Labour-led progressive alliance could win general election, latest poll shows

Combined progressive vote would be enough to oust sitting Tories in 50 seats, analysis suggests

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A Labour-led alliance of progressive parties could gain enough seats to form the next government, according to a new poll which shows the UK could be on course for a hung parliament after the general election. 

There are 50 Conservative seats where the combined progressive vote would be enough to oust the party’s sitting MP, analysis of the YouGov seat projection has found. 

To remove them, voters would have to “tactically vote” for the candidate with the best chance of unseating them. In the vast majority of cases this is a Labour or Lib Dem candidate.

Based on the poll, campaign group Progressive Alliance has calculated that a number of high-profile MPs could lose their seat if parties cooperate at the general election.

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell in Croydon Central and City Minister Simon Kirby in Brighton Kemptown could be among the casualties. 

The Labour Party has not responded to a request for comment from The Independent, but it has consistently maintained that it will do “no deals” with other parties.

A grassroots drive for progressive alliances saw several tactical withdrawals take place across the country before candidates were decided on 11 May in the hope of boosting the chances of a Tory defeat.

Most of these were undertaken by the Green Party, which stood down in a total of 24 constituencies in order to funnel votes to Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates.

The Liberal Democrats also agreed not to stand in Brighton Pavilion to boost the chances for the Green Party’s co-leader Caroline Lucas. Labour and Liberal Democrat activists meanwhile agreed not to campaign in South West Surrey, in a bid to unseat Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Neal Lawson, chair of Compass, the pressure group coordinating the Progressive Alliance, said the poll showed tactical voting will “make or break” the result of the general election for progressive parties.

“Our analysis reveals the seats where tactical voting is going to make or break the election for progressives,” he said. “These include seats where the Conservatives have been vulnerable for a very long time but because of split voting between supporters of progressive parties the Tories still manage to squeeze through.”

He added: “The projection by YouGov has progressive parties – Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens and SDLP – two seats over the required majority to form a government. If this was to play out on election day, Theresa May will not have enough seats to command the confidence of the House.”

The seat-by-seat prediction by YouGov for The Times suggests that the Conservatives are on course to win 310 seats at the election – short of an absolute majority of 326 seats needed to form a government. Such a result would mean the Labour leader would have to be willing to enter negotiations with other political parties if he wished to enter Downing Street.

But Mr Corbyn has unequivocally ruled out a coalition deal with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also said in April that he will do “no deal, no deal with anybody” under any circumstances – unlike his predecessor Nick Clegg who entered government with the Conservatives. 

Frances Foley, campaign manager for Progressive Alliance, urged people to “vote smart” in their constituency by backing the candidate with the best chance of unseating the Conservatives.

She said: “Tactical voting has never been more important. Under first past the post, nearly 75 per cent of all votes cast are ultimately wasted. Until we get proportional representation, progressives need to vote smart in their constituency to back the candidate who has the best chance of unseating the Conservatives.”