Pro-EU groups tell Corbyn and Swinson: work together in this ‘historic national emergency’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. Photograph: PA/Sky.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. Photograph: PA/Sky. - Credit: Archant

Fifty-four pro-European grassroots groups are making a last-ditch attempt to get the Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders to stop the 'circular firing squad' and work together to stop a no-deal Brexit.

With just one day before candidate nominations close, there are fears of renewed cooperation between Brexiteers, fuelled by Nigel Farage opting to stand down 317 Brexit Party candidates in Tory strongholds.

The letter, which has already had more than 85,000 views on Twitter, has been drafted by Grassroots for Europe, a coalition of dozens of pro-EU activist groups working nationwide.

It outlines the shape of a partial non-aggression pact between Jo Swinson and Jeremy Corbyn in the general election.

Acknowledging the differences between the parties, the letter went on to say: "But we are now in a historic national emergency arising out of an unprecedented assault on our democratic institutions.

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"We ask you in this extreme situation to agree some simple, exceptional, reciprocal steps to defend the essential interests and freedoms of the many."

The group called on the leaders to recognise the potential of tactical voting and "sensible cross-party cooperation" in bringing a Remain government to power.

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In practice, the group has asked the leaders of both parties "at the very least" to withdraw candidates from either party who have no realistic hope of winning their seat, in constituencies where this would help prevent a Conservative or Brexit party candidate.

The also asked the parties to consider standing their candidates down where the other party has a sitting MP, or where the Tories have a sitting MP and the other party clearly has a better chance of beating them.

A spokesperson for Grassroots for Europe said: "If we allow Boris Johnson to form a majority Tory government on December 12, then there will be little chance of stopping a disastrous no-Deal Brexit accompanied by the continuing erosion of democracy and the rule of law."

They continued: "We aren't asking Labour and the parties which are fully pro-Remain to have a love-in and bury all differences - just not to have a circular firing squad.

"There is massive support for these basic, sensible demands from our pro-EU campaigners who understand local cross-party politics and talk to their local communities.

"There are 24 hours left for the parties to stand down some candidates in seats where this can make a vital difference. Beyond that, voters and local campaigners will have to show common sense where party hard-liners are failing to do so."

The spokesperson said the letter had been inspired by commentary from numerous pro-Remain campaigners, including Hugo Dixon of InFacts, Femi Oluwole of OFOC, Dr Mike Galsworthy of Scientists of Europe and Alex Andreou of Best for Britain.

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