Time for Smart Tactical Voting

Tactical voting was essential in helping me to win four Parliamentary elections in a row, and its absence led to the defeat of so many of my colleagues along with myself in 2015.

The danger in this election is that a simple ‘let’s unite to kick out the Tories’ could well end up with a hung Parliament that has more Leavers than Remainers in it.

Those who advocate such a simple solution to change the Government need to examine precisely whom it is they are helping to elect.

My first preference is for a Liberal Democrat majority Government. If I can’t have that, I want a Parliament with a clear majority of MPs who wish to remain in the European Union. That can’t happen if we help to elect Labour Leave MPs.

If you are in any doubt about this you just have to look at the record of Labour MPs in the last Parliament. Many backed leave on several occasions in the division lobbies while the Corbyn leadership allowed them to do so without sanction.

Look also at the Labour Remain MPs who have stood down or joined another Party and the Corbyn supporting candidates who hope to replace them.

With every Tory MP pledged to back Brexit, Labour leave MPs are just what Boris needs to get a withdrawal agreement over the line and start the Brexit process if he fails to win outright.
Jeremy Corbyn is a leaver and the evidence for this is strong. He opposed our entry in 1973 and campaigned for leave in 1975.

In the 2016 referendum he failed to support the remain campaign by refusing to share a platform with the other party leaders. It was the sight of the three main Party leaders working together on the same side that helped the remain side win the 1975 referendum.

Corbyn voted to enact Article 50 and voted against a people’s vote, along with every attempt Liberal Democrats and other Remainers proposed to delay or stop Brexit.

Now he wants to negotiate a third withdrawal agreement and convince people he can bring about a softer Brexit that he will put to a people’s vote. This could fool some people into believing they will get a people’s vote with a Labour Government, but it is not so, or that simple.

First the Labour Party has to win a majority in Parliament that leading polling expert Sir John Curtice has described as having “Not a snowballs chance in Hell”. But let’s ignore him and visualise a Labour majority.

The new Labour Government then has to negotiate a third withdrawal agreement the outgoing EU President has said is “unrealistic” But let’s ignore Jean Claude Juncker and imagine another withdrawal agreement.

This new agreement has to be put to a Special Labour conference that endorses it so it becomes Government policy. The referendum as proposed would be on whether to support the Labour Government’s Brexit agreement, or to remain. Who in the Labour or Conservative Parties is going to help the remain campaign?

Alternatively, suppose the conference votes against the new deal. What could then be put to the people in a referendum? Certainly not a policy the Labour Party has rejected against a position the leadership opposes.

If you accept, as the polls and bookies do, that Labour cannot win this election but a balanced Parliament is possible, then we need to challenge Labour candidates to put on the public record that they will campaign against party policy and if necessary, leave their Party to back remain.

Only then, and where their Party is clearly the main challenger, or the incumbent, should we advocate tactical voting in favour of the Labour Party.

I’m still a supporter of tactical voting, but in this unique Brexit election it needs to be STV – Smart Tactical Voting – for a remain Parliament. Anything else and it matters not who wins. A Tory Brexit or a Labour Brexit is still a Brexit.

* Adrian Sanders is a focus deliver in Paignton, Devon.

* Adrian Sanders is a Focus deliver in Paignton, Devon, and was the MP for Torbay from 1997 to 2015.

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46 Comments

  • There is a desire to end Brexit, in reality all we will do is move onto the next stage. There will be a multitude of puzzled voters wondering why Brexit isn’t done, most will stick their fingers in their ears and go la la la until reality bites their Harris then they will scream and scream. If Labour wish to enable this well their is little we can do other than and this is important hold them to account as much as the Tories. Holding Brexiteers to account going forward must be a priority. For example when Nissan leave Sunderland those that promoted voting for Brexit in the North East should be asked ” Woz it worth it” and they should be mercilessly asked that question to ensure the stupidity of their actions in known to all and no amount of waffle should deflect from holding them to account.

  • John Marriott 9th Dec '19 - 9:15am

    @frankie
    Your loyalty to the cause is exemplary. However, Brexit is a bit like Trump. No matter what you say or how badly it might turn out, there will still be a substantial number of people, who just do NOT believe you. The problem at the moment is that, at this stage in negotiations, nobody can really say; “I told you so”. Even if we do reach that stage, do you honestly think that these people will blame themselves? If you do, then your reading of human nature is different from mine.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Dec '19 - 10:36am

    The Victoria Derbyshire Show on BBC2 has a group of undecided voters, chosen by a pollster from around the UK, starting at 10.00. They are in Crewe.
    Wera Hobhouse is on the panel, wearing a gold dress. The Labour spokesperson is stuck on a train and is not being empty-chaired.
    One man from London said that Boris Johnson is “a maverick, every word in the dictionary” which got a laugh.
    Victoria Derbyshire is saying that the BBC has repeatedly refused to provide a spokesman or woman, but on this occasion Nigel Evans has attended.
    Labour’s Angela Rayner turned up, late blaming the train system.
    Vera Hobhouse made the case for voting against the Tories on NHS and Trump, on climate change and made the case for tactical voting in order to stop Johnson.
    The SNP are on the panel and made the case for voting anti-tory anywhere in Scotland.
    The panel are allowed to use mobile phones to ask for advice.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Dec '19 - 10:59am

    9th Dec ’19 – 10:36am
    A man from Glasgow, an ex-SNP voter, asked for more honesty from the SNP.
    He was unhappy about the SNP’s performance in government in Scotland.
    A long-standing Labour voter from Birmingham asked about NATO and queried whether Labour supports the 2% spending target. Angela Rayner said that Jeremy Corbyn does support NATO, or else she would not serve in the Shadow Cabinet. She also referred to the UK exporting military kit to Saudi Arabia and “terrible human rights abuses”.
    An 80 year old man had always voted, but intend to “stay in bed this time”. Vera Hobhouse said “politics is complicated, we cannot always make it easy”. He is well informed but does not believe the Tory on Brexit.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Dec '19 - 11:38am

    9th Dec ’19 – 10:36am
    Victoria Derbyshire asked the Tory about promises such as “50,000 nurses”. His reply was not an answer to the question.
    Some voters texted in suggesting spoiling ballot papers. I remember that 2 Tory MPs did that during their leadership election.

  • Tony Greaves 9th Dec '19 - 3:18pm

    “Adrian Sanders is a Focus deliverer in Paignton”. I like it.

    (From a Focus deliverer in Colne).

  • It’s so long overdue that fair votes can happen that even Farage has picked it up for his next career-extending wheeze. The problem isn’t that tactical voting can help us win seats, it’s that we got too used to it and went quiet on fair votes.

    Once this lunatic Brexit has seen the U.K. leave the EU, we must focus like lasers on the campaign to enter the EU, fair votes and yes holding all the quitters to account, especially any leaders of their campaign who may have benefitted financially from it. No more going along with Tory distractions, like holding general elections over referendum issues. Focus!

  • Adrian Mark Sanders 9th Dec '19 - 6:25pm

    I agree with jackmc. I wrote to Vince a while back that we will not win seats in leave areas by banging on about brexit, and we might not win in remain areas either. In the first paragraph of the preamble to our constitution it states we want to create a Liberal society where none are enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. The EU doesn’t get a mention until the fifth paragraph. But our brexit stance makes us sound like a conservative party when we know we not content with the way things are, in the EU or anywhere else. Our priority should follow our constitution with a never ending campaign to end poverty, to improve education and counter inequality and prejudice. Alongside we need to promote the fact we are a Party of reform – electoral system, elected Lords, devolution, written constitution, Bill of Rights, party finance, etc. I’ve heard very little on how what we say we stand for is part of our general election campaign. That is no criticism of Jo who has done an incredible job staying positive in the face of unprecedented negative pressures. She deserves our thanks, but until we start majoring on the issues we claim as our own, then we won’t begin to claw back the support and trust the Clegg leadership lost us. Now back to delivery.

  • Spot on comment from Adrian Sanders. The one trick pony policy has only two legs – revoke or referendum – but it’s a mystery which is which.

  • Yousuf Farah 9th Dec '19 - 8:38pm

    At first the idea of tactical voting sickened me, having to vote for those guys? Yuck! But then I recalled that it was us that helped call this election, thus giving Johnson a way out of the deadlock in parliament, so, we have to follow through. The tuition fees thing that happened in coalition, took place nine years ago, and to this day, I think it may take the party decades to recover from it. If Johnson gets a majority from this election, we will get the blame for giving the country 5 years of Tory rule on a plate, just when the opposition parties had him on toast in parliament. Tactical voting has to work, and there has to be a hung parliament, or rather, anything other than a Tory government. That being said, a minority Labour government; propped up by the SNP, which is the most liking scenario in a hung parliament event, would be a disaster for this country and Labour, well mainly Labour. The vast majority of English voters would be enraged at the make-up of such a regime, Labour and their leadership would be under unprecedented pressure like never before. Promises would be broken, voters lost, U-turns left; right and centre, it would be a disastrous for Labour. For once Labour would have to make tough decisions, instead of sniping from the sidelines, shoring up their beloved ideological purity which they value over everything else. Eventually it would collapse, and it definitely wouldn’t last for five years. And in this period of time, Labour could lose voters to the Lib Dems, which is the other reason why we should probably vote tactically for Labour in this election.

  • Roger Billins 10th Dec '19 - 7:30am

    I agree with Adrian. If Brexit happens, I pray that we, as a party, don’t get obsessed with rejoining. Instead we must create a radical agenda to deal with the big issues of climate change,, poverty, equality and the constant attacks on our liberty.

  • John Marriott 10th Dec '19 - 9:03am

    @Yousuf Farah
    Yes, Yousuf, the Opposition parties in the last Parliament were indeed the willing accomplices of Johnson’s government in causing this election which, despite all the giveaways mascerading as manifestos, is really the FPTP version of another EU referendum, with all the flaws that it brings with it, namely a to all intents and purposes united Leave versus a hopelessly divided Remain. “Hopelessly divided”? But not if remain supporters vote tactically (I almost typed ‘tactfully’!).

    And here’s me still reckoning that the opposition could have avoided having their bluff called by setting up a GNU; but that kind of tactical, short term co operation was probably too much to expect from the ‘Mother’ – correction – ‘Great grandmother of Parliaments’. If this is the kind of control we might be getting back next year, if all goes according to the Johnsonian plan, then we are going to be badly shortchanged!

  • John Marriot
    The irony of this is that for the last three years the Remain Camp’s shtick as been variations on “Leave voters are all voting for different things” and “Remainers are united and just want to remain”. Quite comical, especially when you consider the other big Remain claim is that they bring people together!

  • John Marriott 10th Dec '19 - 10:38am

    @Glen
    I would hate you to think that my latest contribution supports your position. I would still rather be inside the tent, although it’s a bit chaotic at the moment with what is going on in Paris and Berlin at the moment. However I do take your point on irony.

    However, in terms of performance rather than content, this ‘judge’ would give top marks to your lot. Those trying to stop Brexit have, unless 12 December proves me wrong, quite frankly (that’s ‘frankly’, not your mate ‘frankie’, by the way) been suckered into the punch.

    By the way, it’s ‘MarrioTT’, with two t’s, just like you are ‘GleNN’ with two n’s – See above to get my drift!

  • This election has shown me, a Labour Leaver, that Brexit is a massive con being used by the Tories and the Right to privatise our NHS and hand it over to American Health Corporations on a plate. Indeed, to completely privatise Britain and make us a vassal of the United States . Further, to continue to allow global corporations to monetise the permanent income streams of our public assets so that they can use them as collateral to raise more debt for their investment portfolios. Brexit is also a con to deregulate our economy and make us a land fit only for the rich; to continue the policy of Austerity and prolong the nation’s social disintegration. That is why as a Labour Leaver, disgruntled by what I perceived to be the refusal by the political establishment to implement the result of the 2016 referendum, I toyed with supporting my Fracking promoting Tory MP, even though it went deeply against the grain, as I have been a Labour supporter all my life. However, I now see this would be a massive piece of self harm. I will swallow my objections and vote Labour. They offer Leave voters like me the opportunity to register our “Leave” vote again for a soft Brexit or even consider voting Remain. I believe many Leave voters in the so called “Red Wall” may, like me, be having second thoughts about voting for the con of a Tory Brexit. For many of us this general election is about choosing the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils. But I would sincerely urge everyone in this country to hold their noses and vote tactically, to stop Johnson’s Brexit con.

  • Always interesting how supposedly educated people cannot spell names even though the correct spelling has been provided by the person they are replying to. I wonder why.

  • Mack: So the penny has dropped at last. What a relief. Is there any other possible Brexit than the Tory one ? You do have to have rules in any trade deal and courts to see that they are enforced. Sorry about that.

  • John Marriott
    I know you don’t support my position. I wasn’t trying to imply that you did. Sorry about misspelling Marriott with one T it wasn’t deliberate. It was just a typo. I’m a terrible typists and even worse with texting. Again, sorry for any offence I may have caused you.

  • Unfortunately for the Liberal Democrats, it was Labour that convinced me Johnson’s Brexit was a complete con, not the Liberal Democrats. Sorry about that.

  • John Marriott 10th Dec '19 - 11:32am

    @Glenn
    No worries, mate. It’s just me trying to have a bit of fun while waiting for a response from your nemesis. At the moment, I reckon we could all do with a good laugh. How about this?

    A little boy goes to see Santa Claus. “Now, what would you like for Christmas?” asks Santa. “A Porsche 911” is the boy’s reply. “Be realistic”, says Santa. “OK, stop Brexit” replies the boy. “Which colour?” replies Santa.

  • John Marriott
    Thank you for that. I try not to communicate with that person after, I felt, they overstepped the mark in a personal attack in a discussion on Israel. Basically, any time they try to get me to rise to the bait I say “I’m still a bit too exotic”.

  • Peter Martin 10th Dec '19 - 1:15pm

    @ Glenn,

    “Quite comical, especially when you consider the other big Remain claim is that they bring people together!”

    Good point.

    I’ve been working for Labour as usual. I don’t hate anyone and I’m happy to chat with any canvassers from other parties that I come across when I’m out and about. I wouldn’t say that’s true of all my Labour ‘comrades’. Very few of the remainers, which is most of the activists, have a good word for the Lib Dems. Sharing a common cause doesn’t seem to count for much!

  • Peter Hirst 10th Dec '19 - 1:40pm

    No-one can predict the future, Adrian but surely a pro-remain Labour MP is preferable to a Tory one signed up to a no deal Brexit. We could easily end up with a vote on the Johnson deal and Labour might or not be whipped. Many Labour MPs are in favour of a further referendum and if you have to trust anyone, I’d put my money on them voting for a second vote.

  • Adrian Mark Sanders 10th Dec '19 - 3:14pm

    Peter Hirst a pro-remain Labour MP is preferable to a Labour leave MP but as explained Labour has to win the election, negotiate a third withdrawal agreement; and then get it past a special Labour conference. When will the media ask the obvious questions about Labour’s commitment to a referendum? What happens if a third withdrawal agreement cannot be negotiated and if it can, what happens if the special Labour conference votes against? Their menifesto is clear, Labour’s referendum is conditional on securing a new withdrawal agreement, something Jean Claude Juncker said was unrealistic.

  • Peter Watson 10th Dec '19 - 4:28pm

    @Adrian Mark Sanders
    I was not convinced by the original article (it still feels that for a Lib Dem – and solely thinking about Brexit – a Labour vote offers an opportunity to remain or exit more softly while splitting the anti-Tory vote risks Johnson’s Brexit) but, as David Raw says, your post at ‘9th Dec ’19 – 6:25pm’ is “Spot on”!
    If the Lib Dem message was more like that I could think about returning to the fold instead of lurking here on LDV wondering what happened to the party for which I used to vote (and of which I was once a member).

  • Peter Watson 10th Dec '19 - 6:00pm

    Britain Elects reports on DeltaPollUK polling in three constituencies where high-profile born-again Lib Dem MPs are standing and which are not their current seat and which don’t seem to have a great history for Lib Dems: Sam Gyimah in Kensington, Luciana Berger in Finchley & Golders Green, Chuka Umunna in Cities of London & Westminster (https://twitter.com/britainelects).
    In each case the polling suggests a Tory taking the seat (with one being a gain) despite a combined LD + LAB vote around 55%. Given the candidates standing, presumably a lot of Lib Dem effort is going into these seats but potentially helping to deliver Johnson’s Brexit.

  • “Tactical voting was essential in helping me to win four Parliamentary elections ”

    When Adrian won in 1997 he polled fewer votes and a lower percentage than he did in 1992. Labour on the other hand polled more votes and a higher percentage than in 1992. I’m not sure how much you can put this down to tactical voting.

    Tactical voting didn’t have much of a role in 1997 as the Labour vote rose in (IIRC) every seat the Lib Dems gained bar one (Hallam)

  • “Cheadle, Cheltenham, Winchester, South Cambridgeshire and St. Albans”.

    Ah…. Good to see we’re poised to strike hard in the land of mink and money…..

  • David Evans 11th Dec '19 - 7:02pm

    Joseph Bourke, the problems in those five seats are nothing like as in London and the rest of the country. They are seats where most voters can insulate themselves from the problems and whose local authority can even afford to do something about any of the local problems you mention. Truly we are in danger of being the party of those who are comfortably well off, with a social conscience, but nowhere near a party with the slightest chance to build and safeguard that fair, free and open society in the next few decades.

  • Ross McLean 11th Dec '19 - 7:35pm

    “Cheadle, Cheltenham, Winchester, South Cambridgeshire and St. Albans.” Ah…. Good to see we’re poised to strike hard in the land of mink and money…..
    Can I just say to any activists who are working their butts off in the freezing cold and rain in any of these seats, thankyou for your efforts on behalf of our party. And ignore the snide comments above – all sensible LibDems really hope that you win tomorrow and would be proud to see these seats in our column on Friday.

  • Peter Watson: you seem to be suggesting that Lib Dems should not have bothered campaigning in the 3 seats you mention, yet in 2 out of the 3 the Lib Dems are still the main challengers, and the third is a tight 3 way marginal. Maybe you should consider the idea that Labour are blocking chances of Lib Dem gains rather than blaming this party?

  • Interesting that South Stockton was held by Ian Wrigglesworth for the Liberal/SDP Alliance in 1983. What’s happening in Redcar, Burnley, Hornsey and Bradford East, Ross ?

  • Ross McLean 11th Dec '19 - 9:40pm

    @David Raw – Yes I do actually get the point, and believe it or not I may even have some sympathy with it. But timing is everything, don’t you think? Tomorrow is polling day. To sneer at and undermine those who are campaigning to gain seats, on the very eve of a General Election, is quite something.
    There is still 24 hours for all of us to make a difference in this campaign. I was making calls today and still finding voters who were open to being persuaded. As party members/supporters we all have a choice about how we want to spend the next 24 hours. We can get involved in the campaign and actually help get MPs elected, or we can sit back and sneer at it. I know what I’m doing.

  • @ Ross McLean Just for the record, I wish your own personal endeavours well tomorrow.. and I hope and want you to win. But I’d also say out that pointing out the obvious…. the narrow social base of the post 2010 Liberal Democrat Party (whatever happened to Brent, Colne Valley, Rochdale etc., ?) is more a lament than a sneer.

    You need to get it sorted when the dust settles..

  • “You need to get it sorted when the dust settles.
    Oh, do I? Righto. I’ll make a note of that.
    Meanwhile, lets get back to that campaigning I was talking about. 23 hours now….

  • Peter Watson 11th Dec '19 - 10:59pm

    @John B “in 2 out of the 3 the Lib Dems are still the main challengers, and the third is a tight 3 way marginal”
    In 2017 two of the three were tight Lab-Con marginals, one won by Labour, and Labour were gaining ground on the Conservatives in the third. Lib Dems have been solidly in third place in each for at least 20-30 years, so any pre-election pact would probably have ignored these seats or ceded them to Labour.
    The Lib Dems chose to relocate high-profile existing MPs to challenge for these seats and appear to have put a lot of resources into campaigning there.
    If accurate, the DeltaPollUK constituency polling reported by Britain Elects suggests that this could lead to three comfortable Conservative victories with increased margins of 10-15% despite a reduced share of the vote and significantly less than the combined LD+LAB share. If that is what happens (unless either Lib Dem voters or Labour voters in those seats blink first!), and if other LD-CON marginals are lost which might have fared better if resources had not been allocated to these seats, then it could be a very costly gamble.

  • Peter Watson 11th Dec '19 - 11:13pm

    @David Raw “the narrow social base of the post 2010 Liberal Democrat Party”
    Some interesting graphics for this here (https://twitter.com/undertheraedar/status/1190192038274310144), especially this one (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EIRpWQxXUAAkfyu?format=png&name=large) going from top left to bottom right in order of most to least deprived. I had never realised that Sheffield Hallam was such a well-to-do area!

  • David Raw:

    “whatever happened to Brent, Colne Valley, Rochdale etc.,”

    Brent: Demographic change. The ethnic composition of the Borough shifted very radically in the 2000s, leading to the rapid collapse of both Lib Dem and Tory support (note how Brent North, now solidly Labour, was once solidly Tory). Ethnic minorities was the one demographic that stayed true to Labour in this year’s EU Parliament elections, and will do so again tomorrow.
    Colne Valley: Liberal support in this area was based historically on a Methodist tradition that has long since withered.
    Rochdale: There was nothing very liberal about Liberal support in Rochdale. It was built around one man, the obnoxious and deeply illiberal populist, “Sir” Cyril Smith. Now that what Smith did to those boys is in the open, and is generally uncontested, I cannot blame anyone in Rochdale for not wishing to touch our party with a bargepole ever again.

    If you really think our party has gone soft and sold out, listen to Ed Davey defend the NHS: https://twitter.com/EdwardJDavey/status/1204874488476766210

  • Peter Watson: If the Lib Dems had followed your guidance, they would only have stood in 50 seats in this election (the only seats where they were first or second). Basing a long term strategy on the results of one election is idiocy.

  • Peter Watson 12th Dec '19 - 11:40am

    John B “If the Lib Dems had followed your guidance, they would only have stood in 50 seats in this election (the only seats where they were first or second).”
    Not necessarily; there is a huge difference between standing in a seat and active high-profile campaigning.
    There appear to be two priorities for Lib Dems:

    increasing representation
    stopping Brexit

    While the first certainly helps the second there are also times when the two priorities conflict. I’ve commented a few times on this site that the Lib Dem strategy since 2016 has appeared to be more geared towards gaining votes from the 48% rather than actually stopping Brexit.

    As strategies go, emulating Farage by unilaterally withdrawing without a pact from a lot of seats might not be the worst idea (though standing only in 50 sounds a bit extreme!): avoid Brexit by returning more Remain/2nd referendum MPs to Parliament, save the cost of lost deposits, and maybe still put more Lib Dems into Parliament to help his own MPs moderate a Corbyn-led Government. The SNP have obvious geographical advantages that can’t be emulated but do show the potential benefits of not being spread too thinly, and even the Brexit party look to have shot themselves in the foot by not being more selective about where they stand.

    Ultimately it’s all a bit of a gamble and I don’t envy those who have to be accountable for the decision-making. But I do think that the Lib Dems are not playing their hand as well as they should and some of the party’s choices in this election might be dangerously counter-productive.

  • Peter Watson,

    The Liberal Democrats are a national party and should stand in every constituency. I think it is generally recognised that fighting on a narrow front (standing in fewer seats) harmed the Liberal Party in the 1950s. (1951 – 109 candidates; 1955 – 110 and 1959 – 216.) It also seems that the Brexit Party has been adversely affected by not standing in all British seats.

    It seems that MPs who defected to us were allowed to pick Remain voting seats to stand in.
    Finchley and Golders Green for Luciana Berger made sense because of the large Jewish community there and the belief that the Jewish vote would be unlikely to turn out for Labour. YouGov have the Tories on 50% and us on 27%, 4% above Labour.
    Cities of London and Westminster seemed a much stranger one. However, in 2010 Labour was on 22.2% and we were on 20.5%. According to the YouGov poll we are 7% ahead of Labour and 6% behind the Conservative, so it doesn’t now look like a mistake to target it, but Chuka Umunna might wish he had chosen a more winnable seat.
    Kensington again was surprising, particularly as it had a Labour MP. Maybe it was because of who the Labour MP was. I don’t know. The YouGov poll as us on 21% and Labour winning on 38%. So not a good choice for Sam Gyimah.

  • Peter Watson 12th Dec '19 - 3:57pm

    @Michael BG “It also seems that the Brexit Party has been adversely affected by not standing in all British seats.”
    I think a large part of the Brexit Party’s initial decline in the polls was because pollsters factored in the fact that they were not standing in every seat (e.g. offering respondents only a list if parties in their constituency, etc.) so the figures did not reflect their strength in the places they were standing. Obviously Lib Dems would have the same issue if not standing everywhere.
    A large part of the Brexit Party’s decline in the polls is also due to the Tory squeeze of Brexit voters.
    Overall though I’m glad that Farage ignored advice to focus only on 30-40 Brexit-supporting Labour targets as I fear that could have led to some Brexit Party MPs and an easier ride for the Tories. It’s also why I wonder if a less ambitious/hubristic/triumphalist approach by the Lib Dems with a narrower focus might have delivered more Lib Dem MPs and more Remain/Referendum supporting Labour MPs.

  • Peter Watson,

    Normally we stand in all British constituencies and then encourage our members to move to our target seats to work. I would imagine that Brexit Party members would be less likely to move to their target seats if they had a candidate. As many of our members are new this might also apply to our members. This time talk of being a majority government would have encouraged members to stay to work their own constituency. It was weeks into the campaign before a target seat finder was up on the party website and it wasn’t until the end of last week that my region suggested I go to a target seat!

  • Paul Holmes 13th Dec '19 - 2:44am

    Peter Watson – On Hallam being affluent.I grew up in Sheffield and have done a lot of political campaigning there since.

    When we were both MP’s I used to ‘joke’ that the only thing Nick Clegg and I had in common was that he represented Hallam, whereas as a schoolboy I used to travel over from my Council estate to weed gardens for the affluent people who lived there.

    But yesterday morning I was delivering Good Morning leaflets for Laura Gordon and even I was astonished at the wealthy housing that was my fourth Round in the Dore area. David Raw’s phrase about the ‘Land of Mink and Honey’ kept running through my head.

    Mind you I was delivering Blue Letters to some Council houses in Hallam on Wednesday afternoon so there are some pockets of the real world there!

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