Party pacts could shake up General Election result


With the election campaign underway - even before the official dissolution of Parliament - there are already signs that the fight for votes will be very different to the last.

And one difference is the prospect of overt alliances between the smaller parties where there is a shared interest in defeating candidates with particular leanings - chiefly Brexit.

How will you be voting?
How will you be voting?

The Liberal Democrats are pushing for non-aggression pacts in certain constituencies where they feel there is a chance of blocking Brexiteers or ensuring that their MPs have the best chance of being re-elected.

Are we likely to see such alliances in Kent? There was a foretaste of how the strategy could pay dividends in council elections, where agreements between the Green party and the Lib Dems succeeded in both getting seats that they might not have previously. And in one case - Swale - these alliances actually cost the Conservatives control.

General elections are a different kettle of fish and there doesn’t appear to be any talks about mutually-beneficial deals.

The obvious constituency where there could be a pact would be Canterbury, where the incumbent Labour MP Rosie Duffield is defending a wafer thin majority of 187.

Swale Council's new Co-operative Alliance signing s a coalition agreement after ousting the Conservatives in May
Swale Council's new Co-operative Alliance signing s a coalition agreement after ousting the Conservatives in May

There were attempts in 2017 to stand a cross-party candidate drawn from the Green Party, the Lib Dems and Labour to take on the Conservatives but it came to nothing.

And it doesn’t look likely that the Lib Dems are interested in joining forces with Labour.

Meanwhile, there could be a tactical withdrawal of Brexit party candidates in some Kent seats to try to ensure that pro-Brexit Conservatives don’t lose out by a split vote. Again, this brings into sharp focus the battle for Canterbury.

Could the Brexit party siphon off support from disaffected Conservatives and in numbers that might prove fatal? According to its candidate Owen Prew, there are plenty of voters who don’t buy Boris Johnson’s deal which they see as a reheated version of Theresa May’s much-maligned deal and are underwhelmed by his assurances that it represents the best outcome for the UK.

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