General Election 2019: Tory candidate slams South Cambs election pact as ‘contempt for democracy’
The Conservative candidate running to become the next MP of South Cambridgeshire has said the Green Party and Liberal Democrats are “depriving voters of choice” with their pact.
The Green Party will not be standing in South Cambridgeshire as part of a wider national alliance between the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, under the banner of the Unite to Remain movement, fronted by former South Cambs MP HeidiAllen.
Conservative candidate Anthony Browne reacted to the decision, and said: “They are depriving voters of choice and showing their contempt for democracy.
“I think it's a pity that their voters are being denied the choice of voting for who they want to vote for.”
Asked how it will affect his chances, he said: “There’s no room for complacency. In normal times this might be a safe seat but these are not normal times.
“I’m confident we will win, but there's no room for complacency and we have to fight.”
And asked if he would want to see a pro-Brexit alliance for the seat he said: “This is way above my pay grade. That’s between the party leaders, and Boris has made clear he is not interested.
“Instinctively, I’m in favour of giving voters choice.”
Mr Browne says he supports the prime minister’s deal and is against a no-deal Brexit.
He said: “My Brexit position is aligned with the government. There was a vote, there was a referendum, it had a result, all major political parties pledged to honour the result of the referendum. 80 per cent of MPs were elected, including Heidi Allen, to honour the manifesto commitments.
“We are a democracy, we just need to get on with it and focus on all the things that we affect people’s everyday lives like health and education and law and order.
“I don’t want no-deal at all. I know the Lib Dems have been saying that I do but I have never ever expressed that.
“The Liberal Democrat policy of simply cancelling the referendum is incredibly anti-democratic.”
The Green Party had been expected to stand Oliver Fisher in South Cambs.
Mr Fisher said: “I'm standing down. I found out on Wednesday evening that South Cambridgeshire was gonig to be part of this arrangement, so I will be standing aside.
“I fully support the stance that the party has taken.
“I was ready to stand but I do think stepping aside is the right thing to do.”
He said “we were not going to win this seat” and added: “I would not want those votes I would receive to be the difference between the Lib Dems getting over the line or not.”
Ian Sollom, the Liberal Democrat candidate, said in a statement announcing the election pact: “The sacrifice made by the Green Party here is enormous. It is very hard to stand aside for someone else when you have been working hard for a cause.
“We share so many of the aims of the Green Party. As well as a desire to stay in the EU, we both believe that we need to act quickly on climate change at all levels.
“This is an unprecedented agreement between parties and is just the sort of action that is needed to improve politics at this critical time.
“We need to pay particular tribute to Heidi Allen, who has put so much into making this agreement happen.”
The Labour candidate for the constituency, Dan Greef, said: “I suspect that a lot of that vote will come to Labour now and not the Liberal Democrats."
He said he offered the Green Party the chance to support his campaign but said “I never heard back”.
And he added the Green Party vote in South Cambridgeshire is “pretty small” and said that while he thought they would have worked “well together,” the “real decider is going to be between the Labour vote and the Liberal Democrat vote”.
More by this authorBen Hatton, Local Democracy Reporter
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