Standing aside for Green MP would be ‘political suicide’, says former Lib Dem candidate

Posted On 25 Apr 2017 at 8:06 pm

A former Liberal Democrat election candidate has warned party colleagues that standing aside for Green MP Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion would be “political suicide”.

Jeremy Gale, who stood for the Lib Dems in the local elections two years ago, spoke out as members of his party consider whether to form a “progressive alliance” with the Greens.

Last year the Greens stood aside in the Richmond Park by-election in support of the Lib Dems who took the seat from the Conservatives.

And at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton last autumn his party colleagues debated the idea of forming a progressive alliance with other left-leaning parties to defeat the Tories.

The discussion followed publication of a book called The Alternative, edited by Labour MP Lisa Nandy, Ms Lucas and Chris Bower, who stood against her for the Lib Dems in Brighton Pavilion in 2015.

Mr Gale said that a progressive pact would amount to “political suicide”, with the party “squandering a unique opportunity to finally establish firm foundations” in Brighton.

He also said that a pact would be “utterly disrespectful to the electorate of Brighton Pavilion”, was an affront to democracy and stood “in total opposition to the liberal and democratic values on which our party is built”.

He said: “A cursory look at the data from the EU referendum shows wards within Pavilion backed remain by as much as 83 per cent. With our unashamedly pro-EU message we now have a unique opportunity to put our case to the electorate of Brighton Pavilion.

Jeremy Gale


“We need to be winning back the voters that we lost in 2015, not working to consolidate Lucas’s majority and the ensuing stranglehold the Greens will have on Brighton Pavilion.

“To not stand a candidate amounts to the party squandering a unique opportunity to finally establish firm foundations on which to build for future elections. To vote in favour of the pact will be an act of political suicide.

“Democratic processes are meant to be at the core of our party. It smacks of double standards to be placing power in the hands of a very small unelected membership and asking them to decide whether we, as a party, deprive the electorate of Brighton Pavilion of the option to vote Liberal Democrat.

“If the membership decides to back the pact then it is, in my view, an affront to democracy, utterly disrespectful to the electorate of Brighton Pavilion and stands in complete opposition to the liberal and democratic values on which our party is built.

“We need a candidate on the ballot paper, giving voters the choice to vote for us or not. If they reject us at the ballot box, then that is their choice.

“It is the people who should decide if they accept or reject us. We should not reject ourselves in favour of a political rival.”

The Lib Dems are putting up candidates in Hove and Brighton Kemptown – Carrie Hynds and Emily Tester respectively.

Party members are due to decide whether to contest Brighton Pavilion or stand aside at a meeting tomorrow.

  1. Al Reply

    The LibDems lost their deposit in Btn Pav last time. Not going to take a political lecture in this city from them.

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    I’m not impressed! The Libdem flyer I had last week was error-filled, mindbendingly insensitive and showed me the Libdems have nothing to offer.

    Sadly candidates from three left leaning parties against one right wing one in any given ward points to a fairly obvious outcome – an annihilating Tory landslide win.

    This jerk lacks the level of altruism needed for survival of the left-leaning factions in this situation. And his jealousy of La Lucas is simply obscene.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      Well, as you were apparently a former Liberal Democrat candidate, why didn’t you offer to stand again for them? Or have you totally moved over to the dark (Green) side?

  3. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Its political suicide if the left leaning parties do not protect the strongest candidates by giving them a clear run. And in Kemptown allowing Kirby to skip back while 3 lefties jostle and split the left vote would be negligence and result in depriving Kemptown of the chance to have an MP that would be there for residents to help with things like compromised rail services.

  4. Paul Chandler Reply

    It’s simple really: who wants to wake up on June 9th to find a Labour or Tory MP in the Pavilion constituency? LibDems have sufficient self-confidence to make this gesture of solidarity in return for the Green Party’s decision not to stand in Richmond Park last year when LibDem Sarah Olney defeated Zac Goldsmith. Caroline Lucas’s intervention there was very important.

    If our members decide not to offer a candidate in Pavilion, it will not set any precedent for future elections. We think this is a unique BREXIT election and on that subject our policy is identical to that of Caroline Lucas including support for a second referendum when the result of the negotiation is known.

    As the current LibDem candidate for Pavilion, I am urging our members to order me not to stand! I have debated with Caroline on several occasions and there are many things on which we disagree. But on Brexit we both believe that we must stop Mrs May’s headlong rush into a hard Brexit that will be bad for jobs, bad for our economy and bad for Britain.

    Paul Chandler LibDem Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion.

    • Gordon Lishman Reply

      Agree

      • Elizabeth Drury Reply

        Good for you Paul Chandler – speaking some clear sense in this debate. What would be political suicide is for LibDems to waste time and resources fighting a seat they cannot win in Pavilion against a sitting MP who is absolutely in line with all our priorities on the EU and Brexit! We have to realise that 99% of electorate are not party members and not tribal – most of the centrist and left-leaning voters want to see grown-up collaboration between like-minded parties who have a lot in common to oppose a right-wing ideology. The future is in collaboration not competition – just hope your fellow LibDems in Brighton can withstand the tribal shouting and that common sense will prevail!

  5. David Boyle Reply

    I very much agree with Paul. Caroline Lucas is liberal minded and a brilliant MP and, as a nearby party member, i hope we will have the self-confidence to stand down in her favour.

    David Boyle
    Lib Dem county council candidate in Henfield, west Sussex

  6. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Good to see some confident and sensible LibDem voices here countering this buffoon’s destructive position with some grace, I might add.

  7. Rolivan Reply

    Meanwhile I see Nestle are closinfg factories in The UK and moving to Poland just like Kraft and yet Poland receive £16b from the E.U coffers,this is why the E.U is a failure in its present formand people like Dr Caroline Lucas have allowed this to happen .

    • Karen Brooks Reply

      No one is saying the EU is perfect, but we are in a much stronger position inside the union than outside it. As to companies moving out of the UK, Brexiteers made that happen; Ms Lucas is one person standing up to prevent the situation getting worse. I fail to see how a weaker economy, imposition of import and export duties to our nearest neighbours and no aid from the EU or the UK government is going to help us to rebuild a manufacturing industry that was too weak to survive in better times.

    • Hjarrs Reply

      £16 billion? Incredibly good value to help take a country away from Russian influence and modernise a country.

      Are you moving back from France, where you have made full use of the freedom of movement, before we Brexit?

      • Gerald Wiley Reply

        Is it really you back from the dead? I’ve really missed your shining wit ?

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