The UK election campaign has begun and the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have set their manifestos into motion, with promises of improved policing as well as better living conditions for those in poverty pouring in.
Tactical voting appears to be the word on everyone's lips, and some parties are examining the prospect of trying to achieve an electoral pact. A group of Labour figures are trying to start a progressive alliance with the Green Party in order to guard against the looming danger of a Tory landslide.
The former shadow cabinet minister Clive Lewis and ex-policy chief Jon Cruddas are among those calling on Labour to stand aside in two seats, where it has no "realistic" chance of winning, the party are also calling on the Greens to do a similar thing.
Labour does not want MPs to run in Brighton Pavilion — a seat held by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas — and the Isle of Wight, where incumbent Tory MP Andrew Turner is standing down, after he reportedly told a group of students that homosexuality was wrong. The Greens finished third in this seat in 2015.
I agree. Labour should invite Caroline Lucas into shadow cabinet — if you do too message Labour HQ — let's get this sorted now https://t.co/tem8NFpTTf— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) 28 April 2017
According to sources, the MPs who signed the open letter, have a direct interest in forging an electoral pact with the Greens. One of the Labour MPs, Clive Lewis who won in Norwich South in 2015, had a majority of 7,654, the Greens came in at 6,749.
As Labour's doing so well nationally, it makes sense to devote all spare resources to opposing @CarolineLucas and the Greens in Brighton.— Mark Steel (@mrmarksteel) 27 April 2017
The letter, which appeared in The Guardian, was also signed by Labour peers, Baroness Kennedy and Baroness Lister of Burtersett.
"As Labour members and supporters we believe the party is the best vehicle to create the kind of more equal, democratic and sustainable society we want to see. But with the progressive vote split, the danger of a Tory landslide and all it means for our country now looms darkly on 8 June," the letter read.
"It is therefore important to maximize progressive votes and campaigning in some key seats. In that respect we applaud the move made by the Green Party in Ealing Central and Brighton Kemptown to stand aside and give Labour a better chance of defeating the Tories."
The MPs stated that if the wider Labour Party accepted this request, not only would it be doing the right thing "morally," it could unlock further positive moves from the Green Party and its supporters in a "swathe of other seats."
"We therefore urge the Labour leadership not to stand candidates in just two seats, Brighton Pavilion, the one seat the Greens now hold, and the Isle of Wight, the one seat where they are the best-placed party to defeat the Tories. In both instances, Labour has no realistic hope of winning," the letter stated.
However, the MPs who are fighting for seats in these constituencies have rejected calls for them to step down.
Will Brighton Labour also stand down and send a message to progressives everywhere that the party has left tribalism in 20th century? https://t.co/3vLyRYHRL3— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) 27 April 2017
Solomon Curtis, who is fighting to be the Labour candidate in Brighton Pavilion, said in a recent interview that while he understood the arguments for a progressive alliance, it did not apply to the seat he was fighting for.
"In Pavilion, the Tories have no chance of winning — you can see that from the 2015 results. We should see this as an opportunity to have a positive debate between progressive parties," Mr. Curtis said.
This form of tactical voting is being seen quite widely throughout the political parties.
UKIP MEP Roger Helmer said that his party intended to tackle the election in a tactical fashion, again looking to squeeze out any pro-EU Conservative MPs and replace them with UKIP members who voted for Brexit.
"I think there will be some tactical voting between UKIP and the Conservatives. What we have said as a party, is where the Tories have a put up a candidate who voted for Brexit, we (UKIP) will not stand against them. However if they have a candidate who voted to remain in the EU, we will fight for that seat," Mr. Helmer told Sputnik.
In addition to this, Gina Miller, the campaigner who fought a successful battle against the UK government over Brexit in the Supreme Court, has managed to raise around US$385,000 to help support pro-European candidates in the June 8 general election.