As reported by OnTheWight this week, the prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats has stood down from the General Election in an alliance negotiated by Unite to Remain with the Green Party.
In response to the news, the other candidates have shared their views on the alliance. (In alphabetical order of the candidates).
Love: A desperate action dismissing the principles of localism
Independent candidate, Karl Love, told OnTheWight,
“I welcome the support of those who have been let down by the Liberal Democrat Party’s betrayal of Island people.
“Creating a pact and trying to force constituents to Vote Green by reducing the choices for Island People is undemocratic when it’s driven by central party policy. It smacks of internal party politics that puts itself first and foremost.
“This action is about cherry picking and winning a seat at any cost, without loyalties to its own principles. It’s a desperate action dismissing the principles of localism by reducing choices.
“Many liberals will be dismayed by this step and I’ve already been contacted by Liberal Democrats saying they will now support me because their party has betrayed their loyalty.
Quigley: More votes in 2017 than LibDem and Green combined
Island Labour’s candidate, Richard Quigley, told OnTheWight,
“I do feel sorry for those Islanders who wanted to vote for the Liberal Democrats. I don’t believe back-room deals like this have much to do with democracy.
“In an election, it’s the job of parties to set out their policies, and to seek to win majority support. That’s what I’ll be doing over the next five weeks, and I believe I can convince a majority of Islanders to back me and the policies I represent. I don’t think back-room deals like this, which effectively disenfranchise voters, are really very democratic.
“There’s also a question of principle. I thought the Green Party was an anti-austerity party which opposed fracking. But the LibDems are a pro-austerity party whose leader received large donations from a fracking company. So what does this combined party now represent?
“I think it’s sad that two parties which had distinctive, and very different, policies have decided that they will abandon those in favour of trying to make this election about the single issue of Brexit. This election is about so much more than Brexit. It has to be. It’s about our public services, our standard of living and the pressing climate crisis. It’s about what sort of country we want our children to grow up in. To ignore all that and reduce it to a single issue is a failure of democratic responsibility.
“Ultimately, however, the Labour Party received more votes on the Island in 2017 than the LibDem and Green votes combined, so this won’t alter the fundamental fact that this election will be decided between Labour and the Tories here. The minor parties are really just re-arranging deckchairs on their electoral titanic.
“As my opponent Bob Seely has already recognised, this election – nationally and here on the Island – is a contest between the Labour and Conservative visions for our country. Whatever people have voted for in the past, I urge them to look at Labour’s manifesto and make a choice based on the policies they see there. That’s democracy as I understand it.”
Seely: “Track record of delivering for the constituency”
The Conservative candidate, Bob Seely, told OnTheWight,
“It is up to other parties what they choose to do. However, it is important that each candidate and party stand on their own merits. I don’t think that the public will look favourably upon any suggestion that their votes can be traded between parties in such a manner, like in an 18th century rotten borough.
“There will be mainstream Liberal Democrat voters on the Island who have no desire to follow their party’s recommendation, and would instead prefer a strong local candidate with track record of delivering for the constituency. I am that candidate.”
Wiltshire: Your vote belongs to you
The Brexit Party’s candidate, Peter Wiltshire, told OnTheWight,
“As a businessman, not a career politician I believe treating votes as a mere commodity is wrong. Your vote belongs to you, not the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the Conservatives – or even the Brexit Party!
“The Tories say the Brexit Party should stand down because we will split ‘their’ vote and they have Brexit covered. But can they be relied upon? I fear that Boris’s plans will leave us aligned to the EU for a very long time, perhaps forever. Remember the majority of Tory MPs – now candidates again – were Remainers.
“Boris’s deal kicks the can down the road – leaving the tricky questions for the next stage of negotiations, with a strict framework laid down by the EU. For example, they insist on close alignment on fisheries, tax and defence. The only way out of this is a no-deal Brexit which Boris has said will be off the table.
“Brexit supporters on the Island should be able to vote for a proper ‘Leave’ candidate. Bob Seely’s position on Brexit is inconsistent. Many Tories have told me that they are unhappy that he voted three times for May’s surrender treaty and seems more interested in climbing the greasy pole than working for the island. They also say they’re fed up of hearing him talk about Russia and Hong Kong rather than problems they face. They have kindly said they will vote for the Brexit party on December 12th.
“The other upside is there will be no more cosy relationship between this Tory council and the Tory MP.
“My pledge to Islanders is this: if elected, I will work constructively with whoever is in power but will do whatever is needed to deliver a proper Brexit. I will spend my time representing the Island and Islanders not travelling the world or currying favour in the hopes of promotion. I want to make a real difference for the Isle of Wight.”