Shadow minister calls for Labour to stand aside in some seats to stop the Tories

PUBLISHED: 14:39 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:39 23 September 2019

Clive Lewis MP speaks at a local Stop The Coup event. Photograph: Sonya Duncan/Archant.

Clive Lewis MP speaks at a local Stop The Coup event. Photograph: Sonya Duncan/Archant.

A shadow minister has called for Labour to stand aside in some seats to help progressive parties to beat the Tories at the next election.

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Clive Lewis was speaking at a Compass fringe event at Labour conference when he called on leader Jeremy Corbyn to change the party rules to allow local members to decide if runs in certain seats where other progressive parties are best placed to beat the Tories.

He told party members: "At present it's the central Labour party that decides that a candidate will be stood in every single constituency, it's part of our constitution... but I think we should trust in our local Labour members to know what's happening on the ground to be able to make a decision about whether they want to stand a candidate."

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The shadow treasury minister referenced the seat of Richmond Park where Zac Goldsmith beat the Lib Dems by just 45 votes in the 2017 general election as an example.

"We could have stopped that Tory going into parliament," he said.

"That local party didn't want to stand a candidate but they were forced by the party and consequently the Liberal Democrats lost it by 45 votes. I think a level of pragmatism needs to happen here."

Several anti-Brexit initiatives have been considered ahead of the next election but opinion is split on whether the Labour Party should be considered in the model while the party refuses to unequivocally back Remain.

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