Calls for election pacts between Labour, the Lib Dems, and Green Party to put forward a single candidate to defeat Tories in seats across East Sussex have been made by two organisations.
In Eastbourne, one of two Sussex seats which the Tories took from the Liberal Democrats back in 2015, Caroline Ansell has a majority of just 733 votes, with former MP Stephen Lloyd expected to stand again in June.
Elsewhere in the county, Labour MP for Hove Peter Kyle is defending a majority of 1,236, Tory MP for Brighton Kemptown Simon Kirby polled just 690 more votes than the Labour candidate back in 2015, while Tory MP Maria Caulfield was elected for Lewes by 1,083 more votes than incumbent Norman Baker.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election for Thursday June 8,
In response both Sussex Progressives and Brighton and Hove Compass are urgently calling on Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens not to contest ‘unwinnable’ seats in East Sussex, but instead to allow the single candidate best-placed to beat the Tories.
A rally has been organised at the Brighton Level on Saturday April 22, starting at 11am, with speeches from the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Wealden Chris Bowers, and Labour’s Michael Freedman.
A petition has already been launched here
Georgia Amson-Bradshaw, co-convenor of Sussex Progressives, said: “This is not a normal election. The stakes are too high. Theresa May wants voters to rubber stamp her extreme Brexit and her far-right vision for the UK. Progressives cannot afford to be fighting each other at this critical historical moment.”
Mr Bowers said: “This isn’t just about electoral tactics, though that’s an important consideration - it’s about being smart about putting the compassion back into British politics, and to do that we need to free ourselves from the traditional idea that all parties other than our own are the enemy.”
Mr Freedman added: “As a Labour activist at national and local level for 50 years I am sad that we cannot win in June. The next best thing is to stop the Tories. Supporting the Progressive Alliance is the best way to do this.”
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