Bury North Lib Dem candidate says 'vote Labour instead'

Richard Baum Image copyright Richard Baum
Image caption Liberal Democrat Richard Baum wants people to back Labour in order to defeat the Tories in Bury North

A Liberal Democrat candidate has urged supporters to vote for his Labour rival in a bid to defeat the Conservatives in the general election.

Richard Baum has been selected by the Lib Dems as their candidate in highly marginal Bury North on 8 June.

Labour welcomed his words but the Tories said it was part of a plan to "prop up" Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In 2015, Conservative David Nuttall beat Labour's James Frith by 378 votes. Both are standing again.

Asked to comment on Mr Baum's move, a national spokesman for the Lib Dems said: "We are fighting for every vote to hold back the Tories and their hard Brexit agenda."

'Wasted vote'

Mr Baum, who lives in Somerset, told BBC Radio Manchester he would take no part in campaigning in the Greater Manchester seat.

"The Liberal Democrats have target seats and that's where the Liberal Democrats will be campaigning," he said.

However, he said: "I think it's important that people can vote for the party they want to vote for."

He added he would "gladly receive" the votes of "dyed-in-the-wool Liberal Democrats".

But he also said: "People have to be careful, because voting Liberal Democrat in a seat in which they have no chance of winning could be seen by many people as a wasted vote."

Bury North: How people voted in 2015

Conservative Party Chairman Patrick McLoughlin said: "It is increasingly clear the Lib Dems and Greens are determined to prop Corbyn up in a coalition of chaos to frustrate Brexit and put up taxes for every family and business in Britain. We would all pay the price.

"It might say Lib Dem or Green on the ballot but it's the nonsensical Corbyn who gets the vote. Only a vote for Theresa May and her Conservative team will deliver the strong and stable leadership that the country needs for Brexit and beyond."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "We believe Labour is only option for delivering real change for the people of Britain and we're glad Bury Liberal Democrats agree."

UKIP and the Green Party have chosen not to field candidates in Bury North, which was narrowly held by the Tories in 2015, with Mr Nuttall winning 18,970 votes to Mr Frith's 18,592.

A UKIP spokesman said: "Bury North MP David Nuttall is a true 'Brexiteer' who has campaigned for many years for Brexit and, given that, the party decided not to stand a candidate against him."

The Green Party said it was not fielding candidates in either of the marginal Bury North and Bury South seats, in support of "the poorest and most vulnerable" members of those constituencies.