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Green Party not standing in Tunbridge Wells as part of a pact general election pact with the Liberal Democrats

The Green Party is to stand aside in the election battle for Tunbridge Wells as part of a pact with the Liberal Democrats.

The agreement is designed to enhance the prospects of the seat returning a "remainer" MP and is one of 60 across the country where either party will stand aside.

Ben Chapelard
Ben Chapelard

However, the pact risks putting the spotlight back on Canterbury where there has been a backlash against the decision of the Liberal Democrats to run a candidate amid fears it will hand the Conservatives victory.

The Lib Dems came third in 2017 in Tunbridge Wells, with 5,355 votes - with the winner Greg Clark taking 30,856 votes.

The pact seems unlikely to help Lib Dem candidate Ben Chapelard narrow the gap as the Green party polled just 1,441 in 2017 and saw a swing against it of 2.5%.

The Conservative candidate Greg Clark voted to stay in the EU at the referendum and Tunbridge Wells was the only area in Kent to back "remain" in 2016.

Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, who earlier defended the decision to field a candidate in Canterbury, 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 £50 billion remain bonuses in our public services and build a brighter future."

While Tunbridge Wells is the only Kent seat to be part of the deal, the Lib Dems are to stand aside in Brighton Pavilion - where Caroline Lucas is the Greens' only MP.

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