GE2019: Remain pact was considered in North Herefordshire

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Monday, November 25th, 2019 7:04pm

By Carmelo Garcia - Local Democracy Reporter

The Green Party and Liberal Democrats held last minute talks to try and form a Remain alliance for the North Herefordshire constituency, it has emerged.

The constituency where Conservative Party candidate Bill Wiggin increased his majority to 21,602 in 2017 was considered as a potential bargaining chip during the Unite to Remain electoral pact negotiations.

The pact for the December 12 general election between the Lib Dems, Green Party and Plaid Cymru in Wales looked at 60 seats nationally where the pro-EU parties will not field candidates against each other.

North Herefordshire Green candidate Ellie Chowns said she talked to Lib Dem candidate Phillip Howells about him standing aside.

“The Lib Dems refused to co-operate both at council and parliamentary seat level. They had the opportunity to be the part of Unite to Remain locally and they turned it down,” she said.

“I spoke to Phillip Howells about it. There was a last minute opportunity but Phillip very much wanted to stand so another local Lib Dem party has participated in that arrangement.

“It was a deal just for North Herefordshire as part of the national Unite to Remain campaign.”

Mr Howells confirmed the talks took place but believes the Lib Dems have a better chance of winning locally.

“The picture is that the parties negotiated together and it was agreed 60 seats nationally would make more sense to have a progressive alliance,” he said.

“It’s telling that the majority of those were Lib Dems.

“The minority were Green and a few of Plaid Cymru.

“We were told quite clearly, other than where strategic agreements between parties have taken place that local parties are neither expected nor should form any local arrangements.

“If approached you should go back to the HQ and ask the question.

“I was approached, I referred it back and was told no, we are not going to form an alliance.

“The Greens in North Herefordshire have never beaten the Lib Dems in the parliamentary votes.

“This surely means a Lib Dem would have to be the supported candidate.”

At the last election, the Tories polled 31,097, followed by Labour on 9,495, Lib Dems received 5,874 and the Greens 2,771 in North Herefordshire.
Independents Sasha Norris and Arthur Devine polled 577 and 363 respectively.

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