Labour HQ divert volunteers away from Bridgwater, admitting that Lib Dems are the tactical vote

Labour are moving volunteers in Bridgwater 80 miles away to Plymouth, reports The Financial Times, as the party abandons the Bridgwater constituency in order to win battleground seats in the Devon city.

Since the beginning of this election campaign, Labour have considered Bridgwater as unwinnable, leaving the constituency off a list of ‘battleground’ seats the party will target at the upcoming election.


The move confirms assertions that the Liberal Democrats are the main opposition to the Conservatives in Bridgwater, Burnham, Highbridge and North Petherton, with Claire Sully and the Lib Dems rising in the polls as they challenge the Conservatives.

The Financial Times, based on analysis from the Labour campaign website, reports: “In the Lib Dems’ traditional west country heartland, Labour activists in Bridgwater … are being sent to Plymouth, an 83-mile journey that means passing at least four other constituencies.

“The data suggests Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has diverted his party’s army of door knockers away from roughly 80 Tory-held seats that the Lib Dems have focused on trying to take at the July 4 general election.”

The move from Labour backs up election data from the 2022 Somerset Council elections, in which the Liberal Democrats finished narrowly behind the Conservatives for votes cast within the boundaries of the new Bridgwater constituency. The Lib Dems 15,006 votes, more than double the number of votes of Labour, with the Tories on just over 19,000.

Claire Sully, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the new Bridgwater constituency, says the move from Labour confirms that the Lib Dems are the tactical vote in Bridgwater, Burnham and Highbridge.

“Labour’s own campaign data suggests that the tactical vote to defeat the Conservatives in Bridgwater is the Liberal Democrats,” she said.

“In some polls, the Liberal Democrats are just a four-seat swing away from becoming the official opposition after this election, relegating the Tories into third.

“Many Labour voters are telling me, that because of this, they are lending their vote to the Lib Dems at this election, giving the constituency the best chance of defeating the Conservatives.”

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