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General election: Voting for the Lib Dems will get you Brexit, Labour tells remain voters

Labour is telling voters in key marginal seats that switching to the Liberal Democrats will end up causing Brexit, in a bid to encourage tactical voting against the Tories.

Jeremy Corbyn‘s party is pushing a series of targeted adverts on Facebook carrying the message of variations of it, amid a row in Westminster about the best way to maximise opposition to Boris Johnson.

It comes after criticism of tactical voting websites for recommending voters back the Lib Dems in tight Labour–Tory races. Labour supporters on social media claimed that the the advice might hand the seats to Tories by splitting the Remain vote and make Brexit more likely. 

One advert pushed out to around a quarter of a million people’s Facebook feeds says: “A vote for the Lib Dems gets you Brexit. Labour will give the people the Final Say. It’s time for real change.”

The advert was disproportionately targeted at millennial voters aged 25-34, but was also show to large numbers of 35-44 year olds and some 18-24 year olds. It ran in English, Scottish and Welsh consistencies. 

Other similar adverts targeting potential Lib Dem votes warned “The Lib Dems can’t win here. Vote Labour for the final say on Brexit. It’s time for real change” and “Only Labour can stop Boris Johnson’s disastrous Brexit deal.”

The Liberal Democrats have made Brexit the focus on their election campaign, after having done well off the back of the issue in the European Parliament electinos that took place in May.

Facebook is turning into a key battleground between the Lib Dems and Labour, with the parties both spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on ads with the social network over the last year. 

The Lib Dems have outspent Labour since October 2018 on the platform, ploughing £394,943 into targeted adverts since that date. Labour has meanwhile spent £280,201, according to Facebook’s own public figures.

The Labour advert was shown to hundreds of thousands of voters (Facebook)

Liberal Democrat adverts aimed at Jeremy Corbyn and his party bear a simple message, usually featuring a picture of the Labour leader with a claim such as “Jeremy Corbyn is a Brexiteers at heart” or simply “Jeremy Corbyn is pro Brexit”.

The party also claimed in adverts pushed out last week that the “Liberal Democrat are surging” and “rising in the polls” – though in fact the party’s has actually fallen away since the start of the election campaign compared to previous months. 

Labour’s policy on Brexit is to hold a second referendum between Remain and a new, softer Brexit deal within the first six months of taking office. The Liberal Democrats say they would revoke Article 50 if they won a majority government but insist on a referendum in coalition negotiations. However, the party has also emphatically said it would not do a deal with Mr Corbyn’s under any circumstances.  

The Liberal Democrats, Green Party, and Plaid Cymru on Thursday unveiled a plan not to stand against each other in 44 seats across England and Wales, dubbing the pact a “remain alliance”.

The three parties were however criticised on social media because many of the seats targeted were held by prominent remain-supporting Labour MPs, such as Exeter’s Ben Bradshaw and Bristol West’s Thangam Debbonaire.

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