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There is talk of a General election on October 14th. Bexhill and Battle mp Huw Merriman we must remember has a huge majority of over 20,000. Just a few days ago the Brexit Party said it would mount a challenge to the Seat by announcing Michelle Buxton as their candidate. Not much for Mr Merriman to worry about.

Mr Merriman voted Remain in the referendum and at that point opposition parties (Rother Alliance of Labour, Liberal Democrat’s, Green and Independents) locally would have found it even more difficult to mount any serious challenge as their joint position would be Remain. However Huw Merriman has voted with the Government to Leave since then.

So voters would want to know where Huw stands now. This has been made much easier by the Prime Minister saying any mp that won’t support the Government by voting Leave with No deal will be deselected. Which leaves some Conservative MPs with a catch 22 problem. Be honest to your convictions and be deselected, bow to the Prime Minister and have to fight the General election with a Leave with No deal position.

We have to assume that Mr Merriman will fight the Bexhill and Battle Seat with a Leave with No deal position. Were he to continue as the candidate and say he will hold the Remain position, voters would already know that he did that last time and then betrayed that position by voting with the Government to Leave.

The main change though is that the Remain opposition parties now have a solid reason to field a combined candidate. The election is being presented as almost totally on Brexit. The Leave vote will be split right down the middle between the Brexit Party and the Conservatives. If the Remain side fields a single candidate, just like in the recent by-election, they can win even though they get less votes than the two Leave candidates combined.

As a Conservative member myself, things have certainly taken a turn for the worse. Many commentators say No deal is like a cliff edge with disaster waiting to happen. It is sensible to fight an election from a Leave position and confirming democracy, the original referendum. But it is not sensible to have a position of Lets just leave, have no idea what will happen, and just hope it works out.

Things are moving very fast at the moment and who knows what today may bring. A lot depends locally on whether the Rother Alliance politicians are just small town no bodies, or if among them they have a serious candidate to challenge Mr Merriman.

Paul Minter