Lib Dems and Greens in Portsmouth make pact to try to win seat for a pro-EU candidate

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THE Green Party has confirmed it will not stand a parliamentary candidate in Portsmouth South as part of a remain party pact with the Lib Dems 'for the good of the country.'

Members are aiming to boost the chances of a pro-EU MP in the seat by withdrawing from the race and pinning hopes on Lib Dem Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

Portsmouth South Tory candidate Donna Jones, with bottom row: Lib Dem candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Labour incumbent Stephen Morgan. Pictures: Habibur Rahman/PA

Portsmouth South Tory candidate Donna Jones, with bottom row: Lib Dem candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Labour incumbent Stephen Morgan. Pictures: Habibur Rahman/PA

Nationally the Lib Dems, the Greens and Welsh party Plaid Cymru have signed up to the agreement, which will affect at least 60 seats.

Green Party co-ordinator for Portsmouth, Ian McCulloch, said: 'As far as we are concerned the single biggest issue the country is facing is Brexit. And it seems to be that a no-deal Brexit is on the cards.

'We are working with other people who feel the same way in Portsmouth South for the good of the country and to avoid a Brexit that is really damaging.'

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He also criticised the current first past the post system, which he believed leads to tactical voting.

He added: 'Some people are concerned that agreements like this are undemocratic but I would say we have an unfair system to start with. 

'I often think people want to vote for someone but think they've got no chance of winning.'

READ MORE: Candidates confirmed so far in this area for the General Election

Lib Dem candidate and city council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he was 'very grateful' for the pact. He said: 'The electoral system we have is one that the Lib Dems have tried to change forever. We want one that will allow people to vote however they want and for it to count equally.

'But we have to work in the current system to change it. I am really grateful that parties are working in an adult way together to look at the bigger picture.

'Portsmouth South actually voted to remain – Portsmouth North voted to leave – so Brexit is an important issue for this seat.'

Tory and Labour candidates are also in the running for the seat. A Brexit Party candidate has yet to be announced.

Incumbent Labour Stephen Morgan said: 'I will continue to be a green voice in parliament and ensure that Portsmouth people are represented by someone who genuinely cares, with a track record to prove it.'

Tory candidate Donna Jones added: ‘I think the public will vote for who they want and not who national parties try and steer them towards.

‘We (the Tories) have a strong message on the green agenda so I am hopeful that some Green voters will vote Conservative.’

On the Isle of Wight a Green candidate will run, with the Lib Dems standing aside.