Over the last few days, Brexiteers across the country have been calling for voters in key Labour Marginals to think very carefully about where they place their X on Thursday – and rightly so.
As described in BREXITCENTRAL last Monday, Unite2Leave has launched a website which identifies very clearly, constituency by constituency, exactly how committed Brexiteers should vote to avoid splitting the Leave vote between the Brexit Party and the Conservatives and so allowing the Labour candidate to slip through the gap in the defence and retain that seat. And for those suspicious minds that suspect this is simply a ‘Vote Tory Everywhere’ gambit, having run every constituency in the UK through the tool, it is clear that this is not the case. Unite2Leave recommends voting Brexit Party in no less than 65 constituencies, as shown in the table below, as well as reflecting the Labour Speaker’s seat, traditionally left unopposed and also recommending that voters vote Labour’s Graham Stringer back in, in Blackley and Broughton. Graham Stringer has, in Unite2Leave’s own words, ‘consistently strong Brexit credentials.’
|Row Labels||Count of Constituency|
And on Friday, the Daily Mail went a step further, highlighting the nineteen constituencies where the Brexit Party is most likely to let Labour keep the seat through vote-splitting and publishing the formal email addresses of the Brexit Party PPCs so that they could be contacted and gently urged to support the Conservative hopeful rather than risk jeopardising the Conservatives own chances and, by extension, Brexit itself.
For reference, those constituencies are:
This all paralleled a move that reflected the level of concern, even in the Brexit Party itself, when four former Brexit Party MEPs, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Lance Forman, Lucy Harris and John Longworth held a press conference the previous day, urging people to vote Tory and warning that Nigel Farage’s party was splitting the Leave vote. Annunziata Rees-Mogg said the Brexit Party was ‘now the very party risking Brexit and taking Tory vote share in 274 seats, some of which the Tories must win in order to secure a majority’. John Longworth had been sacked the previous day for ‘undermining Nigel Farage’s election strategy’ whilst the other three resigned the whip.
On the Andrew Neil Interview, Nigel Farage stuck to his assertion that the Brexit Party ‘would only’ take votes from Labour and thus help the Conservatives in any case. But this is a lazy and simplistic view that takes no account of tribal loyalties, and there can be no doubt that the Brexit Party WILL split the Leave vote in those seats and may well let the Labour candidate through as a result. Farage likes to hark back to the General Election of 2015 as his reference and claim that the Conservatives did well because of UKIP’s influence on the Labour vote but a lot has changed in four years and the same easy assumptions cannot be drawn this time around.
I remember well the heady days of the 2015 General Election when UKIP won nearly four million votes (but only one seat – Clacton (Douglas Carswell)) and came second in many constituencies for the first time ever. My own one, Rutland & Melton, was one of those where we beat both Labour and the Lib-Dems to second place with nearly nine thousand votes. And, as UKIP’s Parliamentary Campaign Manager, I remember well the back-slapping and ‘didn’t we do well overall’ atmosphere that prevailed following the Election.
But, this time will be different, Brexiteers and Remainers who, unlike the Liberal Democrats, actually believe in democracy, will not be thanking the likes of Martin Daubney, BXP’s Ashfield Candidate if, thanks to his standing in that most marginal of seats, Labour’s Natalie Fleet retains it for her party instead of the Conservatives managing to add it to their majority. This is a seat, remember, where Gloria De Piero managed to hang on in 2017 with a margin of just 441 votes, Labour’s vote-share having dropped from over nine thousand in 2015…
The message is clear, and the prospect of a Labour Government propped up by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP is one that should frighten us all. Let’s hope the voters have better sense than some of our political leaders on Thursday, so after three and a half years of, as Boris Johnson wrote today, ’dither and delay, prevarication and procrastination, obfuscation and obstruction’ this country can finally move on. Because if they don’t, we can say goodbye to Brexit for good as well as goodbye to our security, our financial stability and to Scotland.