With a General Election taking place on Thursday 12 December, less than six weeks away, how should London4Europe (L4E) choose to work and campaign? Chairman Richard Newcombe reflects on priorities.
Our members all come from different political parties or have no political affiliation. Our purpose is to return the UK to full membership of the European Union. We must focus on this one aim and only observe the promises made by different political parties in the light of achieving our staying in the EU.
This puts many members of L4E under considerable pressure as did the recent European Elections. Many members then felt they needed to set aside their party affiliation to campaign and support candidates who were pro Europe but from a different political party. This strategy was successful and we now have the vast majority of UK MEPs in Brussels being fully behind the UK’s continued membership.
The policy of People's Vote is to attempt to fill a new Parliament with pro-European MP’s by targeting 100 seats across the country, calling on the campaigning strength of the European Movement to work to affect the outcome in these seats. Attempts will be made to either defeat an existing Leave MP and replace with a pro-EU candidate or to support a pro-Europe candidate of whatever political party.
Having an overwhelming majority of pro-Europe MPs from whatever party is, within the constraints of a General Election, the only way to guarantee a favourable outcome to the present debate on the UK’s membership of the EU.
Here is a link to one such tactical voting website, this one by Best for Britain. We append a health warning that it is only a guide, because it is based on a model which not everyone agrees upon!
For many members of L4E, who must weigh up their local situation on who they will support, such an approach will put a strain on party loyalty against the need to support pro-EU candidates of whatever political colour.
We as European Movement members find ourselves in a situation not of our own making; a general election that will also determine the future relationship of the UK with the EU. Up to and including the 2016 Referendum, we were able to a certain extent to keep party loyalty and support for the EU apart.
We know that there will be no ‘sunny uplands’ if we do not remain as members of the EU and that all the political promises that will be made in this General Election Campaign will become "grazing unicorns" when we find that there are considerably fewer funds available to put the UK back together after years of austerity.
Chair of London4Europe