Conservative Target Seats

These are the seventy-five seats with the lowest percentage majorities over the Conservative party. This does not necessarily mean they would be the most winnable seats for the Conservatives in practice, or that they are the seats the Conservative party will actually be targetting at the next general election.

1. City of Chester Majority 93 (0.1%)
2. Ealing Central & Acton Majority 274 (0.5%)
3. Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk Majority 328 (0.6%)
4. Brentford & Isleworth Majority 465 (0.9%)
5. Wirral West Majority 417 (0.9%)
6. Halifax Majority 428 (1%)
7. Ilford North Majority 589 (1.2%)
8. Newcastle-under-Lyme Majority 650 (1.5%)
9. Barrow & Furness Majority 795 (1.8%)
10. Wolverhampton South West Majority 801 (2%)
11. Hampstead & Kilburn Majority 1138 (2.1%)
12. Enfield North Majority 1086 (2.3%)
13. Hove Majority 1236 (2.4%)
14. Dewsbury Majority 1451 (2.7%)
15. Southport Majority 1322 (3%)
16. Lancaster & Fleetwood Majority 1265 (3.1%)
17. Carshalton & Wallington Majority 1510 (3.2%)
18. North East Derbyshire Majority 1883 (3.9%)
19. Harrow West Majority 2208 (4.8%)
20. Bridgend Majority 1927 (4.9%)
21. Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland Majority 2268 (4.9%)
22. Westminster North Majority 1977 (5%)
23. Walsall North Majority 1937 (5.2%)
24. Tooting Majority 2842 (5.3%)
25. Wrexham Majority 1831 (5.6%)
26. Birmingham, Northfield Majority 2509 (5.9%)
27. Wakefield Majority 2613 (6.1%)
28. Gedling Majority 2986 (6.2%)
29. Eltham Majority 2693 (6.2%)
30. Birmingham, Edgbaston Majority 2706 (6.5%)
31. Copeland Majority 2564 (6.5%)
32. Stoke-on-Trent South Majority 2539 (6.5%)
33. Clwyd South Majority 2402 (6.8%)
34. Coventry South Majority 3188 (7.3%)
35. Clacton Majority 3437 (7.7%)
36. Darlington Majority 3158 (7.7%)
37. Delyn Majority 2930 (7.8%)
38. Blackpool South Majority 2585 (8%)
39. Alyn & Deeside Majority 3343 (8.1%)
40. North Norfolk Majority 4043 (8.2%)
41. Scunthorpe Majority 3134 (8.5%)
42. Bristol East Majority 3980 (8.6%)
43. Newport West Majority 3510 (8.7%)
44. Southampton, Test Majority 3810 (8.8%)
45. Chorley Majority 4530 (8.8%)
46. Bishop Auckland Majority 3508 (8.9%)
47. Ynys Mon Majority 229 (0.6%)*
48. Coventry North West Majority 4509 (10%)
49. Bolton North East Majority 4377 (10.2%)
50. Hyndburn Majority 4400 (10.2%)
51. Bury South Majority 4922 (10.5%)
52. Dudley North Majority 4181 (11%)
53. Wirral South Majority 4599 (11%)
54. Mansfield Majority 5315 (11.2%)
55. Dumfries & Galloway Majority 6514 (11.5%)
56. Batley & Spen Majority 6057 (12%)
57. Workington Majority 4686 (12.2%)
58. Stoke-on-Trent North Majority 4836 (12.5%)
59. Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine Majority 7033 (12.8%)
60. Exeter Majority 7183 (13.3%)
61. Newport East Majority 4705 (13.4%)
62. Great Grimsby Majority 4540 (13.5%)
63. Ellesmere Port & Neston Majority 6275 (13.5%)
64. Oldham East & Saddleworth Majority 6002 (13.5%)
65. Luton South Majority 5711 (13.5%)
66. Hammersmith Majority 6518 (13.6%)
67. Bristol South Majority 7128 (14.1%)
68. York Central Majority 6716 (14.1%)
69. Worsley & Eccles South Majority 5946 (14.1%)
70. Penistone & Stocksbridge Majority 6723 (14.3%)
71. Walsall South Majority 6007 (14.4%)
72. Hartlepool Majority 3024 (7.6%)*
73. Birmingham, Erdington Majority 5129 (14.8%)
74. Leeds North East Majority 7250 (15%)
75. Slough Majority 7336 (15.2%)
Comments - 626 Responses on “Conservative Targets”
  1. If any of the Tories’ gains (from Labour, I’m not counting SNP) were outside the top 75 targets on this list, then my post below is nonsense!

    The highest on the list that they actually achieved against Labour was no. 18 (N-E Derbyshire), and the spectacular miss below that was no 8 (Newcastle-under-Lyme), which had the right demographics but they failed to gain in spite of achieving 48% of the vote! (needless to say, unheard of in recent elections).

    The lowest of the list that they achieved was Mansfield at no 54, though had they pulled it off in Penistone & Stockbridge (no 70) or Ashfield (not even in Top 75), where they came very close, these would have been the lowest down the target list by some way.

    With hindsight, and a closer look at this list, they needed that big lead (eg 12-15% say, though obviously not that much in all cases), to both:

    A. Get the ones lower down the list (especially / including below no 75, where a lot in the North come into play) where the demographics were better for this Brexit / working-class election; and

    B. Get the ones lower down the target list where the demographics were not so favourable although the swing required was less.

    This is, of course, quite a lazy oversimplification I admit as both parts of the list were a mixture of all types of seat to some extent.

  2. Does anyone know when the last time in a Westminster election that a losing candidate polled higher than the 48.1% managed by the Tory in Newcastle-under-Lyme?

    I’m guessing maybe the Bobby Sands by-election? There were only two candidates, and the Ulster Unionist lost on 48.8%. That was in 1981.

  3. There must be good few in the prior to the early sixties – lots of seats had just two candidates.

    I’ve come across one –

    Bolton East GE1951
    Conservative gain
    P. Bell….CON 27,106 50.33%
    A. Booth LAB 26,751 49.67%

  4. And an even closer one…poor Mr Evans must’ve been pretty p***ed off!

    Birmingham Yardley GE1970
    DM Coombs CON 21,827 50.14%
    IL Evans……. LAB 21,707 49.86%
    Electorate: 62,463;
    Turnout: 69.70%;
    Majority: 120 (0.28%)

  5. Ioan Evans got a much safer seat, Aberdare, in 1974 & died 10 years later, causing the Cynon Valley by-election won by Labour’s Ann Clwyd, who is of course still there.

  6. I believe that 48.93% is the record % of a losing candidate, where more than 2 candidates stood:

    HALIFAX GE1970
    S Summerskill LAB 24,026 49.33%
    GA Turner……..CON 23,828 48.93%
    A Graham……..ILP … 847.. 1.74%
    Electorate: 66,253
    Turnout: 73.51% Maj: 198 (0.41%)

  7. & I suppose nothing can be more annoying than getting 50% and still losing!! (Only 2 candidates):

    BRIGHTON KEMPTOWN GE1964
    Dennis Hobden LAB 22,308 50.0%
    David James…..CON 22,301 50.0%
    Majority..7 (Seven) (0.0%)
    Turnout 44,609 (72.2%)

  8. And before the mathematicians butt in – it cant be 50%….it’s actually 49.992…%

  9. I wonder why Con and Lab don’t conspire to massively increase deposits (say to £100k per seat), and raise the threshold for losing it, so as to return to the days of many seats having only two candidates?

    I guess because they may feel they sometimes benefit from third party votes

  10. I think proposing to raising it to anything approaching or over £5k would have little chance of getting through Parliament surely.

    A £10,000 deposit is required to contest the London mayor.

    The electoral commission has actually suggested deposits be scrapped: !!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30790012

    But it was 2.5 yrs ago..may have altered their views.

  11. HH
    “I wonder why Con and Lab don’t conspire to massively increase deposits (say to £100k per seat), and raise the threshold for losing it, so as to return to the days of many seats having only two candidates?”

    Both parties would have their own reasons for opposing it.
    Many in Lab would rightly see it as something of an affront to democracy and grotesquely unfair on smaller parties whom I imagine Lab have a tiny bit of sympathy for (remember once upon a time Lab was the insurgent minor party)

    The Tories probably (correctly) feel that if any small party were to not be put off by such a ludicrously high deposit it would probably be some nutty libertarian right party bankrolled by a multi millionaire like Goldsmith’s Referendum party in 97 which would overwhelmingly hurt the Tories if it made it onto the ballot.

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