More United, the progressive pressure group founded by Paddy Ashdown and others, is set to back Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Olney in the Richmond Park by-election.
More United has been polling its supporters about whether or not to back her, and they have been voting overwhelmingly in favour of doing so. This will add to the support Sarah Olney has already secured from Greens and the Women’s Equality Party.
As part of the support for her, More United will be encouraging its supporters to go and campaign in person in the last two weeks of the by-election. How many supporters it can mobilise will be an obvious indicator of More United’s potential future impact on British politics.
Perhaps more important will be not so much the numbers as the types of people. Lib Dem members who support More United turning up to help a Liberal Democrat candidate won’t be much of an outcome.
However, judging by support for More United from friends and acquaintances of mine, there is a definite stream of supporters it has secured for whom the ‘well join the Lib Dems’ rejoinder which some Lib Dem members have about the organisation’s existence just doesn’t have any traction. They are people who are a long way away from wanting to join the Liberal Democrats, but do want to see the success of many progressive measures which the Liberal Democrats also support.
If More United can mobilise such people in Richmond Park, then that will be a surer sign that it can indeed make an impact on the direction of British politics.