Is a ‘progressive alliance’ pact the answer to Labour’s prayers?

The danger of campaigning for an electoral pact is that it is a diversion from the serious business of getting the policy right in the first place, writes John Rentoul

Tuesday 24 May 2022 15:57
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<p>The poll predicts the Conservatives would be reduced to a rump of 101 seats, while Labour with 393 seats would have a majority of 136 </p>

The poll predicts the Conservatives would be reduced to a rump of 101 seats, while Labour with 393 seats would have a majority of 136

It was by electoral pacts that the Labour Party first came to power. The party gained seats in its early years partly because its candidates and Liberals stood aside for each other in parts of the country. In the 1923 election, in which newspapers encouraged anti-Tory tactical voting, Labour finally overtook the Liberals, who then allowed Ramsay MacDonald to take office as prime minister in a hung parliament.

The attractions of such tactics for the Labour Party were underlined yesterday by an unusual opinion poll that suggested the Conservatives would lose three-quarters of their seats if Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Greens stood down in each other’s favour in a general election.

The poll, by Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus for the Constitution Society, asked people how they would vote if there were only one “pact” candidate in their constituency, and projected that the Conservatives would be reduced to a rump of 101 seats, while Labour with 393 seats would have a majority of 136.

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