Lib Dems admit it is ‘rational’ to give Labour a clear run when they are the main challengers to the Tories amid claims of secret elections pact
The Lib Dems today admitted it is ‘rational’ to give Labour a clear run in areas where they can take on the Tories – amid claims of a secret elections pact.
Party leader Sir Ed Davey insisted he made no apologies for putting ‘scarce resources where we think we can win’.
But in a round of interviews with just days to go until crunch local elections he denied there was any formal arrangement with Keir Starmer.
Tory chairman Oliver Dowden has accused Sir Keir of standing down candidates ‘in swathes of the country’ where Lib Dem support is strong to avoid splitting the anti-Tory vote.
And he alleges Sir Ed Davey’s party has returned the favour where Labour is dominant elsewhere.
Both have dismissed the idea – reminiscent of the Lib-Lab election tie-ups of the 1970s – and Sir Ed repeated today that there is no pact.
‘Political parties need to make rational decisions,’ Sir Ed told LBC. ‘You would expect us to make rational decisions and we put our scarce resources where we think we can win.’
In another interview he told PA News: ‘I welcome politicians from any party who share similar policy positions, who change their policy positions to be more aligned to us; of course I welcome that.
‘And there’s no doubt Keir Starmer is much more to the centre than (former Labour leader and Sir Keir’s predecessor) Jeremy Corbyn. I mean, that’s hardly news. And I think that’s a good thing for British politics if people are more towards what I call the reformist centre.’
But Sir Ed said: ‘There isn’t a pact. There won’t be a pact.’
In a round of interviews with just days to go until crunch local elections, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey (right) denied there was any pact with Keir Starmer (left)
Boris Johnson’s (pictured today) enemies are waiting until after the elections – and the conclusion of the Partygate investigations – before deciding whether to push for a vote of no confidence
In a letter to Sir Keir over the weekend, Mr Dowden said Sir Keir planned to ‘deny the voters a proper democratic choice’ on Thursday.
Tory strategists fear a drubbing in this week’s polls, which come in the wake of months of damaging ‘Partygate’ headlines over alleged lockdown breaches at No 10.
Many of Mr Johnson’s enemies in the party have said that they are waiting until after the elections – and the conclusion of the Partygate investigations – before deciding whether to push for a vote of no confidence.
Mr Johnson is also reeling from the fall-out from the resignation of Tory MP Neil Parish, who admitted watching pornography twice in Parliament.
A shock survey today found Labour is in line to gain more than 800 councillors in the contests on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives could see their numbers dive by 548 – in what would be a disastrous result for the PM as MPs mull a coup in the wake of the Partygate scandal.
It would be the worst Tory showing since Tony Blair was Labour leader, with flagship councils such as Wandsworth and Westminster on the line as well as Southampton and Thurrock.
The latest research for Electoral Calculus and Find Out Now interviewed 1,749 adults in the 201 councils holding ballots this week.
The latest research for Electoral Calculus and Find Out Now interviewed 1,749 adults in the 201 councils holding ballots this week
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