote.

    So rather helpfully the Remain vote is sorting itself out for us – we are getting more of it where there is more of it to get – especially in London and the South East.

    If we get 60%-70% of the Remain vote in Remain seats we get 35%-40%, and if we get 10% of the Leave vote that is another 4% which puts us into contention in those seats.

    It looks as if the Tories will pick up Labour Leave seats in the North and the Midlands – the only question on whether we have a Tory overall majority and a Leave parliament is if we pick up Tory Remain seats mainly in the South East and London – the Guildfords, Eshers, Finchleys etc.

  • nvelope2003 10th Nov '19 - 9:41am

    Paul Barker: A three party system would not work even with PR and certainly not with FPTP where even in Canada the 2 party system has been restored after a brief interval.
    Almost every political system in Western Europe has 2 larger parties and some smaller ones. When I say collapse I mean cease to be one of the two principal parties, not go out of existence. The Liberals still exist in most countries (but not all) but they are no longer one of the 2 parties contending for Government except in one or two places. That could change of course.

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