Free from fear or favour
No tracking. No cookies

Cross-Party Campaign Backs 30 MP Candidates Who Have Pledged to Fight for Electoral Reform – and Could Oust Conservatives

11 Labour, 17 Lib Dem and two Green candidates win Compass groups’ backing, and could form pro-reform caucus if elected

Photo: Paul Davey/Alamy Live News

Don’t miss a story

Sign up to the Behind the Headlines newsletter (and get a free copy of Byline Times in the post)

Cross-party campaigners have thrown their weight behind 30 parliamentary candidates in Conservative-held seats, who support replacing Westminster’s winner-takes-all voting system with proportional representation (PR).

The cross-party group Compass and its Win As One campaign aims to “channel support” to the candidates through its network of autonomous grassroots groups to help them unseat the Tories and “kickstart a democratic renewal of our country – starting with changing our voting system.”

The list (shared in full below) includes 11 candidates from Labour, 17 from the Liberal Democrats and two from the Green Party, all of whom have given written confirmation of their support for PR.

There are 30 active Compass local groups in England & Wales, “several” of which have secured these endorsements by working with parties locally and analysing the data to determine which parties are best-placed to beat the Conservatives in certain seats, a spokesperson for the group said. 

Key target seats include Godalming & Ash (Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s constituency), Wycombe (right-winger Steve Baker’s constituency) and North East Somerset (GB News host and former Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg’s constituency).

Local Compass groups will show their support for endorsed candidates with tactics including in-person campaign events, including US-style ‘barnstorms’ (speaking tours in lots of small communities), Facebook ads, street stalls, leaflet drops, phone-banking and door knocking.

Don’t miss a story

The membership organisation says it’s committed to supporting candidates who want to replace First Past the Post voting (FPTP) with PR, noting: “Our current voting system stifles productive debate, promotes short-termism, tribalism and timidity, and blocks us from pressing ahead with the bold and transformative solutions that our age of permacrisis demands.” 

Compass argues that FPTP pushes Labour towards a “narrow route to office” that panders to party donors and media barons, as well as the views of a small number of swing voters in a few swing seats.

Targeting a small number of swing seats this way while ignoring core Labour voting areas “discourag[es] Labour from taking radical and desperately needed action on inequality, climate and public services,” according to the progressive campaign. That in turn fuels voter cynicism that the parties are “all the same” and that “voting is pointless”. 

Compass is aiming to “galvanise the progressive vote” in the UK by uniting people from all parts of the country behind a pluralistic vision for the country’s future. 

The ultimate goal is to enact PR to ensure to stop majority Governments being elected on a minority of the vote – most of which have been Conservative, as the right-wing vote has traditionally been less “split” than that of the left (something that may change this time with a high Reform UK vote).  

Demand for Voting Overhaul as One in Six Commons Seats ‘Haven’t Changed Hands for a Century’

Over eight million voters live in ‘one-party fiefdoms’ as over 100 parliamentary seats have been held by one party for a century or more

Candidates who back Compass’ pledge for change are likely to become “part of a substantial PR crossparty caucus in the next Parliament.” 

A spokesperson for Compass said: “We desperately need to get rid of the Tories on July 4th. But this election isn’t just about winning office – it’s about winning a mandate for the change this country desperately needs.

“This change is as much about how people win power as what they do with it when they get there. We’re looking forward to welcoming, for the first time, a strong, cross-party caucus of pro-democracy candidates into Parliament who have recognised that only by changing the system will we change the country for the future.”

At least four of the seats chosen by Compass members could prove controversial. In Suffolk Coastal, the group recommends a vote for the Liberal Democrats. But three of seven election models predict it could swing to Labour, compared to four predicting a Conservative hold and none predicting a Conservative win.

However, Suffolk Compass activists will argue that Lib Dem Julia Ewart has enthusiastically backed PR, and it is not officially a Labour “battleground” target seat. Local Labour activists have been encouraged to campaign in nearby Ipswich or Lowestoft.

In Waveney Valley (also in Suffolk), Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay is attempting to unseat Conservative Richard Rout in the newly-created constituency. None of the seven current polling models currently predicts a Green Party win in the Conservative stronghold, but Survation predicts a rare Labour victory. 

And in Tewkesbury, the north Gloucestershire market town, Gloucestershire Compass recommends a Lib Dem vote, though again Survation pitches Labour as the most likely left-of-centre party to take the Conservative seat. 

Honiton & Sidmouth in Devon is among the most difficult to assess, with East Devon Compass again recommending a Lib Dem vote, but polling experts predicting variously a Lib Dem gain, Labour gain, or Conservative hold. Pro-PR voters may end up hedging their bets and opting for the Lib Dems there, though the risk of “splitting the vote” remains a fraught topic.  

EXCLUSIVE

Major Political Reform Could Secure Key Labour Target Voters, Study Suggests

“I think the whole thing is thoroughly broken at this point” a focus group participant said


The full list of candidates being backed by Compass groups

Modelling data is taken from Peter Inglesby’s poll aggregation site.

CandidateConstituencyPartyMost Frequent Poll Prediction (Of 7 Models)
Lizzi CollingeMorecambe & LunesdaleLabourLabour
Tim FarronWestmorland & LonsdaleLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
James MacClearyLewesLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
Freddie van MierloHenley and ThameLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
Sean WoodcockBanburyLabourLabour
Luke ChartersYork OuterLabourLabour
Tom GordonHarrogate & KnaresboroughLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
Arnold WarnekenWetherby & EasingwoldGreenConservative – But Survation Predicts Labour Gain
Paul FollowsGodalming & AshLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
Charlie MaynardWitneyLiberal DemocratConservative – But Survation Predicts Lib Dem Gain
Olly GloverDidcot and WantageLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
Mike MartinTunbridge WellsLiberal DemocratConservative – But 3/7 Models Predict Lib Dem Gain
Helen WhiteheadHerne Bay and SandwichLabourLabour
James NaishRushcliffeLabourLabour
John MilneHorshamLiberal DemocratConservative – But 2/7 Models Predict Lib Dem Gain
Rachel BlakeCities of London & WestminsterLabourLabour
Joe PowellKensington & BayswaterLabourLabour
Julia EwartSuffolk CoastalLiberal DemocratConservative – But 3/7 Models Predict Labour Gain
Adrian RamsayWaveney ValleyGreenConservative – But Survation Predicts Labour Gain
Jess AsatoLowestoftLabourLabour
Roz SavageSouth CotswoldsLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
Emma ReynoldsWycombeLabourLabour
Sarah GreenChesham and AmershamLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
Liz HindAylesburyLabourLabour
Victoria CollinsHarpenden & BerkhamstedLiberal DemocratConservative – But 2/7 Models Predict Lib Dem Gain
Clive JonesWokinghamLiberal DemocratLiberal Democrat
Dan NorrisNorth East Somerset & HanhamLabourLabour
Cameron ThomasTewkesburyLiberal DemocratConservative – But Survation Predicts Labour Gain
Ian RoomeNorth DevonLiberal DemocratConservative – But 3/7 Models Predict Lib Dem Gain
Richard FoordHoniton & SidmouthLiberal DemocratTOSS UP: 2 Models Predict Lib Dem Win, 2 Labour, 3 Conservative Hold

This piece was amended shortly after publication to make clear the endorsements are from local Compass groups, not Compass HQ nationally.


Byline Times is relaunching our VoteWatch project to monitor disinformation, dodgy campaigning, and dark money during the 2024 General Election. Get in touch if you have a tip off or any insights: votewatch24@bylinetimes.com

If you have another political story or tip-off, email josiah@bylinetimes.com.


Written by

This article was filed under
, , , , ,