An Election Is Coming

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Whether we like it or not, the 2019 General Election is all about Brexit. If Boris Johnson and the Conservatives win a majority then we will almost certainly leave the EU on January 31st 2020 as a deal is waved through Parliament. Pro-Europeans have to stop the Conservatives gaining a majority. This is all that matters in the 2019 General Election! A candidate in your constituency who you don't approve of can be voted out in five years (or in all probability much sooner) but Brexit is effectively forever! The Committee of Manchester For Europe firmly believes that all pro-European voters in the 2019 General Election must be careful not to let "the best" be the enemy of 'good enough". See the FAQ at the end of this page for more info.

Quite simply we must prevent the Conservatives (and lesserly, the Brexit Party) from winning seats wherever we can in the 2019 General Election. This calls for tactical voting on a scale equivalent to or even greater than the 2017 General Election. If you are a supporter of our campaign, please consider voting for a party you wouldn't normally support if that party's candidate in your constituency is best placed to beat the Conservatives and supports a People's Vote/is pro-EU. We understand it may be difficult for some on points of political principle to vote for a party they traditionally do not support but the nature of both this election and the antiquated First Past The Post voting system used in UK General Elections make it essential that we consolidate the Remain vote behind one candidate in each seat - the Leave vote in many cases will be consolidated behind the Conservative candidate whereas, since there are no prizes under FPTP for coming second or gaining a larger share of the vote, we cannot afford to split the Remain vote. Consider registering to swap your vote if the personal pain of voting tactically for a party you don't support is too great, so that another person in a different constituency in the country who shares your view but will also vote tactically can ease your conscience.

In summary: if you want Brexit, vote Conservative (or Brexit Party, who aren't standing in some Conservative-held seats). This concentrates the vote and results in Brexit. But if you want Remain? You can vote for several of the parties, but this splits the vote and results in Brexit (because the Conservative candidate will likely win as the Leave vote is concentrated on them). 

If all anti Brexit votes are cast for the one candidate in a given constituency, who has been identified as the best placed to defeat the Conservative or Brexit Party, this concentrates the vote and increases the chances of a win for that candidate. 

Result? A People's Vote and the chance of NO BREXIT!

This is the seat-by-seat tactical voting guide for Greater Manchester. Sometimes we can't make a recommendation, either because it is a safe seat where tactical voting will make little or no difference, or because it isn't clear which opposition candidate to recommend. We have highlighted some key marginal seats we are keen to help our chosen candidate with. Please note that these endorsements are those of the Manchester For Europe Committee and are made purely on the basis of their ability to deliver our goal of a Remain-supporting Parliament on December 13 2019. These recommendations are derived from national tactical voting guides based on their weighted data and polling methodologies: we at Manchester For Europe are from different political backgrounds and party political affiliations but we have not allowed this to influence our tactical recommendation in each constituency - this has been determined solely by the probability of our chosen candidates winning together with their inclination to stop Brexit if they do. We make no comment on their politics or policies beyond their support for the UK's continued membership of the EU; Manchester For Europe is a single issue campaign organisation.

If you don't want to read the full list, the key points are that there are five marginal seats where a clear tactical voting recommendation exists to prevent a Brexit-supporting Tory being elected - these are Bolton West (vote Labour), Bury North (vote Labour), Bury South (vote Labour), Cheadle (vote Liberal Democrat) and Hazel Grove (vote Liberal Democrat). There is also a sixth seat (Altrincham and Sale West) where tactical voting may unseat an ardent Tory Brexit supporter but the data on which opposition candidate to back is currently unclear. We recommend our supporters monitor the aggregator site to determine tactical voting recommendations as the election draws nearer.

Constituency  2017 incumbent MP (party)  2017 majority (second place) Tactical vote recommendation  Notes 
Altrincham and Sale West Graham Brady (Con) 6426 (Lab) Labour Brady is an ardent Brexiter who we would dearly love to unseat but polling data is unclear as to whether Labour or Lib Dem are best placed to beat him. Key seat to remove an ERG hardliner but how to do this has required more detailed polling data as the campaign progresses to decide who to back. This data has now come out and we are calling this seat as a Labour/Conservative marginal. The Liberal Democrat chellenger is Angela Smith who defected from Labour to Change UK and then the Liberal Democrats. The Labour candidate is Andrew Western who reduced Brady's majority by about half between 2015 and 2017. No Brexit Party. See the Better Than Brady Facebook group.
Ashton-under-Lyne Angela Rayner (Lab) 11295 (Con) Labour Angela Rayner is expected to support Labour policy of a confirmatory referendum. Brexit Party are standing. Fairly safe Labour seat where tactical voting is unlikely to help but we lean towards Labour here if only as a precaution against upset.
Blackley and Broughton Graham Stringer (Lab)  19601 (Con) None Fairly safe Labour seat, Stringer is an ardent Lexiteer who ignores his constituents when they ask him to reconsider. Cutting his majority may persuade him to reconsider this attitude. Tactical voting is unlikely to make a difference; vote for who you wish. Brexit Party are standing.
Bolton North East David Crausby (Lab) 3797 (Con) Labour Potentially marginal seat with Crausby expected to support Labour policy for a public vote. Brexit Party are standing.
Bolton South East Yasmin Qureshi (Lab) 13126 (Con) Labour Fairly safe Labour seat but Qureshi is an internationalist who would be expected to support Labour policy for a public vote. Brexit Party are standing.
Bolton West Chris Green (Con) 936 (Lab) Labour Ultra-marginal seat; Green is an ERG Brexiter who again ignores his constituents who ask him to support Remain. Julie Hilling held the seat for Labour until the 2015 General Election and is standing again. This is a key target seat to remove a hardline ERG Brexiter. Lib Dem voters are strongly advised to back Labour in this seat to aovid splitting the vote and allowing Green back in.
Bury North James Frith (Lab) 4375 (Con) Labour Bury North is a bellwether swing seat and whoever wins it usually wins the election. Labour took the seat in 2017 from ERG Conservative David Nuttall and James Frith has been a supporter of the People's Vote campaign since before it was official Labour policy. Another key marginal which is a Conservative target and tactical voting for Labour will be important with Liberal Democrat and Green candidates potentially splitting the Remain vote. Brexit Party standing.
Bury South Ivan Lewis (Lab/Ind) 5965 (Con) Labour Incumbent Ivan Lewis resigned from Labour and is standing again as an independent on the manifesto of "getting Brexit done" (whatever that may mean). The constituency covers Whitefield and Prestwich with a strong Jewish vote which Lewis is doubtless hoping to attract in 2019. Lewis was weak on Brexit claiming fear of the far right should it not go ahead. Labour candidate Lucy Burke is very pro-EU and is our tactical choice but may need a lot of support with eight candidates including the Brexit Party standing. Another key marginal and Conservative target and backing Labour advised.
Cheadle Mary Robinson (Con) 4507 (Lib Dem) Liberal Democrat Robinson is another Tory Brexiter who is prime for unseating. Cheadle is a key Liberal Democrat target and was won by the Conservatives largely on the back of a split Labour/Lib Dem opposition vote in 2017 having been held by the Liberal Democrats since 2001. Labour supporters are highly encouraged to vote for Lib Dem Tom Morrison tactically; arrange to swap your vote if this is uncomfortable for you. Key marginal. No Brexit Party as there is a Conservative incumbent. See the Save Our Stockport Facebook page to help volunteer to defeat Mary Robinson.
Denton and Reddish Andrew Gwynne (Lab) 14077 (Con) Labour Gwynne has largely toed the party line on Brexit and is expected to continue to do so including supporting a confirmatory vote. Brexit Party are standing and UKIP achieved 7225 votes in 2015. Fairly safe Labour seat but Gwynne nonetheless receives our endorsement "just to be sure".
Hazel Grove William Wragg (Con) 5514 (Lib Dem) Liberal Democrat  Wragg is an ERG Brexiter who, as for Cheadle, is prime for unseating. Just as for Cheadle, Labour voters are highly encouraged to vote for the Liberal Democrat candidate Lisa Smart on a tactical basis as she was Wragg's closest challenger in 2017. Smart is the official "Unite To Remain" candidate and other Remain-supporting parties including the Greens have stood down for her. No Brexit Party. Key marginal, Labour supporters are strongly advised to vote Lib Dem to unseat Wragg. Arrange to swap your vote if this is uncomfortable for you. See the Save Our Stockport Facebook page to help unseat William Wragg.
Heywood and Middleton Liz McInnes (Lab) 7617 (Con) Labour McInnes is expected to support the official Labour policy of a confirmatory public vote, but UKIP polled 15627 votes in 2015 and the Brexit Party are standing. As the Liberal Democrats are nowhere in this constituency with an absolute best result of third place and 10474 votes being achieved in 2010, we encourage their supporters to vote tactically for McInnes as the best pro-EU choice in the seat. 
Leigh Joanne Platt (Lab) 9554 (Con) Labour Platt is expected to support the official Labour policy of a confirmatory public vote, but UKIP polled 8903 votes in 2015 and the Brexit Party are standing. As the Liberal Democrats are nowhere in this constituency with an absolute best result of third place and 8049 votes being achieved in 2010, we encourage their supporters to vote tactically for Platt as the best pro-EU choice in the seat. This was Andy Burnham's old seat before he resigned to contest the Manchester Mayoral election but Labour have held the seat since 1922.
Makerfield Yvonne Forague (Lab) 13452 (Con) Labour Forague is expected to support the official Labour policy of a confirmatory public vote, but UKIP polled 10053 votes in 2015 and the Brexit Party are standing. As the Liberal Democrats are nowhere in this constituency with an absolute best result of third place and 7082 votes being achieved in 2010, we encourage their supporters to vote tactically for Forague as the best pro-EU choice in the seat. This is one of the safest Labour seats in Greater Manchester, having been held by Labour ever since it was created as a seat in 1983 and tactical voting may be of limited applicability, but we nonetheless endorse the incumbent as the safest pro-EU option with both Green and Liberal Democrat candidates potentially splitting the Remain vote.
Manchester Central Lucy Powell (Lab) 31445 (Con) Labour/none Powell has a chequered history on Brexit, having been (along with Ivan Lewis of Bury South) a chief proponent of the "Common Market 2.0" solution (very similar to the "Norway model" where the UK retains many of the economic and other benefits of EU membership but gives up its seat at the tables of power where the rules are made). Powell has such a massive majority that tactical voting is unlikely to make much difference; we weakly recommend voting for her but this is by no means as vital as in other constituencies in Greater Manchester. However she is at worst a soft Brexiter and other candidates in 2019 including the Brexit Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Socialist Equality Party may complicate matters. 
Manchester Gorton Afzal Khan (Lab) 31730 (Con) Labour/none Gerald Kaufman's old seat and an ultra-safe Labour seat where tactical voting is unlikely to be necessary and Khan will most likely follow Labour policy of a confirmatory public vote. Whilst we endorse Khan as the pro-EU candidate most likely to win, it would be a great surprise if he lost his seat even though the Brexit Party are standing.
Manchester Withington Jeff Smith (Lab) 29875 (Lib Dem)  Labour/none The only Labour-Lib Dem marginal in Greater Manchester and as such tactical voting is unlikely to be required with Jeff Smith having been an excellent pro-EU constituency MP and benefitting from the collapse in Lib Dem support following the coalition and tuition fees scandals in 2015. We support Jeff Smith if only for his ability to influence thinking within the Labour Party. Brexit Party standing.
Oldham East and Saddleworth Debbie Abrahams (Lab) 8182 (Con) Labour Abrahams has been pro-EU in an area which voted heavily to Leave in 2016 and as such deserves our support. Brexit Party are standing; the seat has been a Labour-Lib Dem marginal in the past but the Lib Dem vote has collapsed in recent years and Labour are fielding probably the best pro-EU candidate to win the seat. Two independents and a Green candidate are also standing.
Oldham West and Royton Jim McMahon 17198 (Con) Labour/none McMahon has been weak on Brexit, hiding consistently behind the fact that his constituents voted heavily to Leave in 2016 and doing little to address their misconceptions that led to the vote. In 2019 both UKIP and the Brexit Party are standing which may usefully split the pro-Brexit vote however this is a reasonably safe Labour seat in which tactical voting is unlikely to make much difference.
Rochdale Tony Lloyd 14819 (Con) Labour We expect Lloyd to follow the Labour whip in supporting a public confirmatory vote but as the Brexit Party are standing a tactical vote may be useful. The Liberal Democrats have come second here in the past, such as 2010, and even held the seat between 1992 to 1997, and 2005 to 2010, however a comeback from their 2017 position is unlikely and we recommend Lloyd in what is a fairly safe Labour seat just to avoid splitting the Remain vote.
Salford and Eccles Rebecca Long-Bailey 19132 (Con) Labour/none Long-Bailey is touted by some as a future Labour leader but, whatever the merits of her claim to this high mantle, she is a Labour front bencher who would be expected to follow Labour policy and support a confirmatory referendum. Although the Brexit Party are standing, in such a safe Labour seat a tactical vote is unlikely to make a difference although Green and Liberal Democrat candidates could split the non-Tory vote and UKIP polled 7806 votes in 2015.
Stalybridge and Hyde Jonathan Reynolds (Lab) 8084 (Con) Labour/none Reynolds follows the Labour whip on a confirmatory referendum although both Liberal Democrat and Liberal candidates are standing (along with Greens and the Brexit Party). Reynolds increased his majority in 2017 and is probably deserving of our tactical support.
Stockport Ann Coffey (Lab/CHUK) 14477 (Con) Labour Incumbent Ann Coffey resigned from Labour to join Change UK in January 2019, however she is not standing for re-election. The Liberal Democrats have done well in Stockport Council elections but even in 2010 they came third in the Parliamentary election. Whilst the Green candidate has stood down as part of the Unite To Remain initiative, we imagine that Nav Mishra as the Labour candidate in a relatively safe seat would not have been selected without some understanding to follow the party line and as such we suggest a tactical vote for Labour to be on the safe side as the Brexit Party are standing.
Stretford and Urmston Kate Green (Lab) 19705 (Con)  Labour/none Green is firmly pro-EU and pro-confirmatory referendum. The Liberal Democrats achieved a best result of 7601 votes in 2010 and UKIP polled 5068 votes in 2015 as their best result. The Brexit Party are standing and so, whilst this is an ultra-safe Labour seat, if you want to vote tactically we endorse Green.
Wigan Lisa Nandy (Lab) 16027 (Con)  Labour/none Nandy has been weak on Brexit although perhaps understandably given how heavily her constituency voted to leave. She voted for a second reading of Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Implementation Bill but claimed this was to allow it to go forward to an amendments stage. She did however vote against the Programme Motion limiting debate to only three days and for the Letwin amendment requiring Johnson to introduce legislation before his deal could be ratified and has supported citizens' juries to break the Brexit deadlock. She has however been reluctant to endorse a confirmatory referendum, presumably on the grounds of the division it might sow. A safe seat but the Brexit Party are standing and the demographics of the area, coupled with the lack of explanation of the Brexit Lies of 2016, might influence matters as UKIP polled 8818 votes in 2015. Given that Green and Liberal Democrat candidates are standing, from a point of view of keeping the seat in Labour hands, it is possibly worth a tactical vote for Labour.
Worsley and Eccles South Barbara Keeley (Lab) 8379 (Con) Labour Keeley has been supportive of pro-EU causes and largely votes with the Labour whip. The Brexit Party are standing and UKIP polled 7688 votes in 2015. Given the presence of Liberal Democrat and Green candidates splitting the anti-Tory vote, we recommend tactical votes for Labour.
Wythenshawe and Sale East Mike Kane (Lab) 14944 (Con) Labour/none  Kane has not been the strongest MP on Brexit but tends to follow the Labour Party line and has been promoted to a shadow cabinet role which will ensure he continues to do this. This is a safe Labour seat although the Brexit Party are standing and UKIP polled 6354 votes in 2015. Green, Liberal Democrat and Communist League candidates are standing. We suggest but do not strongly urge a tactical vote for Kane and Labour as the best pro-EU choice with a chance of winning. 

We encourage all our supporters to closely monitor the tactical voting sites, and as the eleciton draws closer as our recommendations above are drawn from the data provided by these sites. It is also worth reading Jon Worth's EuroBlog guide to tactical voting for further advice as he tries to update his recommendations as the data from polling sites changes.


"What is tactical voting?"

Tactical voting means "lending" your vote to a candidate in a constituency who you would not normally vote for, in order to stop a candidate you dislike even more from winning.

"Why are Manchester For Europe advocating tactical voting?"

We have to stop Boris Johnson's Conservatives from gaining a majority. The only way to do this is to set aside normal party loyalties and vote for candidates in each constituency that stand a chance of winning the seat instead of the Conservatives. The "winner takes all" aspect of First Past The Post as an electoral system unfortunately renders this necessary. In many constituencies in Greater Manchester it won't make a difference and you can vote for the party and candidate of your choice. But in a handful of swing/marginal seats the race is really close and by voting for a non-Conservative candidate well placed to beat the Conservative, we can deny Boris Johnson a majority in the new Parliament.

"What can I do if my constituency isn't affected by tactical voting?"

Volunteer to campaign with the recommended candidate in your nearest marginal seat in order to help influence the result in a seat wehre tactical voting will help.

"Why don't all the constituencies in your list have the same tactical voting recommendation?"

Our recommendations are drawn from national tactical voting sites and represent the candidate best placed to beat the Conservatives in each one. This differes from constituency to constituency depending on factors such as the makeup of each geographical area and its political inclination.

"Why just one tactical vote recommendation per seat?"

That's how tactical voting works. Under the first past the post electoral system, the winner takes all so we have to concentrate the pro-Remain/pro-referendum vote behind the candidate in each constituency we judge most likely to be able to defeat the Conservatives and/or Brexit Party in that constituency and hope that tihs wins them the election in that seat.

"Another referendum is risky and we should just revoke Article 50!"

Yes, we agree, but it's not our choice. The makeup of the new Parliament will be crucial in determing the course of Brexit and the largest probability/biggest danger is we end up with a majority Conservative government under Boris Johnson that will push Brexit through. Remember Nigel Farage says he is supporting Johnson because he doesn't want another referendum. We can't let The Best be the enemy of Good Enough as this election is crucial to defeating Brexit.

"All Remain supporters should vote Lib Dem and we would have a Lib Dem government that would revoke Article 50!"

Nice though this idea may be, in practice there is no cahnce of it happening. We are an active movement but we don't represent all 16.1 million who voted Remain in 2016. Brexit is our number one priority but it may not be for every one of the other 16 million. If given a choice in a future referendum they may well vote Remain again but for them this election may be about other things.

"We are in the midst of a climate emergency and we should all vote Green!"

Again a nice idea but completely impractical. Besides which a majority Boris Johnson government won't care about green issues and first past the post makes it almost impossible for the Greens to win in any Greater Manchester constituency.

"I want a Lib Dem government with Jo Swinson!" "I want a Labour government with Jeremy Corbyn!"

You can only vote for the candidate in your constituency, not the national party leaders (none of whom have seats in Greater Manchester anyway).

"I can't vote Labour, Jeremy Corbyn is a Brexit supporter!"

Corbyn has publicy promised a referendum on ANY Brexit deal, on multiple occasions including in a televised leaders debate with Boris Johnson. How Corbyn would campaign or vote in such a referendum is far less important than the fact that he has promised one. The electoral calculus forced by first past the post means we have little choice; we have to back Labour tactically (no matter how much this may go against our instincts) because if we don't the Conserbatives will win an overall majority.

"I voted Labour in 2017 and I was told I voted for a party supporting Brexit!"

The argument that "80% of voters in 2017 backed Brexit-supporting parties" usually came from those on the extreme right of the Conservatives who supported Brexit the most. It was a cry of desperation in many ways as their project started to fall apart. If pro-Europeans hadn't voted Labour in such numbers in 2017 we would have been out of the EU by now. The Labour leadership's fence-sitting and obfuscation did not endear them to pro-Europeans it is true, but they are now unequivocally backing a referendum on ANY Brexit deal, with the option to Remain, and this is the most viable way of ultimately stopping Brexit.

"I can't vote Labour because of antisemitism!"

We at Manchester For Europe understand that Labour has something of an antisemitism problem (the Conservatives also have an Islamophobia problem). We do not condone antisemitism but we are a single issue campaign. Labour are promising a referendum on any Brexit deal and a real chance to stop Brexit, which is what we have been campaigning for since 2016. We believe antisemitism issues can be resolved later once the political air is free from the exhausting effects of Brexit.

"I don't trust the Labour leadership to deliver a referendum! Seumas Milne and Len McCluskey will never allow it!"

It would be difficult for Corbyn to back away from his repeated promises of a referendum should Labour be in a position to form a government after 12 December 2019. We understand the disappointment many pro-EU people have felt at the Labour leadership over the past three years but we believe that Corbyn would not be so adamant that his policy is a referendum, if he didn't intend to go through with it. There is also the fact that the electoral mathematics of our first past the post system make it impossible to stop Brexit without Labour and as such we have no choice but to trust them.

"Labour will insist on a 66% supermajority to allow Remain to win a referendum!"

Barry Gardiner said it was his personal opinion that Remain would need to win by 66% in a future referendum but as far as we are aware the Labour leadership has never said this and the terms of a referendum would need to be decided by Parliament.

"The Lib Dems will just jump into bed with the Tories again!"

We understand that the Coalition of 2010-15 is a sore point for many left-leaning voters. However the maths of the 2010-15 Parliament made it the only viable Government - Labour and the Liberal Democrats together did not command a majority and it would have required an unwieldy "rainbow coalition" of almost every opposition party to form a majority government. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, Labour lost the 2010 general election. The Liberal Democrats learned a great deal of hard lessons form their time in the coalition government and they paid the price at the ballot box in 2015, not least with their U-turn on tuition fees. They acknowledge their mistakes and have worked to rebuild their support since. The attacks by the Lib Dem leadership on Labour are unfortunate but it is clear they see their votes in 2019 coming from disaffected Conservatives. Pointing to Jo Swinson's voting record on austerity measures is unfair because she was a junior minister in the coalition government and as such would have been expected to vote for government policy. We must also remember that Labour, in 2010, were promising just as much - if not more - austerity than the coalition government eventually delivered. The Liberal Democrats have also reinvented themselves as a solidly pro-European party and they are unlikely to want to form another coalition with a roundly anti-European party such as Boris Johnson's Conservatives especially after their experiences in 2010-15. Had the coalition of 2010-15 not been agreed on, the chances are there would have been another general election very soon after and that the Conservatives would have won an outright majority because only they had the money to campaign in another election so soon after the first one.

"The Lib Dems won't work with Labour! What's the point in voting for them?"

Jo Swinson has said she will not work with Jeremy Corbyn. Should the general election of 12 December result in a hung Parliament there is every chance that compromises on all sides will need to be done to form a government. Swinson has not ruled out working with other Labour figures and the exact strength of her negotiating power will depend on the maths of the new Parliament.

"The Lib Dems are just yellow Tories!"

Whilst the views of many on the left of British politics of the Lib Dems are understandable, we must not forget that right/centre right ideology is just as valid as political viewpoint. Both the Scottish and Welsh governments are coalitions between Labour and the Lib Dems but this does not mean that Labour have "jumped into bed with the Tories" in those cases. The current Lib Dem leadership evidently sees value in chasing moderate right wing voters which form a significant block of the elctorate. Left wing thinkers may not like this but it doesn't mean it is invalid as a political strategy. There are differences of opinion between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives on several policies, not just the EU.

"I'm a natural Conservative voter but also pro-EU - how should I vote?"

We sympathise but the best thing fo you to do is vote tactically, distressing though it may be to vote for a party other than your natural political home, and hope that the shock of a Conservative defeat in 2019 provides a mechanism to rebuild your party along your preferred moderate lines.

"Shouldn't we just Get Brexit Done, like Boris Johnson suggests, then worry about other things?"

This is (another) one of Boris Johnson's Great Lies. If we go ahead with his plans, we will have left the EU but we have no idea about the future relationship. It will involve years, if not decades of messy negotiations and with the UK in an even weaker position than at present. Many in the Conservative Brexiter ranks have no idea what compromises to make in such talks or even that compromises will be required. The chances are that, as for the past three years, our entire political bandiwth in the country will be consumed by Brexit negotiations and policy, with no room to address pressing issues such as climate change, schools, the NHS or housing. The quickest way back to normality is to reject Brexit, remain a full member of the EU and then get on with reforming the UK (such as a fairer voting system and investing in "left behind" towns and regions to remove the feelings that led to them voting Leave in 2016) whilst leaving room to  discuss other issues.

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