Zac Goldsmith’s decision to resign as a Tory MP and contest his Richmond Park seat in a by-election as an independent, in protest at the government’s decision to build a third Heathrow runway, has raised the thorny issue of electoral pacts. With the Conservatives and UKIP choosing not to contest the seat, Labour came under pressure to promote one candidate of the anti-Brexit left.
MPs Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jonathan Reynolds all urged Labour to consider standing aside in favour of a Lib Dem candidate in order not to split the anti-Brexit vote. This way, they argued, the by-election could be turned into a referendum, not on Heathrow expansion, but on the xenophobic politics that Goldsmith symbolises. Continue reading
To the extent that the British media’s political coverage ever veers far from Westminster, all eyes are currently on Scotland. In the wake of the Neverendum on Scottish independence and its leadership election, the potential meltdown of Scottish Labour in the general election is massive not only in Scotland: it is the biggest factor in the outcome of the 2015 general election.
UKIP may yet change the face of UK politics, but in the two-party contest for government next year, UKIP still looks like helping not hindering Labour in England — though it may not feel like that in up to a couple of dozen constituencies where they could prevent a local Labour victory. But Wales is different. Yesterday, UK Elect predicted that UKIP could become the second biggest party in Wales at the Welsh Assembly elections in 2016. edging ahead of both Plaid and the Tories. Continue reading
At a time when pluralism versus tribalism is so much talked about, is it not surprising that one of Labour’s great taboos remains discussing electoral arrangements with other parties — pre-election deals? And yet we now have, for some elections, electoral systems which at least some of the time mean that a Labour vote is absolutely wasted, not because we’re doing badly but because we’re doing so well. Continue reading