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UK pro-remain parties form electoral pact

By JONATHAN POWELL | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-08 09:25
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The three anti-Brexit parties standing in Britain's upcoming general election have formed an electoral pact, agreeing not to run against each other in 60 seats across England and Wales.

The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) and the Green Party-all of whom favor the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union-want to give British voters another chance to choose whether to remain or leave the EU in a second national referendum。

The three-party pact means that, in Wales, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens will agree not to field candidates, boosting Plaid Cymru's chances of picking up the so-called remain vote in the Dec 12 election. In England, the pact is simply a two-way agreement between the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

Former MP and chair of the Unite to Remain group, Heidi Allen, has been involved in setting up the alliance, and she told the BBC it was "an opportunity to tip the balance of power".

"We are facing that real danger of a no-deal or hard Brexit and that sense of a common or shared purpose really focused minds," she said。 "Local parties and candidates have been incredible, and this is about country first, not about them and them winning, and it's been tough at times, but I'm pleased we've managed it。"

Students will play a major role in the election result, with research showing that for 53 percent of the electorate, Brexit will be the key factor in their voting decision。

The analysis from the Higher Education Policy Institute shows that more than half of student voters are ready to vote tactically. In 2017, 47 percent of this group was ready to vote tactically. Tactical voting means voting for the candidate more likely to win, even when that candidate is not a voter's first choice.

A sample of more than 1,000 undergraduates, using data from the polling company YouthSight, indicates 74 percent oppose Brexit。

Meanwhile, days after his decadelong stint as speaker of the House of Commons ended, John Bercow has described Brexit as the biggest mistake Britain has made since World War II。

"I don't think it helps the UK. Brexit is the biggest mistake of this country after the war. I respect Prime Minister Johnson, but Brexit doesn't help us. It's better to be part of the (EU) power bloc," Bercow said, in a valedictory speech given to the Foreign Press Association.

Bercow was persistently accused of bias by Brexit-supporting MPs during his term as speaker, but he rejected the idea he had blocked Brexit, insisting "it was Parliament" that had prevented Britain from leaving before now, "not me"。

He added: "My job was to stand up for the rights of the House of Commons. No apology for championing the rights of Parliament. Parliament is no disgrace at all and did its job well."

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