A great victory for the Lib Dems – and the Progressive Alliance. Let’s follow it up in East Devon.

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Peter Brooke in The Times

The Lib Dems have scored a great by-election victory in Amersham, helped by Labour and Green voters putting the Progressive Alliance into effect by voting tactically to defeat the Conservative.

Voters in two areas of East Devon have an opportunity to follow suit on July 8th, in two EDDC by-elections, which are crucial for keeping the progressive alliance in control on the council. In Feniton, the Lib Dem, Todd Olive, is best placed to win, while in Honiton, it is Labour’s Jake Bonetta. I hope progressive voters in these two wards will unite around these candidates. Let’s show Boris Johnson that the blue wall is crumbling in Devon too!

Tactical voting is great, but we still need agreements between parties

It’s important to remember that this was a by-election, which is why the Lib Dems were able to do a lot better than they did in the same area in May’s nationwide local elections. In the general election, Labour and Green candidates will take votes back from the Lib Dems in Amersham, while stay-at-home Tories may come out again, as the national campaigns for all the parties kick in.

So the Lib Dems may struggle to hang on to the seat, as has happened before after by-election victories, and Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey, was wrong to say that we don’t need arrangements between parties. Labour and the Greens could make it much easier for the Lib Dems to consolidate their by-election victory, in return for similar gestures elsewhere.

Under First Past The Post, we need a Progressive Alliance with two pillars: progressive voters to rally around a single candidate AND agreements between parties to give the strongest anti-Tory candidate the best chance.

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