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Will Guildford Be Part of a Lib Dem & Labour Non-aggression Pact?

Published on: 22 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 23 Feb, 2022

By Martin Giles

The chairs of Guildford’s Liberal Democrat and Labour party branches have both denied any knowledge of Guildford being part of a reported “non-aggression pact” between the two political parties.

Usually, the rivalry between the two parties is sharp, driven by a fierce competition to secure as many non-Tory votes as possible and the associated tactic of the Lib Dems to persuade Labour voters to vote tactically Lib Dem.

But news of the possible agreement was published in The Observer which claimed in an editorial: The Observer View on the Labour and Lib Dem Non-aggression Pact, that the “only rational response” to the Conservatives grip on power under first-past-the-post, “is some form of informal non-aggression pact. At the very least, Liberal Democrats and Labour should not campaign actively in those seats where neither has a chance of winning and give the other as free a run as possible.”

And the editorial opined that it was welcome news that, “…the two parties are discussing precisely that. Labour will not campaign actively in the Lib Dems’ top 30 target seats where they lie a good second, nor will the Lib Dems campaign actively in Labour’s top target seats.”

Would an electoral pact give the Lib Dem’s Zoe Franklin (left) victory over the incumbent Conservative MP Angela Richardson in a future general election?

One source told The Dragon that the Guildford constituency was included. Hardly surprising; it is known to be high on the Lib Dem’s target list. But if that is the case no one seems to have informed the local parties.

Brian Creese, chair of Guildford Labour succinctly responded: “All I can say is that we have not heard anything about it.”

Catherine Houston, chair of the Guildford Liberal Democrats, however, was more fulsome in her response. She had seen the Observer article but said: “…this detail is way beyond our pay grade and no-one from Lib Dem HQ has spoken to either Zöe [Franklin, the prospective Lib Dem candidate for Guildford] or me about this.”

Guildford General Election result 2019 – Wikipedia

Quoting the number of votes cast in the last election she continued: “It would make great sense here in Guildford and Cranleigh that those who wish to see an end to this disastrous and dangerous Conservative government, elected on a minority of the popular vote, must vote tactically next time and use their vote wisely to remove the current Conservative incumbent.

“If 3,338 of Labour’s 4,515 voters had voted tactically for the Liberal Democrats then there would have been one less Conservative MP in Westminster.  And having less Conservative MPs in Westminster is something both Liberal Democrats and Labour agree on.”

But the real need, she said, was for electoral reform, “to make every single vote count…  That could only be a good thing for both the Labour Party and for us Liberal Democrats.”

Asked to comment, Guildford’s MP was dismissive: “With everything that is going on in the world right now, political parties talking about themselves to themselves regarding the next election is about the last thing that most people in Guildford will want to hear.”




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Responses to Will Guildford Be Part of a Lib Dem & Labour Non-aggression Pact?

  1. Adam Aaronson Reply

    February 23, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    The reason we are stuck with a Conservative government, and probably will be at the next election, is enshrined in the responses above from the Lib Dems and Labour. When will they ever learn?

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    February 24, 2022 at 8:43 am

    The reason that we are stuck with a Conservative government is that the alternatives are much, much worse.

    The next general election is likely to be decided in exactly the same way as the last one, ie we don’t want any of them but have to vote for the least bad to keep out the others.

  3. Jacob Allen Reply

    February 26, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    If the Lib Dem’s want my vote they should have better policies that will make me want to vote for them. “We aren’t Tories” isn’t good enough for me no matter what the constituency arithmetic.

    Jacob Allen is a Labour Party activist.

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