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Change UK’s Peterborough by-election no-show

9 May 2019

5:47 PM

9 May 2019

5:47 PM

The Brexit Party has had a further boost in the polls today, but as Nigel Farage’s fledgling group continues to hoover up support from both main parties, the story on the other side has been rather different.

Start-up pro-remain party Change UK has been locked in a rivalry with its doppelgänger, the Lib Dems, achieving exactly nothing in terms of progress but creating a healthy groundswell of remainer exasperation on Twitter.

Even the Change UK activists’ networks have been infected with a creeping feeling of futility, with many struggling to name a good reason to not vote for the Lib Dems or give a solid defence for why their new party even exists.

With the Peterborough by-election set for June 6th, it might have been a good idea for the warring remain parties to agree on a truce in order to avoid splitting the Remain vote. 

Unfortunately, the accord seems not to have happened. The deadline for applicants to be candidates expired today at 4pm. And while the Brexit Party revealed their candidate earlier in the day, Change UK has confirmed that the search for a Remain Alliance candidate – or indeed a candidate for their own party – has failed. Change UK’s MP Gavin Shuker had this to say:

‘We all agreed to stand down any candidates we might field in favour of a genuinely independent, pro-People’s Vote and pro-Remain candidate who had expressed an interest and intention to stand. However, senior Labour figures, including senior figures campaigning for a People’s Vote, made it clear that they would strenuously disrupt the campaign and obstruct an independent Candidate.’

Mr S. does wonder whether it isn’t the job of the Labour party to make it difficult for its rivals in a by-election. Either way, this looks to be another moment to forget for Change UK…

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