The Londoner: Remainers Rue rushed vote site

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Remain campaigners feared losing an online arms race with Leavers so much they decided to launch an incomplete tactical voting website early, the chief executive of Best for Britain has revealed.

Naomi Smith admitted it was “regrettable” to have launched her organisation’s tactical voting website early but said she felt forced to act to avoid voters Googling tactical voting being directed to pro-Brexit websites, such as Leave.EU, co-founded by Arron Banks (below right). Anti-Brexit tactical voting websites are intended to help voters concentrate their support on the candidate best placed to fight Brexit. But when Best for Britain launched its site at the end of last month, it was called “bogus advice” by Labour as it appeared to tell voters to back the Liberal Democrats in seats where it was well behind Labour. Smith defended her website, saying “our methodology is data-driven”.There are now three separate anti-Brexit tactical voting websites, including Remain United, run by campaigner Gina Miller (far left), and one run by the People’s Vote campaign.

“Leave.EU launched its tactical vote site straight after the vote,” Smith explains on the Remainiacs podcast. “I had to take a decision: do I wait for all of the charts to be ready... or do I go with the recommendation alone and say that the data is following?”

“The first 72 hours of search-engine optimisation on Google are absolutely critical. And because Leave had gone, any other tactical vote site was then going to spend the next six weeks of the campaign just trying to catch up with them up on Google search rankings.”

She adds that the “People’s Vote campaign [was]... in total meltdown and the Remain community was going to be left without any leadership once again while Leave stormed ahead”.

But pollster Joe Twyman of Deltapoll told The Londoner this morning “our recent figures have fewer than one in 10 saying they’re going to vote tactically. Most people will be making an assessment of the situation in their constituency.” Has it been a tactical error?

TV splits your vote

While the nation is gripped by election fear, broadcasters are busy lining up MPs, ex-MPs and pundits for overnight coverage of the results. The Londoner has heard a rumour that Labour’s soon-to-be ex-deputy leader Tom Watson and former Tory home secretary Amber Rudd are being lined up for Channel 4 to go up against former Treasury sparring partners Ed Balls and the editor of this newspaper, George Osborne, on ITV after their surprise success on the channel in 2017.

With more big names set to be announced, maybe this election will be who you watch rather than who you vote for.


Departing Labour MP Kate Hoey told Parliament last week that she will miss driving to work from her Vauxhall constituency in her “wonderful, old, traditional, original Mini... Some days I would do the journey perhaps two or three times”. Vauxhall to Parliament is a distance of 1.2 miles… Could she not have walked or hopped on the No 87 bus?


Comedian Ross Noble was such a boisterous child his parents used to have to use reins to restrain him. “We went to a friend’s wedding [and] because I was running about so much they tied me to a piano,” Noble tells James O’Brien’s podcast. The reins didn’t work. “I dragged a piano onto the dancefloor.”

Hillary's fears for 'shrinking' Britain

Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t hold back last night when Mary Beard asked her how she thought Britain was changing. “I admire your history, gumption, grit and creativity... but I can’t make sense of what was happening here, and to us as well,” she said at an event to promote her book, Gutsy Women, at the Southbank Centre. She said she was troubled “to see Britain shrink up, turn inward and separate from Europe, especially when we’re all under pressure from dictators and authoritarians”, adding: “We have a president who loves dictators... we need you guys to be the sane member of the partnership going forward.” Talk about the special relationship.​

Fashionitas Kane it in the Square Mile

Fashion fanatics caught a rare glimpse of JK’s Mythical Creatures over the weekend in the form of fashion designer Joshua Kane, who curated an immersive runway experience at the Royal Exchange in the City of London. Guests included model Richard Biedul, singer Sonique and TV presenter Laura Whitmore.

Entrepreneur Jamal Edwards popped up at the event as did the eye-catching duo of scatological nutritionist Gillian McKeith and her daughter, Afton McKeith-Magaziner. McKeith has previously pooh-poohed the idea of dressing down: “If I wore something that made me feel frumpy and fuddy-duddy, I wouldn’t enjoy myself, I wouldn’t be content. I’ve always said to my daughters and to myself, ‘If you’re true to yourself, then you can always find contentment.’”

Away from London, Christmas came early at Bicester Village, which launched its Christmas Experience. Nominative determinism demanded an appearance from Lisa Snowdon, while media personality Donna Air also made it to the occasion.


Gaffe-prone Liz Truss posted a video on Twitter of herself talking to camera while picking out some “custard tarts” with her hands in a Norfolk shop over the weekend. She was soon inundated with messages saying they were Portuguese pastel de nata and she should use the tongs provided. The clip was then deleted. How will she get on with explaining the Brexit deal?​


David Lidington recalls story of a young MP watching the Opposition benches fill and saying to his neighbour: “Ah, I see that the enemy is here in strength.” The senior colleague replied: “Those are your political opponents; your enemies you will find on the benches beside you.”


Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds has found a manifesto with some “strong ideas” — his nine-year-old daughter’s. Bess Reynolds’s plan includes demands for compulsory pockets on dresses, no turning back of the clocks and a woman on the moon. The bar has been set.


Quote of the day: 'I've never read a singly English newspaper during all that time' Ex-Monty Python star Eric Idle reflects on "one of the nicest things" about having lived in California for 25 years.

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