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Sat, 11 July 2020

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People's Vote campaign urges election candidates to step aside in 100 seats to avoid splitting pro-referendum support

People's Vote campaign urges election candidates to step aside in 100 seats to avoid splitting pro-referendum support
2 min read

Campaigners for a second Brexit referendum have urged rival candidates to step aside in a bid to maximise the number of pro-EU MPs elected on 12 December.

People's Vote is calling on MP hopefuls who back a second referendum but are unlikely to win to make a "huge personal sacrifice" and stand down in seats where they have no chance of winning.

The party has unveiled a list of 100 pro-referendum Liberal Democrat, Labour and independent candidates who it says have the best chance of winning in crucial target seats.

And they are urging rivals in each seat to move out of the way in a bid to counter Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage's decision not to run any candidates in Conservative-held seats.

"This election is the most important election of our lifetimes," a spokesperson for the campaign said.

"It will decide our country’s future for decades to come. It will either result in a Parliament that supports a People’s Vote or one that backs Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit. 

"Now Nigel Farage has stood down Brexit party candidates in 317 seats, it is more important than ever for those on our side of the argument to show willingness to put party politics aside for the greater cause."

The campaign is urging candidates to follow the example of Tim Walker, who stood aside as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the Tory-Labour marginal of Canterbury to avoid splitting the local vote and risking the defeat of Labour incumbent Rosie Duffield.

The Lib Dems have vowed to find a new candidate for the seat despite Mr Walker's move, although that has sparked a major backlash in the local party.

The People's Vote campaign said: "We applaud the initiative taken by Tim Walker, the former Liberal Democrat candidate for Canterbury, who made the courageous decision to step aside, and encourage others to do the same.

"Wherever possible, pro-people’s vote candidates who have the best chance of success, should be unopposed by others who share their commitment to a final-say referendum. 

"We appreciate this would involve a huge personal sacrifice, but this is an opportunity to save our country from a disastrous deal and give the people the final say on Brexit. The stakes have never been higher."

The campaign - which has been dogged by its own divisions in recent weeks - said it would be writing to rival candidates "asking them to prioritise a final-say referendum over party politics".

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