Great Britain

Lib Dem deputy leader refuses to rule out standing aside for Labour in Batley by-election

Lib Dems: Sir Ed Davey quizzed on possible Labour 'pact'

Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Lib Dem MP Daisy Cooper repeatedly ignored questions on whether the Lib Dems would stand aside or hold back for the Labour party. The comments come just days after the Lib Dems caused a stir within the Tory headquarters by winning a by-election in Chesham and Amersham.

Ms Cooper said: “I think in many cases the idea that political parties can do a deal behind the scenes - many voters feel very uncomfortable about that.

Newsnight host Faisal Islam then pressed the Lib Dem MP on the upcoming election.

He said: “Nick Watt, our political editor is very well informed. He says that you are going to lay off a bit in Batley and Spen.

“Are you going to hold off in Batley and Spen and let Labour campaign directly against the Conservatives?

Lib Dem MP refuses to rule out Labour pact

Lib Dem MP refuses to rule out Labour pact on BBC Newsnight (Image: BBC Newsnight)

Recent polls show the Lib Dems in 3rd place

Recent polls show the Lib Dems in 3rd place behind the Tories and Labour (Image: Getty Images)

Ms Cooper sidestepped the question, saying: “Voters want to know what their choice is at election time.

“In Chesham and Amersham, we made it absolutely clear, as we will do in many places across the country, where Liberal Democrats are in second place to the Conservatives, we are the best choice to beat the Conservatives at those elections.”

According to recent polls conducted for the Batley and Spen by-election, the Lib Dems are well behind the Conservatives and Labour in third place.

During a visit to the West Yorkshire constituency on Friday, the Prime Minister said it was his party’s “mission” to “level up” the region.

Mr Johnson said: “That means looking at all the issues that matter, whether that's people's education, improving skills in this area, working with Kirklees to improve skills, putting more money into apprenticeships.

“Opportunity isn't equally distributed and the objective of levelling up is to work with great people in West Yorkshire, in Batley, to give young people growing up in the area the chances they deserve.”

READ MORE: Remainer voters in backlash at Boris 'levelling up' - John Curtice

Boris Johnson visited West Yorkshire

Boris Johnson pledged to 'level up' the constituency in West Yorkshire (Image: Getty Images)

The by-election was triggered when Labour’s Tracy Brabin stood down in order to become Mayor of West Yorkshire.

The seat was previously held by Jo Cox who was murdered in 2016 by a far-right extremist while visiting her constituency office.

Ms Cox’ sister, Kim Leadbeater, has been selected as the Labour candidate for the upcoming by-election.

Wakefield Councillor, Tom Gordon, is set to represent the Lib Dems and Leeds Councillor, Ryan Stephenson is the Conservative candidate.

Cabinet ministers have warned Boris Johnson that his recent focus on Red Wall voters has alienated traditional Conservatives.

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Daisy Cooper refuses to rule out Labour pact

Daisy Cooper refuses to rule out Labour pact in upcoming Batley and Spen election (Image: BBC Newsnight)

Ed Davey hailed the success of Chesham and Amersham

Ed Davey hailed the success of Chesham and Amersham - 'huge victory' (Image: Getty images)

One Cabinet Minister adviser said “traditionally Tory voters” have felt overlooked by the Prime Minister’s focus on Labour voters during last month’s Super Thursday by-elections.

He warned voters “feel like we’re not on their side.”

On Thursday, Lib Dem candidate Sarah Green, overcame her Conservative rival in the Chesham and Amersham by-election with a majority of over 8,000 votes.

The shocking result in the historically Conservative constituency was seen as a “huge victory” for the Lib Dems.

The party’s leader, Ed Davey, said overcoming the odds to win the Buckinghamshire seat showed the “Tory Blue Wall is beginning to crumble.”

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