Labour and Lib Dem general election pact shouldn’t target ‘progressive’ MPs, Plaid Cymru says
Plaid Cymru have said that a Labour and Liberal Democrat pact at the next General Election should avoid targeting their own seats.
The plan for a pact briefed to the Financial Times involves Labour running a ‘minimal campaign’ in 30 Lib Dem target seats such as Ceredigion and Brecon and Radnorshire.
The reported aim will be to increase the chance of having enough combined seats to win power in a hung parliament.
But a Plaid Cymru spokesperson told Nation.Cymru that if the purpose of the plan was to ensure progressive parties dominated at Westminster it made “no sense” to also target Plaid Cymru.
“If as reported, the purpose of this so-called non-aggression pact is to drive out Tory MPs then it makes absolutely no sense for to apply it in Plaid Cymru seats,” they said.
“Plaid Cymru is a progressive party that has consistently stood against the chaos, cruelty, and corruption of the Tories in Westminster.
“Ben Lake, our MP for Ceredigion, is a strong and effective voice for all the people of Ceredigion. Whether its championing local causes and businesses, standing up for rural communities, or taking the Tories to task, Ben has stood up time and again for Ceredigion.
“His tireless commitment to his constituents was recognised in force when he was returned to Parliament with one of the biggest majorities in Wales following the General Election of 2019 – with a vote share far ahead of both Labour’s and the Liberal Democrats combined. We have no doubt that Plaid Cymru can win again in Ceredigion regardless of the arrangements between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
“But if Labour and the Lib Dems are serious about maximising the number of progressive MPs in Parliament, they should publicly commit to disapplying any non-aggression pact in seats held by progressive parties.”
Keir Starmer’s allies told the Financial Times that the deal with the Lib Dems made sense as none of Labour’s top target seats features on the Lib Dems’ list of top 30 target seats.
“If both parties put resources into where they are most likely to win, you end up with more Labour seats and more Lib Dem seats,” they said.
Thinking forward to a potential hung parliament, they added: “We can’t be in a position like we were in 2010 when we barely knew each other.”
The Liberal Democrats last year won shock wins in the Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire by-elections, leading to Conservative fears that they could topple the Conservative ‘Blue Wall’ in the south of England.
Meanwhile, Labour plan to focus on winning back the ‘Red Wall’ seats that stretch into the north-east of Wales.
“If Labour and the Liberal Democrats spend all their time and money trying to beat each other it’s really not good for progressive politics,” one Lib Dem strategist said.
“We need to fight in the areas where we can win and that is the overwhelming priority.”
The Liberal Democrats held Ceredigion until the 2017 election when they were narrowly beaten by Plaid Cymru’s Ben Lake. In 2019 however they fell back further, behind the Conservatives into third place.
Ceredigion is number 30 on their list of top target seats. Together the Lib Dems and Labour would have won 13,292 votes in the seats, still short of the 15,208 won by Plaid Cymru, but more than the 8,879 won by the Conservatives.
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