Veteran coverer of the Westminster by-election, Michael Crick, posted an interesting piece on Mail + which notes the remarkable degree of collaboration that appears to exist between LAB and the LDs for the by-elections.
Note that in the summer the LDs only had a symbolic presence in Batley and Spen while it was the same for LAB in Chesham and Amersham.
The same appears to be happening in the December contests with the LDs having only a token presence at Old Bexley and Sidcup while LAB appears to be giving the LDs a free ride in North Shropshire. crick Notes:
Have the two sides discussed and negotiated a pact? Maybe, but maybe not. It does not matter. But they both played what they needed not just for themselves, but for the wider interest of collectively beating conservatives. They don’t need to talk or make a deal. What they should do is obvious: look at what happened in the two big by-elections this summer: in Chesham and Amersham, and in Batley and Spen. Ed Davey has visited the Buckinghamshire headquarters 18 times; the seat of Yorkshire not once. Keir Starmer made several trips to Batley and Spen, but avoided Chesham and Amersham. “It wasn’t just a coincidence,” one senior Liberal Democrat told me. And Labor happily allowed the Lib Dems to retrieve their supporters in Buckinghamshire in the broader interest of defeating the Tories. The price was the worst result ever achieved by Labor in a by-election.
If this continues through to the general election, it could make Johnson’s re-election plan much more difficult to implement.
My opinion is that there have been no agreements or conversations between the two parties. Instead, we have a common understanding of what is the best way to beat the Tories place by place.