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Voters urged to get tactical on election day

Voters urged to get tactical on election day

Voters are being urged to think tactically when considering whose name to place their cross next to come polling day.

According to several Kent politicians, it is sometimes best to choose a party you wouldn't normally vote for in order to hamper the chances of another.

The issue was thrust into the spotlight last week when former Medway mayor Dai Liyanage quit the Liberal Democrats after being suspended for publicly supporting a Labour election candidate.

Mr Liyanage told KOS Media that while he still considers himself a Liberal, he will be voting for Paul Clark in Gillingham and Rainham because he does not want to see the Tories' Rehman Chishti enter Parliament.

He said: "I think Paul has been a very good MP since 1997 but I feel that if I vote Lib Dem then Chishti will get in. That's the only way to stop the Tories winning the seat.

"Jonathan Shaw (Labour candidate for Chatham and Aylesford) has also been very good and I would do the same for him.

"I absolutely do not support Labour on a national basis. I'm still a Liberal and have been for 45 years, but I'm afraid there's no way the Lib Dems can win in Gillingham, so sadly I've had to resort to tactical voting."

Ironically, one of the reasons Mr Liyanage does not want to see the Conservatives win in his constituency is because Mr Chishti was previously a Labour councillor in Medway, and even a former researcher for Mr Clark.

But Mr Liyanage stressed that tactical voting was not always about voting Labour over the Conservatives or vice-versa.

He said: "I think the Liberal Democrat candidate in Maidstone, Peter Carroll, has a lot of support and has a better chance of winning than the Labour candidate (Rav Seeruthun).

"He's a very good man and I'd like to see him become an MP, so perhaps Labour supporters should vote for him if they don't want the Tories to get in."

Last month UKIP leader Lord Pearson convinced Rochester and Strood candidate Robin Johnson to give up his election dream and instead urge residents to vote for the Euro-sceptic Tory candidate Gordon Henderson.

He also caused a stir this week when he went behind the back of UKIP candidates in Somerset to tell residents to vote for the Conservatives instead.

Lord Pearson told KOS Media last month: "We don't want to stand against politicians who share our main goals.

"That's why we are actively supporting the Conservative candidate Mark Reckless in Rochester and Strood, by putting up billboards and actually asking people to vote for him."

On Friday Lord Pearson visited Cuxton to give his party's backing to Mr Reckless.

Former SDP-Liberal Alliance MP for Croydon North West, Bill Pitt, has been a member of the Labour Party for more than a decade and is supporting South Thanet candidate Stephen Ladyman's re-election campaign.

He said: "In South Thanet the Lib Dem candidate (Peter Bucklitsch) is very worthy but he doesn't stand a chance of winning.

"He may well poll a reasonable percentage of the vote, but those votes may well be wasted."

News kindly supplied by Kent News-www.kentnews.co.uk


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