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Friday, August 02, 2019

Is the Brecon and Radnorshire result the start of a wider remain alliance?

All the media this morning are reporting that the fantastic Welsh Liberal Democrats victory in Brecon and Radnorshire is the start of a wider alliance of political parties committed to remaining in the EU or at the very least a people's vote on the final deal.

The Mirror says that anti-Brexit parties are in talks to form more 'Remain Alliances' across the UK after the Lib Dem victory by 1,425 votes left Boris Johnson with a Commons majority of one.

They add that last night's margin of victory was smaller than the votes won in 2015 by the Green Party and Plaid Cymru - both of whom pulled out this time to unite around one Remain candidate. It is also arguable of course, that both parties' vote may well have been squeezed in any case, just as the Labour vote was:

Now Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has suggested there will be more electoral pacts in future.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today: "I do think that working across party lines is important when there is so much at stake for the future of our country and I will continue to do that.

"I've exchanged messages this morning with the Green and Plaid leaderships.

"And I think there will be more co-operation in future elections."

For what it is worth in my view there were four factors behind Jane Dodd's victory yesterday:
  1. An impressive squeeze of the Labour vote to near-deposit-losing levels; 
  2. The fact most of the postal voting took place before the Boris bounce;
  3. The reselection of the awful and tainted Tory candidate that helped fuel 1 and 2;
  4. A fantastic and energetic campaign with lots of voter contact both in person and on paper.
The remain alliance clearly helped, but it was not the main factor, and in fact even if you discount Labour (and who wouldn't) the leave parties still had a majority.

It seems to me that it is certainly worth exploring similar co-operation in future, but that we should do so on a case-by-case basis, pending a wider agreement for the General Election, when it comes.
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