Rishi Sunak tops a tactical voting hit list in plan for Tory wipeout

A tactical voting hit list has been produced by campaign group Best for Britain which has placed removing Rishi Sunak from his Richmond and Northallerton seat in Yorkshire as its top priority.

The centre-left campaign group, which was set up to stop Brexit, has identified other prominent targets on the list including leadership hopefuls Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman and Penny Mordaunt, along with home secretary James Cleverly, former prime minister Liz Truss and former home secretary Priti Patel.

It comes after MRP polling over the weekend suggested the Conservatives could end up with a historic low number of seats, a mere 72.

Best for Britain are making recommendations in 451 seats recommending with 370 for Labour, 69 for the Lib Dems, seven for the SNP, three for the Greens and two for Plaid Cymru. The other seats in England, Wales and Scotland have Labour or Lib Dem incumbents where there is unlikely to be any contest. Meanwhile, they are asking people not to vote DUP or TUV in Northern Ireland.

The projections follow a map produced by The Independent on tactical voting across the UK, which readers can check to see how best to vote.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is returning to the campaign trail on Monday (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is returning to the campaign trail on Monday (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

They also want to stop Reform getting a foothold in parliament and, a day after The Independent revealed Labour is in second place in Clacton, Best for Britain confirmed Labour’s Jovan Owusu-Nepaul is best placed to beat Nigel Farage.

Best for Britain’s chief executive Naomi Smith insisted that the organisation was providing a roadmap for people who had indicated they were wanting to vote tactically to maximise the vote for the centre-left.

Ms Smith said there needed “to be some give and take” among centre-left parties so Green voters voting for Labour tactically in one part of the country “know there is a pay off in another part of the country”.

She said that almost four in 10 voters had indicated an interest in voting tactically, with the highest proportion in Mr Sunak’s constituency and the lowest in Burton and Uttoxeter at 28 per cent.

Ms Smith said: “The damage of 14 years of mismanagement by this government will take years to repair. Significant improvements like democratic reforms, fixing the Brexit deal and meaningful climate action could take even longer.

“For this reason, it is important that this government is dealt a massive blow at the election to reduce the chance of them securing power again after five years. Tactical voting can ensure they return the smallest number of MPs possible.”

She went on: ”The current Conservative Party is almost unrecognisable from the one that took office in 2010. Similar to the Republicans in the USA, populists within the Conservative Party will seek to further radicalise their policy platform even in opposition, moving it further to the right and focused on both increasing divisions in the UK and removing democratic safeguards. Tactical voting can remove people like this from positions of influence within the parliamentary Conservative Party.

“Our MRP analysis showed that many high-profile Conservatives could be at risk if people vote tactically, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Suella Braverman and Liz Truss. Tactical voting will be essential to preventing Nigel Farage gaining a foothold in parliament and frustrating his ambition to take over the Tory party.

The Independent has already reported on the tactical voting campaign by the Lib Dems called Operation 1997. It could see the party gain around 50 seats with swings of up to 15 per cent required from the Tories.

A leaflet by the Lib Dems has already gone out advising voters and it appears to have shifted the polls slightly with Labour voters switching to Lib Dems in some seats in Tory blue wall areas.

Among the targets for the Lib Dems is chancellor Jeremy Hunt who has also been identified by Best for Britain.

However, there are some seats where Labour and the Lib Dems are competing for the tactical vote, including in Kemi Badenoch’s North West Essex constituency. Labour believe they are close to winning that seat and are being backed by Best for Britain.