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Message from the Best for Britain team

Dear supporters,

The polls have just closed. For the last six weeks we’ve been working, with your support, to fight extreme Brexit. We are so grateful for your support and we’ve met so many great people on the campaign trail.

Here’s a snapshot of what we have done over the period of the campaign:

  1.  Delivered a voter registration campaign among young people and women in particular, working with fantastic partners like Bite the Ballot, Citizens UK, RizeUp and MLMS. Our campaign reached two million people.
  2. Supported 36 candidate champions with donations and other campaign support such as visits to get them media coverage.
  3. We have also supported another 100 candidates with targeted digital campaigning.
  4. Built a tactical voting dashboard (now put into retirement until the next election) to show people how to avoid extreme Brexit and limit a Tory majority.  The Dashboard has had over half a million unique users and some marginals got more visits than the size of their majority – many times over!
  5. A national digital campaign to drive tactical voting.

The top searched constituencies where we’ve made a clear call were the following which shows just how important the marginal fights will be tonight. Four out of these five are among our champions (all except Bath):

  1.     Bath
  2.     St Albans
  3.     Brighton Pavilion
  4.     Vauxhall
  5.     Maidenhead

When we started this in April, polling we commissioned from Election Data and YouGov showed a potential 188 seat majority for Theresa May. We decided we needed to dent that majority and also to fight for strong voices to oppose Brexit.

None of this would have been possible without your support, so a massive thank you from every single one of us in the extended Best for Britain family – which has become larger as we met new friends along the way.

We’ll be updating our supporters like you with email (sign up here if you haven’t yet) and on Twitter throughout election night with the latest news.

Very best wishes

 

Eloise and the team

Best for Britain Tactical Vote Dashboard methodology

Best for Britain’s Tactical Voting Dashboard to stop Extreme Brexit seeks to do two things:

  • Return as many cross-party candidates as possible that will fight Extreme Brexit and fight for a real choice on the final deal
  • Limit the majority of a likely Conservative Government in order to mount the strongest possible opposition to Theresa May’s Extreme Brexit agenda

In order to deliver this, Best for Britain has put the most emphasis on winnability of the seats, having considered a combination of commissioned research, the 2015 election results, polling from the last month, the attitudes to Brexit in the constituency and – where possible – local knowledge. In most cases, the candidate that looks most likely to beat a pro-Brexit candidate according to the data, has been backed. In some cases, because of the peculiarities of the local fight, candidate that is not the ‘obvious’ choice in data terms has been backed.

For the purposes of this Tactical Voting Website, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party are considered as parties that will fight Extreme Brexit. Which of these parties is most likely to win or be the closest contender for a seat is our default setting for our recommendation. These parties have different policies on Brexit, all have clearly expressed their willingness to fight Extreme Brexit and all have expressed their support for rejecting any deal that does not deliver the exact same benefits for the UK as membership. We believe that a majority of the candidates from these parties want to keep the door open to staying in if the deal is not in the national interest. For those seats in which there are Labour candidates who have been particularly vocal about leaving the EU, we recommend ‘voting your preference’, except in those cases in which we think a candidate has a credible chance of contesting the seat.

The Conservative Party and UKIP are considered as parties in support of Extreme Brexit due to their manifestos, so there are no direct recommendations for them. There are however, many Conservative candidates that we believe, though currently bound by the Conservative Manifesto, will speak up in Parliament against Extreme Brexit. We have indicated that voters should ‘vote their preference’ in these seats, except in some of the cases in which a strong Liberal Democrat has a chance of winning. We have not included Conservatives that are part of the government.

Our website focuses on England and Wales. We have not made calls in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The information supplied on the website from the 2015 election and polling should help voters make their decision.

We reserve the right to change our calls, according to any new information we receive from local knowledge and also from our digital outreach to candidates in the coming week. We also reserve the right to change calls to reflect any changes that may be needed in response to national and regional polling. We will update the list at least twice before 8 June.

The nature of creating a website for 573 constituencies means that we have taken a view based on the parties the candidates belong to. We are, however, committed to backing individual candidates that share our views. For any feedback on the website or the calls made, please write to Best for Britain at info@bestforbritain.org

Categories for calls

VOTE YOUR PREFERENCE     Conservative incumbents who are pro-Remain and Labour incumbents who are pro-Leave fall under this category

TO BE DETERMINED        We will make a call closer the elections

Party positions

The Labour position set out by Keir Starmer on 27 March: “Let me be clear: Labour will not support a deal that fails to reflect core British values and the six tests I have set out today.” The Labour manifesto supports a meaningful vote on the final deal.

The Liberal Democrat position in their manifesto is to give “the final say to the British people in a referendum on whether to accept the deal or remain in the EU” which would need a meaningful vote on the final deal in Parliament.

The Green party position in their manifesto is also a referendum on the final deal for Brexit.

Best for Britain responds to Conservative manifesto

The Best for Britain campaign today responded to the Conservative party manifesto pledge on Brexit.

Gina Miller of Best for Britain commented:

“Achieving what is Best for Britain requires a leader with an open mind, rather than one who is inflexible.  The Conservative manifesto shuts down options for our country, and makes it clear that the Tories are committing to a bad deal forced upon us by the other 27 member states or leaving with no deal at all.  This is not giving neither Parliament or people real choice.

“It is crucial that this election results in a strong and effective Parliament to will hold the Prime Minister to account. Scrutiny and accountability are the bedrocks of our constitution. We need representatives in Parliament to stand up and ask questions, and not be afraid to hold the Government to account; representatives who will reflect the views of all of their constituents.

“That is why Best for Britain is supporting candidates who have an open mind and are determined to fight for a vote with all options on the table.

That includes Conservative candidates who will fight for what is right for the country, fight for a real choice on the final deal and reject this government’s form of Extreme Brexit.”

The Best for Britain campaign raised over £390,000 via crowdfunding to encourage voter engagement in the general election and support parliamentary candidates who will resist an extreme Brexit

For more information go to www.bestforbritain.org

For press inquiries, email press@bestforbritain.org

 

Best for Britain Champions announced

Today, as you may have seen in The Observer newspaper, we have announced our candidates.

When we launched our crowdfunder, we promised to use the money to back candidates who pledge to support a full and free vote on the Brexit deal. We also promised to work with organisations with the same goals and to promote tactical voting.

We’re excited to say we are announcing the first set of candidates we will back – all of them in a fight for their seat and needing a tactical vote swing. This is an excellent group of talented candidates that agree with our position that MPs must have the right to a full and free vote on the terms of the deal, with all options on the table.

We developed criteria to pick these individuals, and we are ready to back candidates who:

  1.    Support a real choice on the final deal and ready to fight Extreme Brexit
  2.    Are fighting a winnable seat but not a dead certainty
  3.    Have an immaculate track record

We also decided to give a preference to candidates that are opposed by a leading contender in favour of extreme Brexit, to stop candidates not in favour of a choice on the final deal. We have also given preference to candidates at threat from UKIP withdrawal from some parliamentary seats to lend support to other candidates. All our actions will of course be fully compliant with Electoral Commission rules and other relevant legislation.

Here is the list of Best for Britain Champions:

Tom Brake, Carshalton and Wallington, Lib Dem

Kevin Brennan, Cardiff West, Labour

Nick Clegg, Sheffield Hallam, Lib Dem

Fabian Hamilton, Leeds North East, Labour

Mark Hunter, Cheadle, Lib Dem

Rupa Huq, Ealing Central and Acton, Labour

Peter Kyle, Hove, Labour

Clive Lewis, Norwich South, Labour

Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion, Green

Kerry McCarthy, Bristol East, Labour

Sarah Olney, Richmond Park, Lib Dem

Tulip Siddiq, Hampstead and Kilburn, Labour

Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith, Labour

Lisa Smart, Hazel Grove, Lib Dem

Jo Stevens, Cardiff Central, Labour

Gareth Thomas, Harrow West, Labour

They will receive support for their campaigns in different ways, through endorsements, campaign support and in some cases events or visits to the constituency by Best for Britain.

This marks the second of our 3 main workstreams:

Youth and women voter registration and turnout.

Earlier this week, we gave three grants to three brilliant grassroots organisations: Bite the Ballot, My Life My Say and Citizens UK. They will be working hard to increase the number of young people on the electoral register across the country. We’re also pushing social media adverts to encourage young people are registered to vote. This is crucial to ensure the voices of young people and women are heard during this election. More on youth and women in the coming week.

Backing political champions
We will be touring marginal constituencies, over the coming weeks of the campaign, visiting some of our champions as well as other constituencies to be announced.

Fighting Extreme Brexit
We are also launching a tactical voting website to show voters how to vote in their constituency for the candidate that is most likely to fight Extreme Brexit and to keep the Brexit process transparent, open and democratic. We will also focus on more marginal seats prioritising our resources on the most strategic choices – seats that are important and winnable.

It is crucial that the next Parliament has independent MPs who will ensure the next government is held to account in the crucial negotiations on our future relationship with Europe. By backing our champions and with the launch of our tactical vote website we can make sure we win this fight.

Join us, spread the word and get your friends involved – only 25 days to go!

PS – if you haven’t seen it already, there was a fascinating feature piece on Gina, her life, court case and the campaign in The Guardian yesterday.

Gina Miller – Keynote Speech – The Convention, 12 May 2017

This speech was given by Gina Miller of the Best for Britain campaign at The Convention on 12 May 2017:

As supposedly the Chief Wrexiteer, I am probably apt that I am opening The Convention. But I want to leave the name calling behind and have a serious conversation with you.

In my view the vote to Leave the EU was a mistake but that was the democratic outcome of the Referendum. The public decided to leave and we must respect that. However, it is in their interest and all our interest that this is done in a way to minimise the damage to our country, and in particular, to the prospects of our young people. There also needs to be a reclaiming of common sense.

We don’t know how Europe might change in the next 2 years and we certainly don’t know the final deal yet so to decide now exactly what we will do is insane.

If in the light of evidence and events in a future no one can predict, the British public decides it does not want the proposed deal, presumably because it’s neither best for their families or their country’s future, why should their wishes be ignored?

How we voted in June 2016, almost a year ago, is in a sense irrelevant as that is the past. Both remainer and leaver politicians need to move on to what will be best for Britain rather than their political career. They must put principles before party politics, rather than marching towards a hard Brexit like hapless lemmings over the cliff.

My question is – How did we get into this mess? I believe the answer is due to a series of political miscalculations. How can we get out of it? By using our voices and our vote to hold politicians to account throughout the process and at the end.

People chose to pillorise expert advice and information from all walks of life. Brexit became an evidence free zone. If Brexit was an NHS drug, it would have to pass an evidence based test showing that the benefits massively outweighed the possible harm. We have nothing like that. Remember the article 50 white paper? It was like no other I have seen. There was no cost benefits Test or comparison of alternatives or analysis. It was Mrs Mays way or no way.

If you are thinking about moving and decide you like the look of a house, you may put in an offer but you wait until you’ve had the surveyor’s report, a legal search before deciding whether to complete or not. Only a fool would do otherwise.

This decision is about our entire country and the futures of all our lives, not just a house. But the only choice we are being offered is to buy irrespective of the attractiveness of our proposed new place or pull the deal entirely at the last minute and end up homeless.

Just because Mrs May has called a snap election does not mean we have to all snap into line and jettison common sense.

Mrs May said Britain was uniting behind Brexit and Westminster is divided yet in many ways the opposite is true. I know this because of the messages I receive. Just reading last night the responses below the videos the Convention team posted and the responses on social media it is evident that many people in the country are angry and very unhappy – on both sides.

The country is divided: the Referendum opened a wound which cannot heal until Mrs May engages in a full and informed debate with the country to find common ground

By being inflexible and harsh, closed-minded, deaf to other’s opinions and concerns about Brexit, Mrs May is preventing the country from healing and recovering.

In terms of Labour, voters may be thinking of sitting this Election out because they do not have faith in Jeremy Corbyn. But having a vote is a great privilege so we must use it in a smart, tactical way.

Many people who voted Remain feel Leave won by lies and swindling.

I know that many of the people who voted Leave feel they were lied to.

Many people were dismayed at the consequences as the challenges of Brexit seep into the fore. In my view the only real solution that can bring the country back together, to go forward together, is if the differences are resolved or at least reduced through properly informed debate throughout the negotiation process and a free vote on the end terms of Brexit .

As a country we value fairness, reasonableness and compromise for the greater good. Mrs May is out of step with that. Robotically repeating mantras of Brexit means Brexit and the words Strong and Stable being trotted out to any question ring hollow.

Despite what many think or what we are being told – Extreme Brexit is not a done deal. It is unfinished business.

The Referendum was not Brexit.

There is no mandate or blank cheque for an Extreme or hard Brexit. People should be able to make an informed choice. They deserve to see options and to see them properly scrutinised in Parliament. There must be a meaningful vote and elected representatives (MPs) must be able to vote on amendments to the deal.

If Mrs May uses a landslide majority to deliver an extreme Brexit she will be remembered for putting political expediency above true democracy.

Mrs May seems to want there to be no opposition on Brexit, and the Official Opposition in Parliament appear to be obliging. It is up to us as ordinary citizens to do so. However small you may feel, together our voice is big and can be the opposition to Extreme Brexit now.

That is why we have launched Best For Britian.org and even the former Prime Minister appears to be our supporter and agrees that there should be opposition to extreme Brexit. Our goal must be damage limitation through using our voice in debates such as The Convention is hosting and voting for choice on the 8th June.

Some people voted Leave because they wanted to go back to the past but the future will not bring us back to the past because the world has changed. Extreme Brexit is likely to leave us more vulnerable, more isolated, poorer, and with less opportunities for our children.

There is a fundamental unfairness here which will not lie down and be forgotten unless there is a new political settlement with the country over Brexit. Many feel betrayed and angry – but I implore you not to turn away from democracy and responsibility on June 8th, as that could have even more profound consequences for our country.

Why it’s crucial young people vote

If you haven’t registered to vote: REGISTER NOW!

 

Atalandi from Best for Britain writes:

 

I believe young people have been the biggest losers of elections in our recent history. Unless attitudes towards voting change, young people are set to lose big again in this upcoming election.

 

The ‘snap’ has been prompted by Brexit. Young people voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union. People aged 16-17 even campaigned, alas unsuccessfully, to have their say last June. Since the referendum, we have gone from soft Brexit, to hard Brexit, to something approaching extreme Brexit. All I know is that very little concern has been shown for the interests of the 71% of 18-25 year olds who voted to Remain. We are worried about our job prospects being squandered. We are worried about key human rights being protected. We are worried about losing programmes like Erasmus+. All in all, we are worried about our futures.

 

However, I can’t imagine this is a big surprise to young people. This is not the first time we haven’t got our way. In my recent memory, as a 23 year old, young people have been ritualistically under-represented by politicians and the political agenda. We all remember what happened in 2010. Young people wanted a reduction in tuition fees. We got a trebling of tuition fees. Young people were in favour of electoral reform. We got a referendum on the neutered version of PR, AV, which was doomed from the start. Young people need help with increasing house prices. The government responds by cutting housing benefits for 18-21 year olds. The list, unfortunately, goes on. These are not just consequences of a conservative government. These consequences are part of a greater systemic issue of young people not voting.

 

Via Bite the Ballot

[Image via Bite the Ballot]

 

Politicians rely on being re-elected to keep their jobs. Therefore, MPs must respond to and advocate for voters’ demands. Voters hold the power. MPs do not advocate for no-shows. Proportionally, young people are under-registered to vote and too few turn up on election day. Not being registered to vote means you pose little to no threat to your MP. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the current crop of politicians are more focused on bettering the lot of the old rather than the young, since older adults vote. For example, in 2015 only 43% of 18-24 year olds voted versus 78% of 65 year olds and above. The politics of today is shaped more by triple lock pensions than by creating affordable housing or tackling rising student debt.

 

While the older generations of our society are winning at the game of British politics, young people are refusing to play. Things only seem to be getting worse. Predictions for this election show that only 14% of people aged 18-24 say they will definitely vote and 57% say they probably or definitely won’t vote. In contrast, 79% of over 65s say they definitely will vote. This gulf between the old and the young will only continue to grow if our attitudes to voting do not change. We need to reframe how us young see voting. Voting must been viewed as an opportunity, an opportunity to change the things we dislike, not as a hopeless act that will inevitably uphold the status quo.

 

You may be angry at our system and believe that not voting is a form of protest. However, not voting doesn’t actually achieve anything except telling the politicians you are apathetic and should be disregarded. The fact of the matter is, our system is not going to change without us engaging in it. In the first instance, we need to work within the system to reform it. It does not matter who you vote for or whether you vote at all. What matters is being counted. So, harness your power in the process, register to vote, turn up to the polls and place an X. Your vote is your voice…make sure that voice is heard!

 

Key facts about voting

 

Who can vote?

> 18 or over

> A British citizen

> A citizen of the Republic of Ireland

> Are you a Commonwealth citizen? See if you are eligible to vote here.

> Are you a UK citizen living abroad? See if you are able to apply as an overseas voter here.

 

How can I vote?

> Voter registration deadline for this general election is May 22nd. Register to vote here.

> Want to do a postal vote? First, make sure you are registered to vote then apply for a postal vote here. The deadline for postal voting is May 23rd.

> Want to vote by proxy? All the information you need is here. The deadline in England, Scotland and Wales is May 31st and in Northern Ireland May 18th. Make sure you choose someone trustworthy!

> Are you a student? You may be eligible to register to vote in more than one place. Check here for more information.

 

For more information about voting check out: www.yourvotematters.co.uk

 

GINA MILLER – Best for Britain Launch Speech, 26 April 2017

This General Election is going to be different to any in recent times.
Like it or not Brexit is a key issue, as Britain faces an uncertain future.
Every one of us wants what is Best for Britain – that desire bonds us all together in this Election.
Achieving what is Best for Britain needs thoughtful, responsible leadership from whoever is elected Prime Minister and a strong effective Parliament to hold that Prime Minister to account.
Our Parliamentary system relies on electing strong, principled MPs from different backgrounds that are prepared to stand by these principles, ask questions, and hold the Govt to account.
In this election it will be about voting for candidates that will reflect the views of all of their constituents and put principles above politics.
That is why last week I set up a crowdfunding page which almost 10,000 people have already donated to, raising an incredible £300,000.
This grassroots movement wants what’s Best for Britain and they are supporting our call to elect MPs in Parliament who are prepared to put party politics to one side to ensure that the best deal for Britain is achieved.  In terms of Brexit that means MPs who want to see all options on the table.
People are worried about the future direction of this country, they believe in Parliamentary democracy and they believe, as do we, that only tactical voting in this election can ensure that Parliament plays their full part in the future of this country.
Like us, they believe we need MPs to be strong and open minded about what is best for Britain.
The idea that parliament should simply rubber-stamp a binary deal or no deal option presented by a future government, and ignore any other alternative options, would reduce democracy to a mere footnote.
Throughout the course of this General Election campaign we will be focusing on educating and empowering people to make a tactical vote and choosing MPs who will do the Best for Britain.

Thanks to the generous donations we have received, we will be able to directly support parliamentary candidates who are committed to keeping all options open. 

And we shall work tirelessly to support candidates who want what’s Best for Britain and believe in principles over politics. 

This is the most important election for a generation.It’s crucial that people feel inspired to register and vote.

It is especially important for young people to vote as they will be living with the consequences of the decisions taken in the next parliament for their entire lives.

We will achieve our objectives by: 

  1. Working with a range of organisations and partners by providing on the ground campaign support
  2. Delivering Best for Britain’s tactical vote recommendation based on new research about where your vote will make the biggest difference
  3. Donating your money directly to local candidates
  4. Utilising the very best technology to spread the message in the areas where tactical voting can make a real difference to the result

I am sincerely grateful for those who have so generously donated and offered their time and skills.  I hope many more people will join our Best for Britain team – you are a vital part of this and we need you to get involved at BestforBritain.org