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Ex West Derbyshire Tory MP, Matthew Parris to Vote Liberal Democrat

May 21, 2019 5:28 PM
By MATTHEW PARRIS in The Times

Matthew ParrisWhy I'll vote Lib Dem for the first time in my life

I hadn't expected the question but, when it came, my answer was straight from both heart and head, and I shall never regret it. On Monday night the BBC News Channel presenter, Lukwesa Burak, had invited me to discuss the withdrawal of the Conservative whip from Michael Heseltine. He's being punished by the Tories for saying he would vote Liberal Democrat in tomorrow's European elections. I voiced the admiration I feel for Lord Heseltine.

"And you?" Lukwesa asked.

So I answered. I'm in no doubt what I must do. I'll vote Lib Dem, and urge any Tory Remainer to do the same: not because we're suddenly Lib Dems but because they're the only non-Brexit party in England with a chance of getting MEPs elected.

Theresa May claims Tory votes are votes to leave, so in European elections I'm not going to send that signal. Nor should any Tory Remainer.

But this will hurt. I belong in my Conservative tribe. On any ballot paper with a Tory on it, I've never in 50 years ticked any other box. Many fellow-Tories, like me, will be feeling the same sense of a wrench. But we know what we have to do. There are loyalties beyond party.