After Greens and Plaid stood aside in Brecon, how can Lib Dems return the favour?

What Welsh seats could the Lib Dems stand down in?

After the Liberal Democrats won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election last week, the Greens and Plaid Cymru attempted to claim some of the credit.

Both parties stood down to help the Liberal Democrats beat the Tories and the Brexit Party in the by-election.

“The Green Party’s decision was key,” said the Welsh Green Party leader, “the Liberal Democrat majority was 1,400 votes. We got 1,300 votes in the seat in 2015, while Plaid Cymru, who also withdrew from the by-election, also got that many votes”.

The question is though – how many of the 2,600 odd Breconites who previously voted Green/Plaid switched to the Lib Dems? And how many of them wouldn’t have done so if the Greens/Plaid had been running?

The answer is impossible to know. The Greens and Plaid will naturally make out it’s a lot while the Lib Dems will naturally play it down.

This is partly because the size of the favour the Lib Dems were done will affect the size of the favour they are expected to offer in return.

Looking across the electoral map of Wales though, it’s hard to see what the Greens could be offered.

At the last election, the party didn’t stand in most Welsh seats and did not seriously challenge in any of them.

Plaid Cymru, on the other hand, have four MPs and could do with some help to keep them.

Two of them, Jonathan Edwards and Liz Saville Roberts, will face a challenge from both Labour and the Tories at the next election.

Another, Hywel Williams, will be challenged by the Labour Party – who he only beat by under 100 votes at the last election.

The final Plaid MP is Ben Lake in Ceredigion. His main challenger is the Liberal Democrats themselves – who he beat by just 104 votes in 2017.

If the Liberal Democrats want to return the favour, they should decline to stand against one of Edwards and Roberts.

If they’re feeling generous, they could refuse to stand against both and perhaps even throw in Williams’ seat (if they want to hurt Labour) and Ynys Mon – where Plaid and the Tories finished 5,000 votes behind Labour in 2017.

For further co-operation, Plaid Cymru could decline to stand in the pretty safe Tory seat of Montgomeryshire. This seat borders Brecon and Radnorshire and is the only other seat in Wales where the Lib Dems are the main (albeit distant) opposition.

How much of a difference this will all make is up for debate but talking about the specifics is important if we’re to take the ‘Remain Alliance’ idea seriously.

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7 Responses to “After Greens and Plaid stood aside in Brecon, how can Lib Dems return the favour?”

  1. BJT

    There’s an argument that the LibDems should decline to stand in all the Tory held seats where Plaid polled better in GE2017
    (Preseli, Aberconwy, Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthen West, Clwyd West).
    Plaid may be the main beneficiaries of the Remain alliance, but if Labour also gain a few votes, and manage to win some of these ConLab marginals then that increases the chance of a second referendum which will only happen if Labour can put together a coalition.

  2. Tom Sacold

    All of these parties are non-socialist and non-progressive.

    These parties stand for managing capitalism in the interests of the middle-class, not reforming capitalism in the interests of the working-class

  3. steve

    And so the bickering begins.

    The alliance proposal is founded on a fallacy: that the most important challenge facing the UK is the choice between remaining in or leaving the EU.

    And it will flounder on that fallacy.

    The only choice that matters now, and this is coming increasingly to the fore, is between neoliberalism (an extreme for of capitalism) and the development of a post-capitalist society that is not going to, literally, cost us the earth.

  4. Tom Sacold

    The only real choice that has mattered since the start of the industrial revolution is that between labour and capital.

  5. Tom

    The Lib Dems could stand down in large number of welsh seats in favour in favour of the greens and Plaid. Without a pact, the Lib Dems will be lucky to win Brecon and Radnorshire come the general election, with a pact, they could at least make stronger challenges in the seats they do contest.

    It is idiotic for parties that support a proportional electoral system to view first pass the post a sacred. Does it really matter whether lib dem, green or plaid contest a particular seat in Cardiff if they don’t win? To work best a pact needs to be about a genuine commitment to political change.

    I suspect that the pact in Brecon was absolutely vital in allowing the Lib dems to win. Look at the assembly election result for Brecon and radnorshire to see how much support greens or plaid could have got.

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