General Election 2019: opposition parties push for tactical voting

Cross-party alliance launches last-ditch bid to deprive Boris Johnson of majority

(Image credit: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images)

Opposition politicians have a launched a cross-party plea for tactical voting, in an eleventh-hour attempt to deprive Boris Johnson of a majority in Thursday’s general election.

With just days to go until voters cast their ballot, polls out this weekend have the Conservatives leading by anywhere between 15% (Opinium/Observer) to just 8% (Savanta/ComRes).

The latest polls indicate that the Conservatives could be on track for a majority, having managed to consolidate large sections of voters who supported leaving the European Union in 2016.

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But “tactical voting is set to be one of the decisive factors in the election” says the Financial Times, and the final result “could depend on whether Remain supporters, armed with opinion poll data, will vote tactically for the party most likely to beat the Tories”.

Analysis of almost 30,000 voters for the pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain found that tactical votes by as few as 40,700 people in 36 key marginal seats could prevent Johnson from forming a majority government and pushing through his Brexit deal.

In a sign that all is still to play for, a separate survey for the Vote for a Final Say campaign published by The Independent found that “around a tenth of the electorate could be prepared to switch allegiances and vote tactically on Thursday”.

Urging voters to put aside tribal loyalties in order to boost the chances of securing a second referendum, two former prime ministers, Tony Blair and John Major, have joined Labour Party, Green Party, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat MPs in calling on voters to think tactically when casting their ballot.

Having faced criticism from anti-Brexit campaigners for refusing to stand down candidates in Labour-Tory marginals, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson appeared to soften her stance over the weekend, telling The Observer that voters in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency should vote tactically to oust the Prime Minister Boris Johnson from his seat.

“Voting tactically in Uxbridge means voting for Labour” notes the newspaper.

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While memories of Theresa May’s disastrous 2017 election are still raw, and despite a tightening of polls in recent days, Tory party insiders nevertheless remain bullish about their prospects.

“The main danger now has been dubbed ‘T’n’T’, which stands for turnout and tactical voting, which could tip the balance in more than 30 seats” says The Sunday Times.

With bad weather, election fatigue and over-confidence threatening to keep some would-be-Tory voters away on Thursday, The Sun political correspondent Ryan Sabey says “turnout will be crucial”. “Just 10,000 voters in battleground seats hold the destiny of Brexit in their hands” Sabey adds, citing analysis from Tory election guru Lord Hayward.

Warning that up to 100,000 Labour activists are flooding critical marginals across the country, the Daily Mail says that “Tory strategists fear support for the Brexit Party could split the Leave vote in tight races and let in Labour MPs through the back door”.

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