Disagreements over who is best placed to take Nadine Dorries’s seat could threaten tactical voting strategies at general election

The fierce byelection battle in Mid Bedfordshire is poisoning relations between Labour and the Lib Dems and risks denting informal cooperation to remove the Tory government, senior Labour figures have warned.

An incredibly close three-way battle has emerged in the seat formerly held by Boris Johnson ally Nadine Dorries, who quit after being refused a place on the former prime minister’s peerages list. Labour and the Lib Dems are both convinced they have the better chance of overturning the colossal 24,664-vote majority and pulling off one of the biggest byelection wins in history this week.

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