Keir Starmer 'scaling back' campaigning in Devon to aid Sir Ed Davey

Keir Starmer’s ‘secret Liberal Democrat election pact’: Top Tory warns Labour is ‘scaling back its campaigning in Devon by-election’ to aid Sir Ed Davey’s party

  • Sir Keir Starmer facing claims he scaled back campaigning in Tiverton and Honiton so Sir Ed Davey’s Liberal Democrats has a better chance of victory there
  • Instead he is targeting resources at Wakefield in West Yorkshire for by-election
  • Labour instructed frontbenchers not to travel to campaign in the Devon areas

Labour was last night accused of secretly working with the Liberal Democrats to inflict a by-election double-blow on Boris Johnson.

Sir Keir Starmer faces claims he has scaled back campaigning in Tiverton and Honiton in Devon so Sir Ed Davey’s party has a better chance of victory there.

He is instead targeting his resources at Wakefield in West Yorkshire, where a by-election will be held on the same day next month.

Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden said it was ‘proof Labour and the Lib Dems aren’t being straight with voters’ about a ‘secret deal’ that he believes they have struck.

Labour has instructed frontbenchers not to travel to campaign in Tiverton and Honiton, the Politics Home website reported.

A by-election is taking place there on June 23 following the resignation of former Tory MP Neil Parish, who stood down after watching porn in the House of Commons.

The seat is a key target for the Lib Dems after it snatched council seats from the Conservatives across the South of England in council elections earlier this month.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (pictured in Leeds on Thursday) faces claims he has scaled back campaigning in Tiverton and Honiton in Devon so Sir Ed Davey’s party has a better chance of victory there

Labour is focusing its efforts on winning back Wakefield, which was one of the ‘Red Wall’ seats in the North that fell to the Tories in 2019. The by-election there comes after former MP Imran Ahmad Khan resigned after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a boy of 15.

The Conservatives last night claimed the targeting of resources by the two opposition parties was evidence they were working together behind closed doors.

A Tory source said: ‘For all their denials, Keir Starmer and his poodle Ed Davey have clearly agreed an electoral pact.

‘None of the membership of the parties, nor their MPs have been consulted about this grubby arrangement.’

Labour categorically denied it had a pact with the Liberal Democrats. Asked if the party’s frontbenchers had been told not to campaign in Tiverton and Honiton, Sir Keir’s spokesman said: ‘No.’ He added: ‘We will be campaigning for every vote, as we do in every election.’

Sir Ed confirmed that his party would be targeting Tiverton and Honiton rather than Wakefield. ‘Political parties always put resources where they can win,’ he said. A Lib Dem source added: ‘There is no pact and there will be no pact.’

Sir Ed Davey (pictured on BBC’s Sunday Morning earlier this month) confirmed that his party would be targeting Tiverton and Honiton rather than Wakefield. ‘Political parties always put resources where they can win,’ he said

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