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  1. Politics
2 August 2010updated 12 Oct 2023 10:59am

Majority of Tory members open to pact with Lib Dems

55 per cent of membership willing to give most Lib Dem MPs a free run at the next election.

By George Eaton

I recently blogged on the increasing possibility of an electoral pact between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems after the Tory MP Mark Field suggested that his party is almost certain to give “most Liberal Democrat incumbents” a free run in their seats.

Now, a new survey by ConservativeHome has found that 55 per cent of Tory members are open to a “non-aggression pact” between the coalition partners in seats where they are first- and second-placed, with another 11 per cent describing such an agreement as “ideal”. But a significant majority — 35 per cent — are opposed to any pact with the Lib Dems.

Tory

The obvious result of any pact would be a record number of candidates from Ukip and the right to cater for those Tories who wouldn’t dare lend their support to Nick Clegg’s party. Meanwhile, Labour could hope to secure a large number of votes from left-wing Lib Dems unwilling to vote for a Conservative candidate. But, as a recent YouGov survey on the Alternative Vote found, most Lib Dems now name the Tories, rather than Labour, as their second preference.

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Talk of pacts and deals may seem premature, given that we’re only three months into the coalition. But as, Tim Montgomerie points out in his Times column, a pact would bind at least half of Clegg’s parliamentary party into the coalition.

And with the Lib Dems down to just 12 per cent in the polls — their lowest rating since October 2007 — a pact may become necessary to stop their members jumping ship.

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