A local vote swap scheme has been established in the constituencies of York Central and York Outer for the 2017 General Election, designed to elect MPs willing to hold the government’s Brexit process to account.
York Vote Swap, created by campaign group York For Europe, is endorsing “two progressive and pro-EU candidates”: incumbent Labour MP Rachael Maskell for York Central, and Liberal Democrat James Blanchard for Tory-held York Outer. Under the UK’s “first past the post” electoral system, these candidates are believed to stand the greatest chance of beating the ruling pro-Brexit Conservatives in their respective constituencies.
Voters can ‘pledge’ on the campaign website, www.yorkvoteswap.org, to vote for either Labour in York Central or Liberal Democrat in York Outer, to be matched up with a voter from the opposite constituency pledging to make the same tactical vote.
“We want to help guide voters in York Central and York Outer to ensure that their vote isn’t wasted, whilst at the same time feeling like they are still supporting the political party that they feel strongest affinity to,” says Kate Ravilious, one of the organisers of York Vote Swap.
Labour’s Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, hit headlines when she resigned from her shadow cabinet position to vote against the triggering of Article 50. As 58% of York residents voted to remain in the European Union in June last year, the tactical vote campaign is likely to help Maskell fend off a challenge in York Central from the Conservatives, who now view it as a marginal (winnable) seat.
Although the Liberal Democrats finished a distant third in York Outer in 2015, they were the incumbent party in the constituency until 2010. York Vote Swap “anticipate a bounce-back for the 2017 General Election” for the Liberal Democrats in York Outer, because “the clear pro-EU stance of the Liberal Democrats is likely to appeal to many [of its] constituents”.
As Heslington is part of York Outer, students who live on campus will be voting in that constituency – as will students living in Fulford, Osbaldwick and parts of Hull Road. Areas highly populated by students in the York Central constituency include Tang Hall, Heworth and the majority of Hull Road.