Unite to Remain

Unite to Remain (Welsh: Uno i Aros)[1] was a campaign and electoral pact during the 2019 United Kingdom general election. It involved three parties that supported remaining in the European Union: the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party of England and Wales, and, in Wales, Plaid Cymru. Its stated goal was to avoid the spoiler effect and maximise the number of MPs elected who would oppose Brexit.

Constituencies covered by the pact, colour-coded by standing party

In 49 constituencies in England and 11 in Wales, the pact led to only one of these parties standing a candidate. Of the 60 constituencies, 43 had Liberal Democrat candidates only, 10 had Green Party candidates only, and 7 had Plaid Cymru candidates only.[2][3][4][5][6] The seats covered by the pact included some defended by a Unite to Remain party, as well as target seats currently held by the Conservative or Labour parties.

Nine Unite to Remain candidates were elected (5 Liberal Democrats, 3 Plaid Cymru, 1 Green), which represented one gain and one loss compared to the 2017 general election results.


Though there was no formal pact, the August 2019 Brecon and Radnorshire by-election saw the Greens and Plaid Cymru stand aside for the Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds,[7] who defeated the Conservative candidate by a small margin.[8] This arrangement was mooted as being the basis for a wider-ranging "Remain Alliance".[9]

The Unite to Remain group which brokered the pact was formed by the outgoing MP for South Cambridgeshire, Heidi Allen, in July 2019.[10][11] The alliance approached the Labour party at an early stage, but were rebuffed.[12] The Labour peer Jim Knight is one of the directors of Unite to Remain.[13] The group was registered as a "non-party campaigner" with the Electoral Commission in November 2019.[14]

Seats were selected based on a targeted pooling of resources and only with the consent of local parties.[citation needed] All the parties also support electoral reform.[12] Liberal Democrat activists in constituencies where their party stood aside were encouraged to either campaign for the Unite to Remain candidate there, or to campaign in a nearby seat.[15]

On 13 November 2019, Unite to Remain and the Renew Party announced that Renew would not contest any of the 60 Unite to Remain target seats.[16]

List of constituenciesEdit

Incumbents marked in italics did not stand for re-election in that constituency.

Darker rows indicate constituencies where the Unite to Remain party won the previous election (the 2017 general election or the 2019 Brecon and Radnorshire by-election). The pact also covers three seats where, during the 2017–2019 Parliament, incumbent MPs defected from other parties to the Liberal Democrats.

Constituency Country Unite to Remain party Unite to Remain candidate Incumbent party Incumbent Refs Result
Arfon Wales Plaid Cymru Hywel Williams Plaid Cymru Hywel Williams [17] Elected
Bath England Liberal Democrats Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrats Wera Hobhouse Elected
Bermondsey and Old Southwark England Liberal Democrats Humaira Ali Labour Neil Coyle [18] Not elected
Brecon and Radnorshire Wales Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds [17] Not elected
Brighton Pavilion England Green Caroline Lucas Green Caroline Lucas [19] Elected
Bristol West England Green Carla Denyer Labour Thangam Debbonaire [20] Not elected
Buckingham England Liberal Democrats Stephen Dorrell Speaker John Bercow [21] Not elected
Bury St Edmunds England Green Helen Geake Conservative Jo Churchill Not elected
Caerphilly Wales Plaid Cymru Lindsay Whittle Labour Wayne David [22] Not elected
Cannock Chase England Green Paul Woodhead Conservative Amanda Milling Not elected
Cardiff Central Wales Liberal Democrats Bablin Molik Labour Jo Stevens [17] Not elected
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Wales Plaid Cymru Jonathan Edwards Plaid Cymru Jonathan Edwards [17] Elected
Cheadle England Liberal Democrats Tom Morrison Conservative Mary Robinson Not elected
Chelmsford England Liberal Democrats Marie Goldman Conservative Vicky Ford Not elected
Chelsea and Fulham England Liberal Democrats Nicola Horlick Conservative Greg Hands Not elected
Cheltenham England Liberal Democrats Max Wilkinson Conservative Alex Chalk Not elected
Chippenham England Liberal Democrats Helen Belcher Conservative Michelle Donelan Not elected
Dulwich and West Norwood England Green Jonathan Bartley Labour Helen Hayes [18] Not elected
Dwyfor Meirionnydd Wales Plaid Cymru Liz Saville Roberts Plaid Cymru Liz Saville-Roberts [17] Elected
Esher and Walton England Liberal Democrats Monica Harding Conservative Dominic Raab Not elected
Exeter England Green Joe Levy Labour Ben Bradshaw [23] Not elected
Finchley and Golders Green England Liberal Democrats Luciana Berger Conservative Mike Freer Not elected
Forest of Dean England Green Chris McFarling Conservative Mark Harper Not elected
Guildford England Liberal Democrats Zöe Franklin Independent
won as Conservative
Anne Milton Not elected
Harrogate and Knaresborough England Liberal Democrats Judith Rogerson Conservative Andrew Jones Not elected
Hazel Grove England Liberal Democrats Lisa Smart Conservative William Wragg Not elected
Hitchin and Harpenden England Liberal Democrats Sam Collins Conservative Bim Afolami Not elected
Isle of Wight England Green Vix Lowthion Conservative Bob Seely Not elected
Llanelli Wales Plaid Cymru Mari Arthur Labour Nia Griffith [22] Not elected
Montgomeryshire Wales Liberal Democrats Kishan Devani Conservative Glyn Davies [22] Not elected
North Cornwall England Liberal Democrats Danny Chambers Conservative Scott Mann Not elected
North Norfolk England Liberal Democrats Karen Ward Liberal Democrats Norman Lamb Not elected
Oxford West and Abingdon England Liberal Democrats Layla Moran Liberal Democrats Layla Moran Elected
Penistone and Stocksbridge England Liberal Democrats Hannah Kitching Liberal Democrats
won as Labour
Angela Smith Not elected
Pontypridd Wales Plaid Cymru Fflur Elin Labour Owen Smith [22] Not elected
Portsmouth South England Liberal Democrats Gerald Vernon-Jackson Labour Stephen Morgan Not elected
Richmond Park England Liberal Democrats Sarah Olney Conservative Zac Goldsmith Elected
Romsey and Southampton North England Liberal Democrats Craig Fletcher Conservative Caroline Nokes Not elected
Rushcliffe England Liberal Democrats Jason Billin Independent
won as Conservative
Kenneth Clarke Not elected
Stroud England Green Molly Scott Cato Labour David Drew Not elected
South Cambridgeshire England Liberal Democrats Ian Sollom Liberal Democrats
won as Conservative
Heidi Allen [24] Not elected
South East Cambridgeshire England Liberal Democrats Pippa Heylings Conservative Lucy Frazer Not elected
South West Surrey England Liberal Democrats Paul Follows Conservative Jeremy Hunt Not elected
Southport England Liberal Democrats John Wright Conservative Damien Moore Not elected
Taunton Deane England Liberal Democrats Gideon Amos Conservative Rebecca Pow Not elected
Thornbury and Yate England Liberal Democrats Claire Young Conservative Luke Hall Not elected
Totnes England Liberal Democrats Sarah Wollaston Liberal Democrats
won as Conservative
Sarah Wollaston Not elected
Tunbridge Wells England Liberal Democrats Ben Chapelard Conservative Greg Clark Not elected
Twickenham England Liberal Democrats Munira Wilson Liberal Democrats Vince Cable Elected
Wantage England Liberal Democrats Richard Benwell Conservative Ed Vaizey Not elected
Warrington South England Liberal Democrats Ryan Bate Labour Faisal Rashid Not elected
Westmorland and Lonsdale England Liberal Democrats Tim Farron Liberal Democrats Tim Farron Elected
Watford England Liberal Democrats Ian Stotesbury Conservative Richard Harrington Not elected
Wells England Liberal Democrats Tessa Munt Conservative James Heappey Not elected
Wimbledon England Liberal Democrats Paul Kohler Conservative Stephen Hammond Not elected
Winchester England Liberal Democrats Paula Ferguson Conservative Steve Brine Not elected
Witney England Liberal Democrats Charlotte Hoagland Conservative Robert Courts Not elected
Vale of Glamorgan Wales Green Anthony Slaughter Conservative Alun Cairns [22] Not elected
York Outer England Liberal Democrats Keith Aspden Conservative Julian Sturdy Not elected
Ynys Môn Wales Plaid Cymru Aled ap Dafydd Labour Albert Owen [22] Not elected

Pre-election analysisEdit

Psephologist John Curtice stated that the pact could be critical in "half a dozen" seats that could have otherwise been won by the Conservatives.[25]

An analysis published in the Financial Times attempted to evaluate the potential impact of the pact. This analysis applied uniform regional swing based on polling (as of early November) to the 2017 result to estimate the parties' standings in the seats before the pact, then assumed that voters for parties standing aside would transfer their support as per the pact. The analysis found that in 18 seats the Unite to Remain party would not need the pact in order to win, in 39 the pact would be insufficient to secure victory, and in two (Brecon and Radnorshire and Winchester) the pact would make the critical difference between winning and losing for the Unite to Remain party.[26]

Other pro-Remain arrangementsEdit

In addition to the Unite to Remain pact, the Liberal Democrats did not stand candidates against the following anti-Brexit or "soft Brexit" supporting incumbents:

All failed to be elected.

In Canterbury, the original Liberal Democrat candidate (Tim Walker) stood down in aid of the Labour incumbent Rosie Duffield, but the Lib Dems stood a replacement candidate.[30] Duffield retained her seat.

In Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Green Party in Northern Ireland all stood aside in certain constituencies to increase the chances of anti-Brexit candidates.[31]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Gwil #FBPE #RevokeA50 #UniteToRemain 🚥 🌏 (@Better_Gov) | Twitter". twitter.com.
  2. ^ "The Guardian view on the Unite to Remain pact: a response to a failed system | Editorial". The Guardian. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  3. ^ Nixon, Matthew (7 November 2019). "Polling expert John Curtice makes prediction about Remain pact". The New European. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  4. ^ Hymas, Charles (7 November 2019). "Tories seek electoral watchdog inquiry into Remain electoral pact that threatens their seats". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Unite to Remain agreement". Liberal Democrats. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  6. ^ Proctor, Kate (7 November 2019). "Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru reveal remain election pact". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  7. ^ Devlin, Kate (4 July 2019). "Remain by-election pact could cut new PM's majority to three". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  8. ^ "'Surely now he has to listen?' Newly-elected MP Jane Dodds says she will challenge PM to take no deal off table". ITV News. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Hopes grow for General Election 'Remain Alliance' following Brecon and Radnorshire by-election". Left Foot Forward. 2 August 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Green Party responds to announcement of formation of Unite for Remain | The Green Party". www.greenparty.org.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  11. ^ Tidey, Alice (7 November 2019). "'Unite to Remain': UK parties form anti-Brexit election pact". euronews. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  12. ^ a b Rea, Ailbhe (7 November 2019). "A guide to the Remain pact between the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens". New Statesman. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  13. ^ Walker, Peter; Stewart, Heather (6 November 2019). "Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and Greens to launch pro-remain pact". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  14. ^ "View registration – Unite to Remain". The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  15. ^ http://www.libdems.org.uk (7 November 2019). "Unite to Remain agreement". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  16. ^ Allen, Heidi (13 November 2019). "Thank you @RenewParty ! This is what country first politics looks like https://twitter.com/renewparty/status/1194570741410344960 …". @heidiallen75. Retrieved 14 November 2019. External link in |title= (help)
  17. ^ a b c d e "The seats in Wales that are part of the 'Remain Alliance' pact". ITV News. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  18. ^ a b Salisbury, Josh (7 November 2019). "General Election 2019: 'Unite to Remain' pact agreed in Bermondsey & Old Southwark and Dulwich & West Norwood". Southwark News. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  19. ^ le Duc, Frank (7 November 2019). "Brighton Pavilion Lib Dem candidate stands down for second election running". Brighton and Hove News. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  20. ^ Cork, Tristan; Rogers, Alexandra (7 November 2019). "Lib Dems will not field a candidate in Bristol West". Bristol Post. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  21. ^ Dean, Sam (7 November 2019). "Liberal Democrat candidate 'grateful' The Green Party is stepping aside in Buckingham". Buckingham Today. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  22. ^ a b c d e f "The seats in Wales that are part of the 'Remain Alliance' pact". ITV News. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  23. ^ Lloyd, Howard (7 November 2019). "Liberal Democrats reveal they will not contest Exeter at general election". Devon Live. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  24. ^ Gardner, Gemma (7 November 2019). "General Election 2019: Green Party step aside for Liberal Democrats in Unite to Remain agreement". Cambridge Independent. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  25. ^ Nixon, Matthew. "Polling expert John Curtice makes prediction about Remain pact". The New European. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  26. ^ Payne, Sebastian; Stabe, Martin (7 November 2019). "Three anti-Brexit parties launch election pact in 60 seats". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  27. ^ Jones, Amy (30 October 2019). "Lib Dems will stand aside for Dominic Grieve, as polling predicts a Boris Johnson majority". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  28. ^ "Luton Liberal Democrats Put Country Before Party By Standing Down In Luton South For Pro-Remain Independent – Luton Liberal Democrats". www.lutonlibdems.org.uk. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  29. ^ Sandeman, Kit (7 November 2019). "Lib Dems will not stand in Broxtowe against Anna Soubry, party confirms". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  30. ^ Francis, Paul (13 November 2019). "General Election 2019: Liberal Democrats line up new candidate Claire Malcolmson to replace Tim Walker in Canterbury". Kent Online. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  31. ^ Rory Carroll (4 November 2019). "Sinn Féin to stand aside for remain candidates in three constituencies". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 November 2019.

External linksEdit