>Cameron is right to keep lid on Tory Oldham campaign, and Clegg should do the same in Con/Lab marginals

>There have been lots of mutterings in recent days from Conservatives about their party not putting up a proper fight in Oldham East & Saddleworth. While David Cameron is doing a vague impression of being interested, it is obvious that he would prefer Lib Dem Elwyn Watkins to win if Conservative Kashif Ali cannot. More interestingly, he seems to be prepared to limit the campaigning Conservatives supporters do in order not to take votes away from the Lib Dems.

Despite what the rabid right wingers are snarling, there is nothing wrong with this at all. As well as having a responsibility to the Conservative Party, for the next four and half years Cameron has a responsibility to the coalition government he leads. Clearly during the time the coalition agreement stands, i.e. up to the 2015 General Election being called, it benefits him to have either an extra Lib Dem or an extra Conservative MP elected in a by election. It increases the government majority. Were the seat to be a Lib Dem/Conservative marginal then fine, both parties should go for it, but in this case there is a real risk of another Labour MP being elected if the Conservatives win a significant amount of votes. By extension, Clegg should also call of the hordes of leafleters in a similar way in a Lab/Conservative marginal by election. Until 2015.

This does not amount to an electoral pact. Lib Dem and Conservatives taking votes of each other does the coalition no good when they are in government together. VN does not think that ‘coalition candidates’ should be run in the 2015 general election, and the Liberal Democrats should not enter into an electoral pact with anyone in the general election, local elections, and devolved institution elections. Their negotiating position was so strong because they were open to offers from both parties. Coalitions are made up of two parties, they are not a permanent merger. However, for Westminster by-elections, while this government is in place, it makes sense for either the Liberal Democrats or Conservatives to put up a stronger fight while the other takes a back seat.


2 Comments to “>Cameron is right to keep lid on Tory Oldham campaign, and Clegg should do the same in Con/Lab marginals”

  1. >But not so much of a backseat that after multiple by-elections, we end up giving a majority to the conservatives.I'm not saying 19 con-marginal by-elections are going to happen but on the chance they could, we would be showing ourselves the door of opposition!

  2. >Patent nonsense. This is why people of this country want electoral reform, to take the decisions of their representation back into their hands and not in the hands of parties.Lib Dems and Tories are in a working business arrangement beset with constant negotiation and horse-trading over conflicting policy aims. Particularly on most constituency matters, like immigration, LD and Con views are totally opposed. Keeping the coalition with a working majority is the job of the Prime Minister(s) and his whips, not the voters!VN doesn't think it important to flesh out their argument regarding exactly WHY coalition candidates should not oppose each other during this government — despite evidence as clear as day that LD ministers and MPs have vastly different priorities and principles to their friends on the green benches.

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