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Analysis

These 6 anti-Brexit independents may be worth a vote

by Luke Lythgoe | 06.06.2017

Some pro-Europeans have the option of voting for independent candidates standing on an explicitly anti-Brexit platform. But should they? Or will it split the pro-European vote and let a less desirable candidate slip into Parliament?

We’ve identified six anti-Brexit independents that may be worth voting for. This is because they are standing in seats where there is no chance of splitting the vote or, in one case, where the candidate has a chance of defeating the sitting Tory.

How should you vote?

Chris Coghlan – Battersea

Coghlan was a counter-terrorism officer at the Foreign Office who quit his job to stand in this election. He describes himself as a Stop Brexit candidate, and also aims to set up a centrist political movement. “I believe I could hugely help catalyse that,” Coghlan told InFacts. “The effect of my election as an independent would show such a strong demand for it.”

Battersea was 77% remain last year. Survation research commissioned by Coghlan at the start of the campaign showed an anti-Brexit independent could expect 17% of the vote, with a large number of undecided voters suggesting the Tories could be beaten with an impassioned ground campaign. Be that as it may, other pollsters – with the exception of YouGov – and bookies regard this a safe Conservative seat. So there’s little chance of Coghlan’s campaign denying victory to another party.

Tim Lord – Cities and Westminster

A lawyer and Soho resident of 25 years, Lord wants to stop Article 50 in its tracks as soon as possible. The sitting Tory MP, Mark Field, was a vocal remain campaigner but has failed to oppose Theresa May’s hard-Brexit strategy since. Though Field’s constituency is considered a Tory safe seat, his constituents voted 71% in favour of remain. Lord hopes to poach frustrated Tory voters who would never consider a Labour candidate.

James Torrance – Kensington

A strategy consultant who grew up in the constituency, Torrance would support plans for a second EU referendum “if they have a realistic chance of reversing Brexit”. Kensington is a safe seat for Tory Brexiter Victoria Borwick. Despite the referendum vote being 69% remain, neither the Lib Dems nor Labour has a realistic chance of winning.

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Don Davies – North Somerset

Davies, a local councillor standing in North Somerset who would “fully endorse” the electorate’s demand to “sign-off on the final deal when they have the information to make a genuine choice”. The constituency voted 52% remain last year. Sadly, nobody has a chance of defeating Brexiter Liam Fox with his 23,000 majority.

James Clarke – Bermondsey and Old Southwark

Pro-Europeans in Clarke’s constituency, which voted 73% remain, are spoiled for choice between a strongly anti-Brexit Labour incumbent and former Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes. The Tories are not a threat.

As a boss at an insurance technology start-up, protecting tech innovation in London is personal for Clarke. But his position against Brexit is broader. Over the weekend his constituency was the scene of the terror attack which killed seven people. “We’re about to spend two years of our time unpicking trade negotiations and restitching them with dozens of countries, rather than uniting and cooperating with our brothers and sisters in Europe to oppose religious terror,” Clarke told InFacts.

Claire Wright – East Devon

Unlike the previous five independents, Wright can’t quite be considered an anti-Brexit candidate. She backs “a meaningful vote on any final Brexit deal” rather than a referendum on the final deal. But she came a respectable second to the local Tory MP in 2015 and has momentum.

In the first five of these cases, it is safe to vote for the independents because there’s no risk of splitting the vote and there’s quite a lot to be said for doing so given that Brexit is so central to their campaigns. On the other hand, voters may prefer to back one of the other strongly pro-European candidates in these constituencies. In the last, given that Wright might just beat the sitting Tory, pro-Europeans should rally around her.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

3 Responses to “These 6 anti-Brexit independents may be worth a vote”

  • Luke –
    Why on earth are you suggesting voting for an independent over the strongly anti-Brexit and wudely respected senior Lib Dem Simon Hughes, who is standing again in the constituency he successfully represented for very many years?
    Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

  • Battersea is not a safe Tory seat. It has been Labour many times in the past. Only Labour have any chance of beating the Tories. Splitting the anti tory vote does pose a real risk of supplying the tories with one more compliant MP who will support their secretive Brexit plans. The Labour Candidate – Marsha de Cordova -is very strongly anti hard brexit . She is the only candidate standing who could possibly beat the sitting tory mp. You should support her, as should your independent candidate, the lib dem and others.
    Stop being destructive