- Green party writes to Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders requesting talks on an anti-Tory alliance.
- Greens stood aside in last year’s Richmond by-election to help the Lib Dems.
- Labour MPs have previously spoken out in favour of local electoral pacts.
LONDON — The Green Party is calling on Labour and the Liberal Democrats to discuss forming a “progressive alliance” in order to defeat the Conservatives in the upcoming general election.
Green co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley have today written to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron requesting a meeting to discuss the best way to “stop the Tories wrecking our country.”
“We’d like to meet to explore the best options for beating the Tories in June,” they write.
“We understand that, in the immediate run up to an election, signalling a willingness to work with other parties might be difficult but we hope you’ll agree that the times we are living in require leaders to be courageous and visionary, to actively build a more positive politics.”
The Greens stood aside in last year’s Richmond Park by-election in order to help Lib Dem candidate Sarah Olney’s attempt to defeat the former Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith.
However, they declined to do the same in this year’s Copeland by-election because of the Labour candidate Gillian Troughton’s pro-nuclear views.
They are now in favour of a similar approach in a number of other seats in the general election.
Under current polling the Greens are on course to double their representation in parliament by winning the Bristol West seat from Labour.
The idea of forming local electoral pacts with the Greens and Lib Dems is popular with some Labour MPs. Three leading MPs in the party, Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jonathan Reynolds, wrote an open letter in advance of the Richmond by-election calling on the party to stand aside.
Lucas told Business Insider earlier this year that she had been in discussion with some Labour MPs about the possibility of forming an alliance.
“I think there is an appetite that goes well beyond their public position on this,” she said.
She acknowledged that any pact may be difficult for Corbyn to support however.
“I think unfortunately working with others can sometimes be perceived as a form of weakness and obviously he is under a lot of pressure now to demonstrate that his leadership alone can lead Labour to a victory at the next election. But I think probably even he, in his private moments, would reflect that it is going to be immensely difficult on their own [to win] and I think more and more people around him are coming to that same conclusion.”
The idea is likely to gain currency now that polls suggest the Conservatives are on course for a landslide victory in June. A new ICM poll for the Guardian this morning puts the Conservatives 21 points ahead of Labour on 46% to 25%.
A senior Labour source told Business Insider this morning that Jeremy Corbyn would respond to the letter “in due course”.
Read the Greens’ letter in full
Dear Jeremy and Tim,
We are getting in touch to invite you to meet with us to discuss ways to stop the Tories wrecking our country in the context of the forthcoming general election.
Greens have a powerful and compelling vision for building a better, bolder Britain and, like you, will be using the election to set out our policies and ask for voters’ support. However, we also continue to believe there is a role for some form of cooperation in a handful of seats to create the best possible chance of beating the Tories and, crucially, of thereby delivering a fairer voting system. The latter is critical if we want to build the better politics to which both of you have said you are committed. We are deeply concerned too about the prospect of a further Conservative majority and the impact on our crumbling NHS, the housing crisis, the environment and what for young people is a bleak and uncertain future.
We’d like to meet to explore the best options for beating the Tories in June. We understand that, in the immediate run up to an election, signalling a willingness to work with other parties might be difficult but we hope you’ll agree that the times we are living in require leaders to be courageous and visionary, to actively build a more positive politics. Britain is at a crossroads – and this election will dictate the very future of our country. Many of the public want us to join forces to help stop the Tories from further wrecking our country for generations to come and we hope you will be willing to at least take the first step and meet with us.
Best wishes, Caroline and Jonathan
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