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Political Parties React to Poll Result – Lib Dems Ahead in Five Surrey Constituencies

Published on: 5 Apr, 2024
Updated on: 6 Apr, 2024

By Martin Giles

An opinion poll published on Thursday (April 4)  indicated that current voting intentions would result in Guildford, Godalming & Ash and Woking along with two other Surrey constituencies being lost by their Conservative incumbents.

Lib Dem candidate for Guildford Zöe Franklin commented in Thursday’s article on the poll but The Dragon asked spokespersons for Guildford branches of other parties to comment…

Angela Richardson MP

The Conservative MP for Guildford,  Angela Richardson said: “I am working hard for Guildford, residents every day on the issues which matter to them.

“When I am out, several times each week, knocking doors and speaking to residents, it is clear to me that the people of Guildford and our surrounding villages are all too aware from their Borough Council of what happens when the Lib Dems are put in charge.

“Guildford voters know where they stand with me as their Member of Parliament. An experienced MP who speaks common sense, works tirelessly for all constituents and never takes a single vote for granted.

“Every day, I am being held to account by Guildford residents who can see the results I am delivering for them, their families and our community.”

See also: Guildford MP Appointed Deputy Chair of Conservative Party

Anne Rouse

Anne Rouse, chair of Guildford Labour reported the comments her party was receiving from Guildford residents when campaigning: “When we’ve been on the doorsteps, we’ve been listening to people tired of fourteen years of mismanagement and endless scandal.

“However, we’ve also been hearing from people that they want hope from their new government – a chance to rebuild the economy, fix our NHS, bring down mortgages and gas prices, and creating new opportunities for young people.

“The other parties aren’t providing this. This poll shows the Conservatives are a dead horse, while the Liberal Democrats are skating on tactical voting and anti-Tory-at-all-costs politics. The lack of policy and substance that the Liberal Democrats are putting forward can’t give Guildfordians and [former] Mole Valley [constituency] residents hope – there’s nothing to aspire for. Get some policies, sell them, and then maybe you’ll earn Guildford’s vote.

“It is clear that Labour will win the next general election, and if Guildford wants to back the horse that actually has a plan for this country, they’ll back Labour. Curious voters can find fully-costed national policies on the Labour website, and can see what Labour is fighting for in Guildford at:

Sam Peters

Sam Peters co-chair of the Guildford & Waverley Green Party said: “After 14 ruinous years of Conservative ‘government’, this poll is no surprise.

Guildford General Election result 2019 – Wikipedia

“Guildford is often considered ‘blue’, but Angela Richardson (Conservative MP) didn’t even receive 45 per cent of the 2019 vote. The vote share of nominally ‘left of centre’ parties was significantly higher than the Conservatives – as in every single Surrey constituency in this poll. Indeed, nationally no government has been elected by a majority of voters since 1935, thanks to a ludicrously undemocratic electoral system.

“The Green Party didn’t stand here in 2019 to avoid further splitting this non-Conservative majority, enabling another Conservative government most people actually voted against. However, there’s no danger of that this election – and there’s never been a more important time to vote Green.

“We’re the sole party committed to genuine climate action – but also the only one which will re-nationalise water rather than slightly tweaking a failed, corrupt system. Only the Greens will insulate all homes, ending fuel poverty and cold/mould health issues. On everything from public services to fairer taxes, overhauling our housing system to social care, only the Greens stand for real change, rather than tinkering around the edges.

“Without the threat of another minority-elected Conservative government, for the first time in decades local people can vote for policies they believe in, not just ‘against the worst option’.”

Reform UK was also invited to comment.

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Responses to Political Parties React to Poll Result – Lib Dems Ahead in Five Surrey Constituencies

  1. John Perkins Reply

    April 6, 2024 at 7:07 pm

    Sam Peters is right to describe the electoral system in England, Wales and Scotland as ludicrously undemocratic. And local elections in the first two of those are even worse.

    I didn’t vote for AV+ in 2011 because of its inclusion of party lists. Perhaps I should have as almost any system is better than FPTP.

    • Sam Peters Reply

      April 8, 2024 at 8:18 am

      AV (alternative vote) was carefully chosen to avoid almost any chance of change. It’s certainly better than FPTP (first past the post) in at least some ways, but would likely not have changed the results of any election since – research by LSE (London School of Economics) suggests only around 20 seats would change hands, and anyone trying to avoid the “worst option” would still need to vote tactically.

      It would also not change our “winner-takes-all” governments where long-term planning is disincentivised, the country endlessly flips between two parties (with a ratchet effect to the right), and those with money can buy the policies (and contracts) they want.

      Ultimately, any system without proportional representation will never result in a government that reflects the actual votes of the electorate, leaving most voters’ choices meaningless. The Conservatives will never support a PR (proportional representative) system, of course, because they essentially never receive a majority and so need the skew of FPTP. But Labour’s desire for “winner takes all” power is now the main blocker to a democratic electoral system.

      Sam Peters is co-chair of the Guildford & Waverley Green Party

    • George Potter Reply

      April 8, 2024 at 12:31 pm

      The 2011 referendum was on pure AV (alternative vote), not on AV+. There were no party lists involved.

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham and county councillor for Guildford East

  2. John Perkins Reply

    April 9, 2024 at 4:22 am

    Thanks to George Potter for the correction. My memory is at fault.

    Thanks also to Sam Peters for pointing out that AV is not a proportional system and was carefully chosen to avoid any possibility of real change.

    The problem is that the two main parties have a vested interest in the status quo. Whichever one is in power has no desire to change the system that put them there and nor has the other as they believe they only have to await “buggins’ turn”.

    There is a need to take away from all concerned parties the power that allows them to guarantee their own success.

    • Sam Peters Reply

      April 9, 2024 at 3:00 pm

      Completely agree once more – and that also includes the flagrant attempts at vote rigging we’ve seen in recent years.

      Take voter ID, for example. There have been a total of 10 cases of [detected] voter fraud in all UK elections since 2019, and prior to that the average was less than one per year. That includes all voter fraud, not just personation – the only type of fraud that voter ID is claimed to prevent.

      Meanwhile, around two million people in the UK – almost entirely young people, students and those in the most deprived areas, who tend not to vote Conservative – do not have the required ID. Voter ID is set to cost nearly £200 million a decade, incidentally.

      This is plainly another lesson adopted from the US Republicans, where voter ID and other restrictions are being implemented with the open aim of reducing voting by poor and non-white voters.

      But the real giveaway is that a 65+ Oyster card or bus pass is valid ID, but an identical young person’s Oyster card or student card is not.

      Sam Peters is a co-chair of Guildford and Waverley Green Party

      • John Perkins Reply

        April 10, 2024 at 6:48 am

        There Sam Peters and I disagree. In my opinion an absence of detection of voter fraud does not constitute evidence that it has not happened.

        I haven’t given much thought to how voter ID itself can be manipulated, so won’t pass comment on that. Except that it’s concerning that one Oyster card will be accepted, but not another.

        To return to the issue of PR [proportional representation], any thoughts on whether or not it might make fraud less effective? Under FPTP [fist past the post] a few votes can make a big difference.

        • Sam Peters Reply

          April 16, 2024 at 7:55 am

          Apologies for late reply – did not see this comment. For what it’s worth, the Electoral Commission also agree there is no evidence of any large-scale voter fraud in the UK, and particularly not with personation – which accounts for just 3 per cent of all electoral fraud cases.

          It makes sense it’s so low – you’d have to turn up to a polling station multiple times, with knowledge of someone’s personal details, and hope they haven’t already voted or will vote later, just to cast one extra vote at risk of a jail sentence measured in years.

          Even ignoring the ‘£200 million solution without a problem’ issue however, I think it’s clear the way it’s been implemented (eg identical young people’s IDs being deemed invalid) demonstrates that it’s an attempt to rig the vote, just as voter ID has been used in the US and elsewhere. And with two million people lacking ID, and only a few thousand of these having signed up for one after the lacklustre publicity campaign, it unfortunately may well have the desired effect.

          As for whether a PR system might make fraud less effective, that’s an interesting point!

          As you say, it would certainly make it (even) less effective and therefore less appealing, given no “winner takes all” mechanism and the need for cooperation between a representative government of various parties.

          The only study comparing PR with plurality systems I could find does suggest less electoral fraud overall in PR systems (incidentally, along with ‘less inequality…more satisfied citizens and higher quality democracy’) []

          Sam Peter’s is co-chair of the Waverley & Guildford Green Party

  3. Stuart Barnes Reply

    April 20, 2024 at 9:24 am

    Surely the most obvious area for voter fraud is postal voting? I thought that it was widely assumed it was encouraged especially by the left to make it easier to game the system.

    • John Perkins Reply

      April 21, 2024 at 11:30 am

      Prior to the expansion of postal voting it was difficult to coerce someone into voting for a candidate contrary to their choice.

      Now it is not necessary to use visible intimidation as it can be done in the privacy of the home by any man with the power to control his wife.

      There is and can never be evidence of this happening and voter ID will not change that, only the reintroduction of regulations on postal votes.

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