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New party grouping, Unite to Remain, will make BJohnson’s autumn election decision even harder

August 10th, 2019

It could put a CON majority beyond reach

Eight days ago after the LDs victory in overturning the Tory 19.5% majority in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election I noted  that the significant feature had been the decision by the Greens and Plaid Cymru to stand aside.

“Here, in this by election, there was only one option for voters who wanted to express their choice for a Remain party and that was the Lib Dems. My guess is this decision of the Greens and PC made it easier for for Labour supporters to vote tactically. There is little doubt that this lesson will be noted and acted upon.”

Well according to a Coffee House blog piece by Nick Cohen things seem to be moving fast and a blueprint for collaboration between pro-Remain parties appears to be in the offing.

Cohen reports that there will be a meeting next week when it is hoped that the three parties will be able to work out which will stand in each of the 30 Welsh constituencies. Cohen writes:

“They will back one candidate in each seat who will stand as X Liberal Democrat (Unite to Remain) or Y Green (Unite to Remain) and so on. The “Unite to Remain” title has already been agreed with the Electoral Commission so the problems found in running unity candidates in the European elections shouldn’t trouble us next time.”

The following week another meeting has been scheduled when other seats will be looked at and decisions made at to which party should stand aside. A third meeting is planned for early September when a further batch of constituencies will be considered.

Amongst the seats being considered for the “Unite to Remain” treatment are Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Somerset NE and Islington North where a Mr. Corbyn is the sitting MP.

All this adds to the challenge facing the PM as he contemplates pushing for an autumn general election. His efforts so far have been aimed at appeasing supporters of Farage’s Brexit party. It is going to be difficult maintaining that stance while dealing with Unite to Remain on the other flank.

In making a general election decision Johnson will no doubt be aware of the Scottish situation where latest polling points to an an enormous struggle for the Scottish Tories to hang onto the 11 seats won at GE2017.

It should be recalled that Cameron’s Tories won a majority a GE2017 mostly by picking off then LD held constituencies. Many of these have the potential to turn.

To my mind this makes a 2019 general election a tad less likely although it could be out of Johnson’s hands. He could lose a VONC.

Mike Smithson