Isle of Wight voters will not be able to opt for a Liberal Democrat candidate on 12 December, it has been confirmed.
The decision is one of a number being made around the UK, as part of a “Remain Alliance” agreed between those parties that want to halt Brexit.
Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats has agreed a deal with The Green Party, represented on the Isle of Wight by Vix Lowthion. It is hoped that voters who want to stay in Europe will back the teacher from the West Wight, instead of splitting their support between a number of different candidates. In Wales, the deal also involves Plaid Cymru.
Today’s announcement does not come a surprise. A draft document was leaked at the weekend and then swiftly recalled. It also appeared to have been confirmed by outgoing MP Heidi Allen earlier today.
Nick Stuart, who was unveiled as the Liberal Democrat candidate in September (as reported by Isle of Wight Radio) was quoted over the weekend as saying he was disappointed with the decision, but that it was the best way to maximise the remain vote.
Vix Lowtion tweeted today,
“I can confirm that I will be the @unitetoremain candidate for the #isleofwight in the coming General Election. Massive thank you to all the LibDems for taking part in this initiative, and putting our country first. It’s not an easy decision for many of us, but it is the right one.”
In 2017, a combined vote would have meant 15,655 for a “Remain” candidate (combining the Liberal Democrat and The Green Party support). In that election, Labour’s former candidate Julian Critchley won 17,121 votes and Conservative Bob Seely won the seat with 38,190 votes (a 51% share).
Five candidates are currently hoping to be voted Isle of Wight MP in December. Find them at iwradio.co.uk/vote2019.