Pro-EU Greens, Liberal Democrats, Welsh Separatists Agree Election Pact

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Liberal Democrats politician Heidi Allen speaks at a press conference announcing a 'remain alliance pact' with the Liberal Democrats, Green and Plaid Cymru on November 7, 2019 in London, England. The three 'Unite to Remain' parties have announced 60 seats where pro EU candidates are …
Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

The Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Welsh separatist Plaid Cymru have agreed to an election pact where one of the pro-EU parties will be given a clear run in 60 seats they hope to turn anti-Brexit.

Prospective plans were reported in the media earlier this week, with The Guardian revealing that all parties had agreed to the Remain alliance on Wednesday night. The director of Unite to Remain, former Liberal Democrat treasurer Peter Dunphy, said that the group aims to unseat pro-Brexit MPs.

The Unite to Remain agreement covers 49 seats in England and 11 in Wales. Guido Fawkes reports that in England the Green Party will have a clear run in nine seats and the Liberal Democrats in 40, while in Wales the separatist Plaid Cymru will have the monopoly in seven, the Lib Dems three, and the Greens one.

Heidi Allen, a former Conservative MP who broke away to help found the anti-Brexit Change UK (CUK) party but defected to the Liberal Democrats after its failure in the European Parliament elections, co-launched Unite to Remain, saying: “With a single Remain candidate in 60 seats we will return a greater number of Remain MPs to parliament. This is our opportunity to tip the balance of power away from the two largest parties and into a progressive Remain alliance.”

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson told ITV: “This is an election where the issue of Brexit is at its heart.

“We are making that decision about the future of our country, and it is important that in an election like this, we are doing everything we can to maximise the chance that we can remain in the European Union.”

The second-largest of the two Remain-backing parties, the Liberal Democrats have said that if they gain a majority in the House of Commons, they will cancel Brexit entirely. Labour seeks to hold a second referendum with the choices of either a renegotiated soft-Brexit deal or Remain.

However, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to rule out dropping the second referendum pledge and backing cancelling Brexit as the price for power in an alliance with the Liberal Democrats in the case of a hung parliament.

A Labour spokesman was quick to “correct” Mr Corbyn, saying: “He said no coalitions and we’ve said that again and again.”

While polling specialist Sir John Curtice has said that the alliance would likely only win over six seats rather than 60, Brexit voters may be alarmed that Remainers have managed to agree a partnership whilst the Brexit Party and Tories have not.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has extended the olive branch to the Conservatives several times, only to be rebuffed, with a Number 10 source referring to the Brexiteer as not a “fit and proper” person to be allowed near government. Mr Farage has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to drop his EU-approved withdrawal treaty — which the Brexit Party MEP says “is not Brexit” — and instead pursue a free trade agreement with the EU.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, Mr Farage confirmed: “We are running 600 candidates. We’ve got to do that because people in an election deserve to have a choice. You’ve got revoke [Brexit] with the Lib Dems, a second referendum with Labour, a half-in, half-out Remainer’s Brexit with Boris, and we’re offering a clean break.”

However, he remains optimistic that there is still time to do a deal with the Conservatives.

“I still think there is a chance of a Leave alliance being put together, because on the current policy that Boris is offering it will unravel over the course of the next five weeks. There’s still ten days or so for him to change his tack. I hope he does,” he said.

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