The tactical vote at the next general election offers the best chance of ousting Boris Johnson – unless the Tory rebels do it sooner, a campaign group leader has said.
Best for Britain boss Naomi Smith vowed to launch “the most powerful tactical election campaign this country has ever seen” to overthrow the government when Britain next goes to the polls.
She believed voters backing the party with the best chance of beating the Conservatives in every seat would force the Prime Minister’s “terrible liar” out of Downing Street.
Speaking exclusively to the Mirror, from the office where she and 14 staff are plotting to overthrow the Prime Minister, she said: “Best for Britain has a strong tradition of running tactical election campaigns.
“Once the election is called, we will unleash the most powerful tactical election campaign this country has ever seen.”
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For pro-EU Ms Smith, the prime minister’s ouster is “incredibly personal”.
Brexit, the Prime Minister’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the Partygate scandal – first exposed by the Mirror – have convinced Ms Smith he should be evicted from No10.
“My uncle died alone from Covid in his care home in April 2020 and my father was hospitalized for six months and we were not allowed to visit or see him,” she said.
“We finally got to see him 45 minutes before he died in April 2021.
“The pain he endured, the loneliness at his darkest hour, at his most anxious time – no one deserves it and certainly not my father who was an incredibly loving, supportive, generous man.
“Then to find out that these people not only broke the rules, but mocked us, laughed at it, patted themselves on the back because they thought they got away with it is sickening and absolutely helps to wake you up Morning and do the work that I do.
“It’s incredibly personal from that perspective.”
The latest polls put Keir Starmer’s party at 42% versus the Tories’ 31%.
But some Labor insiders admit the chances of an outright majority in the next election remain slim and expect the only way to wield power may be to be the largest party, led by the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
Although it is nobody’s preferred outcome, it would “keep the Tories out”.
Ms Smith hoped voters, as “individuals and in a minority of the 650 seats in the country, would hold their noses, work together (and) defeat the incumbent Conservative” to force the government from power.
“Tactical votes are the best way to get Boris Johnson out of No 10 simply because it’s going to be the only tool that stays in the arsenal of those who want it,” she said.
“Non-aggression pacts between the parties will be necessary but not sufficient.
“Aside from standing for each other in marginal seats, the only thing left under the voting system we’re currently clinging to is advising people on who to vote for.”
Best for Britain is urging greater cooperation between parties to maximize chances of beating Tory candidates and ousting this Prime Minister.
It will offer a simple system for voters to enter their postcode and be told which party to vote for if they want to stop a Tory candidate.
It uses a survey device — “multi-level regression and post-stratification,” or MRP — that proponents say is very accurate.
Best for Britain calculations are regularly updated to reflect developments across the country’s constituencies.
The 10th floor rooftop terrace of the Campaign’s base above St James’s Park tube station offers panoramic views across London, including Parliament, The Shard, The City, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Ministry of Defence, MI6 HQ and of Battersea Power Station all the way down to the Surrey Hills.
In this Grade I listed 1920s office building, five minutes from the Palace of Westminster, Ms Smith and her team study data, update whiteboards and chart political ups and downs – close to the center of power but still outside.
But in December 2019, the campaign failed to prevent the Conservatives’ biggest victory since 1987.
Ms Smith has accused Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party of unseating candidates in Tory-held seats for the landslide – and also directs her fire at then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Andrew Parsons / Parsons Media)
“It couldn’t be overcome,” she admitted.
“We didn’t get the election result that we were hoping for, but in terms of impact we think we had a very, very good try in terms of (website) traffic volume.”
She claimed at least six Labor MPs were elected thanks to tactical voting “who otherwise might not have made it”.
In other words, the result could have been even worse for the Conservatives’ opponents.
She hopes next time voters will prioritize Mr Johnson’s eviction over traditional party loyalty.
“We will conduct a tactical voting operation whenever the next general election is held and we are prepared for it whether it’s in six months or in 24 months,” she said.
“Labour and the Lib Dems need to think about how to get rid of this government.
“There’s a huge antipathy and a push factor away from the Conservatives, rather than a pull factor towards the other opposition parties.”
When asked who would be No. 10 if Best for Britain succeeded, Ms Smith immediately replied: “Keir Starmer because he’s the leader of the main opposition party.
“Whether that’s in a majority or in a Labor-led coalition with others depends on their campaign, their ability to work with the other parties in seats where it’s important not to put resources into seats they don’t can win, and stopping a party that could win.”
Ms Smith regularly discusses tactical votes with influential Labor figures.
“There are mixed responses about the merits of it,” she said.
“No one is totally ideologically against it; Some of them are technically against it, fearing it might harden the Conservative vote or that it would expose them to attacks from the ‘Coalition of Chaos’.”
She chooses not to brand a potential deal a “progressive alliance,” fearing it could confuse voters.
And while she is committed to removing that government, she chooses not to portray it as an “anti-Tory coalition.”
“A lot of people want it to be like that and you hear a lot of ‘We just have to do everything we can to get the Tories out,'” she said.
“We prefer to think about it in terms of ‘this government.'”
If Mr Johnson survives the recent internal revolt surrounding his premiership, he could face a much larger rebellion the next time he faces ordinary voters.
Could tactical voting work in a general election?
By Ben Glaze
Tory MPs have spent the last 10 days in their constituencies listening to what voters think of Boris Johnson.
That could be politically fatal for the Prime Minister when Parliament returns on Monday.
Angered by Partygate, fearing falling poll numbers and dismayed at the government’s lack of direction, conservative rebels could force a confidence vote that could topple their leader.
However, if he survives a vote of confidence, he is untouchable under the rules for another 12 months – meaning he would likely lead his party into the next general election.
It’s then up to ordinary voters to oust him – and that’s where Best for Britain’s tactical electoral plan comes into play.
This practice can already be seen in the UK election, where voters switch to parties believed to be more likely to beat the Tories in some by-elections.
While Labor finished second to the Conservatives in the North Shropshire seat in the 2019 general election, the Lib Dems won a by-election in December 2021 because Labor in a rural seat where the Liberals were more likely to ‘pedal gently’ was to triumph.
Likewise, Liberal Democrats privately admit they will not crack down on constituencies where Labor has a better chance of beating the Tories.
Proponents of tactical voting say it helps oust or keep out a particular candidate or party.
However, critics say she is negative and more anti-party than pro-other.
Experts agree that it’s easier to vote tactically in by-elections and local elections, where turnout is low and ballots are often cast in protest, than in the heat of a general election.
While a formal electoral pact between opposition parties is highly unlikely, a number of informal deals or simple acceptance of electoral reality – if the parties agree not to send activists campaigning, have no hope of victory and waste money on expensive leaflet drops – already happen.
If Operation Best for Britain succeeds, voters who just want the Tories out and care less about who replaces them could celebrate at the next general election.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tactical-voting-plot-oust-boris-27151752 Tactical voting scheme that could oust Boris Johnson - if Tory rebels can't topple PM