Frank Field MP
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Local Elections: An insight into the next General Election

The local elections last week in Wirral gave us a foretaste of the general election.
I thought David Cameron immediately after the last election would have gone for a short-term arrangement with the Liberal Democrats while awaiting another election six months hence. I was wrong.
Instead the Prime Minister formed his coalition. The original Tory decontamination strategy has failed. Decontamination would now be continued by joining up with the Lib Dems.
I had always thought the process would end up with one party gobbling up the other, either by having a coupon election with a single coalition candidate against Labour, or by reinventing the National Liberals who would pledge themselves to take the Tory whip in the next Parliament.
The Lib Dems had no candidates in Wallasey so gave the coalition partners a free run. But was there also a payoff in Birkenhead?
Before the election Jeff Green laughed that Labour would easily win Prenton but that we would not take Oxton. I thought it was up to voters to decide who would win.
There was no Tory campaign Oxton and there were rumours that the Tories gave information about their members and voters to the Lib Dems.
Our local elections were therefore an evolutionary stage to the big fight in 2015. Will we see Liberals withdrawing in many seats, as in Wallasey, or will there be in other areas more informal arrangements as in Oxton, where successful candidates are returned by courtesy of the Tory high command?
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