Tactical voting in general election: Is tactical voting LEGAL in the UK?


THE GENERAL election is just days away and MPs, celebrities and campaigners have been advocating for tactical voting. Is tactical voting legal in the UK?

On Thursday, December 12, the UK will take to the polls to elect all 650 MPs in a general election. With Brexit, the NHS, the environment and the economy the main issues in this election, tensions are high as election day nears.

MPs, campaigners and even celebrities have been speaking about tactical voting in the run-up to the election.

Tactical voting is where individuals cast their vote for someone they wouldn’t ordinarily choose to stop a candidate they strongly oppose.

Hitting the headlines last week was actor Hugh Grant, who, on top of tweeting guides for tactical voting to his 497,000 followers, joined candidates on the campaign trail to convince them to vote tactically.

In the constituency of Finchley and Golders Green, Mr Grant joined Liberal Democrat candidate Luciana Berger, knocking on doors to discuss tactical voting.

The Love Actually star’s goal is not to secure a Lib Dem government, rather to avoid a Conservative-led one.

Tweeting in response to someone calling him “a lib dem”, he posted: “Not true. Am an anti Tory.”

Is tactical voting legal in the UK?

Voting tactically is perfectly legal as voters can choose whichever candidate they want on their ballot.

In instances where two parties are standing who have similar ideals, MPs often come to agreements and stand down or do not contest seats.

This is something which the Brexit Party have done during this election, with Nigel Farage choosing not to stand candidates in 317 constituencies which the Conservatives won last year.

The reason for this Mr Farage gave was to not split the “leave vote” as both the Conservatives and Brexit Party are using exiting the European Union in their election campaigns.

Similarly, in Canterbury, Liberal Democrat candidate Tim Walker stood down as he feared his name on the ballot would divide the Remain vote.

He said he was concerned running in the election would allow the Conservative candidate to take the seat from Labour.

There are also websites dedicated to tactical voting, with several aimed at preventing a Conservative government.

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These sites use either polling for the election or historical data to determine who to vote for in your constituency to prevent Boris Johnson from staying in power.

There are similar initiatives set up on the other side, telling you who to vote for to ensure Brexit and a Tory government.

Ultimately who you vote for is down to personal choice, and you do not have to give a reason why when voting – meaning if you wanted to vote tactically no one would know.

As the election nears, the Conservatives are at their shortest odds in two years for an overall majority.

Betfair Spokesperson, Katie Baylis said: ““With just three days to go until the country goes to the polls, the Tories are at their shortest odds in two years for an overall majority on the Betfair Exchange, having shortened from 2/5 at the start of the weekend to 1/4 today or a 79 percent chance.

“No overall majority has gone from 3/1 to 4/1 this morning, a 19 percent chance, while Labour are at 54/1 and according to punters needing some sort of miracle to stop the Tory charge.

“When the Election was called in October, no overall majority was odds-on and the Tories had a battle on their hands according to punters, but once Nigel Farage announced his Brexit Party candidates would not oppose in Tory seats, Boris Johnson and his party have seen their odds continue to shorten to the point that today they look almost unbeatable.

“But if there’s one thing that the last few years in British politics have taught us, is that nothing is ever certain and we will be watching those exit polls and first seats very closely when they come in on Thursday night.”

  • Conservative – 1/25
  • Labour – 24/1
  • Conservative Majority – 1/4
  • Labour Minority – 11/1
  • Conservatives Minority – 20/1
  • Lab/LD/SNP Coalition – 43/1
  • Lab/SNP Coalition – 45/1
  • Labour Majority – 54/1
  • Cons/Brexit Party Coalition – 64/1

Is tactical voting legal in the UK?


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