EM UK: Campaign groups launch key seat strategy to oppose hard Brexit
The three largest grassroots pro-European organisations in the country – Open Britain, European Movement, and Britain for Europe – are launching a key seat strategy, where their volunteers who wish to get involved in the General Election will easily be able to find a constituency near them where they can campaign against hard Brexit.
The three organisations between them have around 600,000 supporters on their mailing lists, with individual contacts inv almost every constituency. Those activists wanting to campaign against a hard Brexit will be mobilised to do so in constituencies in every nation and region of the UK. As a cross-party campaign, volunteers will be able to find key seats where they can help a Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat or Green candidate who opposes hard Brexit. They will be able to choose which local campaigns to join.
The three groups have released their opening list of 40 key seats which they have identified as important in the 2017 General Election. The list will evolve and be added to as the campaign progresses and further key seats emerge. This opening list has been produced because of the demand from the thousands of activists who are keen to start campaigning and want to know where to focus their time and energy.
The 20/20 key seat strategy is divided into 20 constituencies where the incumbent is either supportive of hard Brexit or has not publicly opposed it and is being challenged by those who do; and 20 where the incumbent has consistently proven to be an outspoken opponent of hard Brexit since the referendum.
The precise nature of campaigning in each seat will be different, determined by factors specific to each constituency, but the groups’ activists are united in the collective motivation of ensuring that the Prime Minister does not have a blank cheque to pursue Brexit at any costs and in supporting candidates from all parties who oppose hard Brexit and who will provide proper scrutiny in Parliament as the Brexit negotiations proceed.
Alongside the key seat strategy, Open Britain will be running a national campaign during the General Election against hard Brexit.
Lord Mandelson, Open Britain Board Member, said:
“As a former European Trade Commissioner, I have seen such negotiations from the inside. For Britain to get the best possible trade deal, it is totally counter-productive for Theresa May to go into them with a rigid set of red lines.
“With millions of jobs at stake, she must explore all options to secure the continuity of Britain’s trade and investment in Europe.
“Election candidates of all parties should be demanding that a hard Brexit is rejected and making clear that they will reserve judgement on the outcome until they see whether we get exactly the same trade benefits, as David Davis has promised.
“Nobody has to take a position on this now: they just have to ask the right questions and keep an open mind about the answers.”
Stephen Dorrell, European Movement Chair, said:
“This election is about something much bigger than party politics – it is about our future relationship with the rest of Europe.
“Pro-Europeans need to stand up and be counted between now and June 8th. The supporters of our organisations want to know where they can make a difference in this campaign and we are providing the tools for them to be able to.
“It is time for our activists to get behind all candidates, regardless of which political tradition they are from, if they are committed to opposing hard Brexit and willing to keep an open mind about the Brexit negotiations and the national interest.”