As the most important General Election for a generation approaches, the Social Liberal Forum are calling on people across the UK’s progressive parties to work together to stop a Conservative landslide victory and the hard Brexit that would follow.
We call on members of the Liberal Democrats, Labour, the Nationalist parties, the two Green parties and the Women’s Equality Party to explore and forge progressive alliances at a local level.
We recognise that such arrangements could be made within seats or across a cluster of seats. We believe that whether parties step down for each other or merely plan non-aggression pacts – targeting their firepower on the Tories and not each other – this must be decided locally, with parties and candidates planning what works best in their areas.
We believe agreements should be based on common aims. In our view, these must include a cast-iron pledge that progressive candidates will vote to keep Britain in the single market and support the introduction of a proportional voting system for Westminster elections.
We must learn to talk to each other and work together, as already happens between progressives in different parties in many other western countries. As was demonstrated in our favour in December's Richmond Park by-election, we recognise that anti-Conservative alliance building works.
We echo Paddy Ashdown’s praise of the many Greens who are already reaching out to form arrangements with local Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. We hope progressives in different parties can recognise what unites us, can build and reciprocate goodwill, and focus on defeating Theresa May’s authoritarian Conservative Party.
If we do not, we face five years of right-wing Tory rule and the prospect of a hard Brexit, regressive environmental policies and growing inequality, with all the serious social and economic consequences that will bring.