Gina Miller launches tactical voting campaign for UK election


As Brexit continues to divide the UK, pro-EU campaigners are making an unprecedented effort to persuade voters to think tactically about how to thwart Theresa May’s plans.

Gina Miller, who rose to prominence and faced death threats after forcing the government in court to vote Parliament on triggering Brexit, launched her campaign on Wednesday.

She said she raised more than £300,000 in six days for her group, Best for Britain, although £15,000 had to be returned to donors who pledged more than the maximum of £499 allowed by law. electoral.

Ms Miller said the group was looking to increase voter turnout in general elections, especially among young people. The organization envisioned working with the people behind Strategic Voting, a campaign credited with influencing the outcome of Canada’s 2015 federal election.

“Tactical voting can ensure Parliament plays its full part in the future,” Ms Miller said. “People want MPs to be strong and open-minded.”

Video: How the UK election will affect Brexit

Another pro-EU campaign – led by Open Britain, successor to the Brexit Remain campaign for the referendum – was launched on Tuesday, only to face the immediate resignation of three Tory MPs who were unwilling to sanction attacks on others deputies on their benches.

Meanwhile, there are questions about the impact tactical voting will have on an election. opinion polls suggest is almost certain to produce a large conservative majority.

“You only have a relatively small number of people who are willing to change their vote tactically,” said Matt Singh, a polls analyst.

Other tactical ballot efforts include one led by Ben Goldacre, doctor, academic writer and scientist, and a statement by Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, to support candidates who would keep an “open mind” on Brexit .

Some, like Dr. Goldacre’s, aim to limit the number of seats the Conservative party wins, in an election likely to give it a landslide victory. Dr Goldacre is particularly concerned about the fate of the National Health Service under a Tory government.

He said he was not a ‘political party’ but added: ‘This time around I think the Conservatives are a particularly bad bet: for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the threat to the NHS.”

Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve have said it’s ‘untenable’ for them to stay in a group that aims to attack Tories © FT Montage

Ms Miller and Open Britain, by contrast, are seeking to soften the government’s stance on Brexit by backing pro-EU candidates and supporters opposed to leaving the bloc.

Campaigns have multiplied in part because of the power of the Internet as a tool for disseminating information. Becky Snowden, a digital marketing manager from West Yorkshire, provided the data for one of the more sophisticated efforts, a tactical voting site called Tactical2017.

But the departure on Tuesday of three Tory MPs – Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve – from Open Britain on its target list shows the potential challenges for such campaigns where Brexit rubs shoulders with political loyalties.

Ms Morgan, who represents Loughborough, wrote in a Facebook post on behalf of the three MPs that they could not stay in a group that advocated campaigning against Conservative MPs or candidates.

Ms Soubry, MP for Broxtowe, wrote on Twitter that she was leaving because the group was campaigning against ‘excellent one nation Tories’ such as Nicola Blackwood, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.


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Ms Miller acknowledged that the question of which candidates to support in the election was “complicated”. But she said the campaign would support candidates who were prepared to put political parties “aside” and secure the best deal for Britain in the Brexit negotiations.

His campaign will consider making donations to individual candidates, although it will not offer any funding to central party organizations.

As well as pushing some voters to support pro or anti-EU or anti-Tory candidates, tactical voting is expected to play a role in Scotland.

Opposition to the Scottish National Party’s desire for a second referendum on Scottish independence could lead voters to turn to the Conservative Party, the strongest pro-union force in Scottish politics.

Tactical voting had played a role in some previous UK elections such as 1997, where voters were found to have chosen the parties best placed to overthrow the Conservatives after the party had spent 18 years in power.

But the rise of the anti-EU party Ukip and the SNP in the 2015 general election made it confusing in many seats to determine which candidate was best placed to deliver the result tactical voters wanted. “This time it’s harder because last time the swings were everywhere,” Mr Singh said.


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