Anger Over Failure of Remain Candidates to Cooperate in Putney

Brexit Party withdrawal increases chance of Tories retaining the seat

The four candidates for the Putney seat


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There has been widespread anger across the Putney constituency from people in favour of staying in the EU at the failure of Remain supporting candidates to cooperate.

The candidate list for the seat has been finalised this Thursday (14 November) and just four people will be contesting the seat. The Brexit Party candidate stood down after Nigel Farage announced that they would not stand in Conservative held seats.

The four parties that are fielding candidates are the Conservatives (Will Sweet), Labour (Fleur Anderson), the Liberal Democrats (Sue Wixley) and the Greens (Fergal McEntee), which means that three Remain inclined candidates will be up against one supporting Leave. The Labour party and Liberal Democrat candidates are in favour of a second referendum.

Prior to the withdrawal of the Brexit Party some polls had predicted that the Conservatives would be defeated but the latest projections are suggesting that they look set to hang on due to the Leave vote not being split.

Remain United, the site set up by pro-EU campaigner Gina Miller is predicting a 39% share of the vote for Will Sweet, the Conservative candidate with Labour on 32% and the Lib Dems on 26%.

They say these projections are based on prediction methodology using regression-based methods, which are very similar to the well-known MRP method, and come from the same family of regularised prediction and post-stratification (RPP) methods. It is claimed that these methods were commissioned by Gina Miller when she headed Best for Britain, to successfully predict the 2017 General Election result.

If the prediction is correct it raises the possibility of a constituency with one of the highest Remain votes in the country electing a Brexit supporting MP. This has resulted in a furious reaction from many Remainers in Putney including some who are active members of political parties locally. It was hoped that a ‘Remain Alliance’ would be formed with candidates with similar views on Brexit standing down to ensure that the Remain vote was concentrated.

It had been hoped that a reciprocal deal could have been done in South West London in one Remain candidate could have stood in Putney and a clear run could have been given to the Liberal Democrats to try and unseat Zac Goldsmith in nearby Richmond Park.

One member of the local Labour Party told us, “It’s really frustrating, the maths are now very much against us with three Remainers and one Brexiteer. There now seems a better than even chance that one of the most pro-EU constituencies in the country will be represented by someone who takes us out. It's absurd like so much in politics these days.

“We have been outplayed by the Tories who have been quicker to understand what this election is about. Their deal with the Brexit Party should have been a signal for Remain orientated parties to be serious about working together. I won’t say Labour are blameless in all this, but our share of the vote in Putney in the last general election should have persuaded the Lib Dems that they should stand aside in this seat. The Euro election results aren’t really that relevant given the low turnout and Fleur is an excellent candidate who will reflect the views of the constituency. ”

Emma, who is a civil servant so asked for her full-name not to be used said, “I am a Conservative and a Remainer and it broke my heart when Justine Greening stood down. She would have won this seat as an independent. Despite having some good people around him like Sir Edward Lister, Boris simply isn’t a fit person to lead the country. My vote now automatically goes to the party who will hold a second referendum most likely to win. That could even be Labour as there is zero chance of Corbyn being prime minister of anything other than a coalition government in which his more daft policies will be ditched. If you had told me three years ago I would ever have said such a thing I would have thought you are mad.”

A Lib Dem party activist said, "Amidst the confusion that the candidates of two leading parties have cultivated about their positions, in Putney the Lib Dems have been identified as the party that represents Remain. The tactical voting guide released by the pro-Remain group @BestForBritain recommends voting for the Lib Dem candidate, Sue Wixley. Based on the most sophisticated polling available, @BestForBritain has concluded that Wixley and the Lib Dems are best placed to stop the Tories from driving the UK out of the EU at any cost."

As previously reported there is no consensus on tactical voting sites as to who the best party to vote is if you wish to see a Remainer win the seat. Remain United is recommending Labour as do However is urging Remainers to vote for the Lib Dems. The People’s Vote campaign say it is too early to make a call


November 15, 2019

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