On the face of it, today’s announcement by the Remain Alliance that the Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru won’t be standing against each other in 60 seats looks like great news for all three parties. But take a closer look and it’s clear that the only winners from this arrangement are the Lib Dems.
Under the arrangement – dubbed “Unite to Remain” – the Lib Dems will be given a clear run in 42 seats, the Greens in nine seats and Plaid in seven. In addition, none of the parties will oppose Dominic Greive, who’s running as an independent in Beaconsfield, or Anna Soubry in Boxtowe and Gavin Shuker in Luton South, both running as Independent Group for Change candidates. Yes, I know that adds up to 61, not 60, but that may be because not all the participants in this scheme can count.
Take the Greens. They’ve agreed to stand down in 52 seats in return for being unopposed in nine: Brighton Pavilion, Isle of Wight, Bristol West, Bury St Edmunds, Stroud, Dulwich West Norwood, Forest of Dean, Cannock Chase, Exeter and Vale of Glammorgan.
But the Green Party’s chances of winning in any of those constituencies – apart from Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas’s seat – are vanishing-to-zero. In Bristol West, for instance, one of the Greens’ “target” seats, the party is currently on 17%, while the Labour incumbent (Thangam Debbonaire) is on 38%. And Bristol West is one of only two seats in which the Greens are on double figures. In the remaining seven they are down to single digits – such as Dulwich and West Norwood, where they’re on 6% (compared to Labour on 42%). The reason that has been included, presumably, is because the Greens’ co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, is running in that constituency. (To read more, click here.)