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 - 616 Responses on “Conservative Targets”
  1. though i think labour will limp home, c. 295 -300 seats, there is a potential for them to sink even lower.

    the labour inability to inspire the anti-coaltion vote is extraordinary. I think 2015 was a sitter of an election to win. I think if the lib dem/con coalition continues, UKIP and the Greens could well constitute a more articulate opposition to that 2015-2020 government than labour….things very uncertain.

    labour, i hate to say to it, are performing very badly.

  2. Agree with that last comment from PC.

    just want to my prediction of seats above is based on this ‘system’ I have whereby I have collated information/opiions from 4 different sources. So it’s not my opinion really – I actually think as PC hints at, a LAB decline and a small ‘swingback’ to CON (plus a little incumbency values,) resulting in approx equal seats or slightly more CON seats (so maybe some thing like – 292 CON; 286 LAB: We could easily see a tie of course (33/1 with the bookies). These figures assume SNP get around 18 seats.

    John Curtice was just on Vine on R2, talking about the Greens in possible Coalition (with LAB). This was also discussed at length with Natalie Bennett by Emily Maitlis on Newsnight. Does this mean that these people are assuming GREEN get 5-6 seats?

    What I don’t understand is – the Greens are unlikely to have more than one seat. Why is it their chances of having a seat in the Cabinet be viewed and discussed in such a way that implies they are likely to get multiple seats – or are the commentators and pundits assuming it’s likely that Ms Lucas will be invited in by LAB in any scenario (if she holds her seat?)

  3. agreed, deepthroat, there are lots of media people who are paid too much with too little to do…the greens as a coalition partner is fanciful and will remain so under first past the post.

  4. Even if the Greens got 5 or 6 seats, that is too little to make them a viable coalition partner. At best they could turn a minority Labour government into one with a majority of <10, which is hardly worth it for Labour considering they would have to make policy concessions.

  5. I think if the Greens won just Brighton Pavillion then Caroline Lucas would reason she would have greater influence in opposition than in coalition. She seems to have used her outsider status as a soapbox over the last five years – recent news reminded me of when she wore that “no to page 3” t-shirt in a Parliamentary session. I doubt she could get away with that sort of thing if she were a member of a governing party.

  6. Didn’t the Greens say that they’d be open to a confidence and supply agreement, rather than an actual coalition? Given that the most likely outcome is a hold in Brighton Pavilion and no further gains, neither is going to be a major game changer. If Labour win most seats but are short of a majority, the question is how they’ll negotiate with the Lib Dems and the SNP.

  7. i have to say the election is getting more gripping by the day…

    if labour don’t get into govt., the party will rip itself into bits with dan hodges and the blairites saying “i told you so” and the actual lefties complaining about losing their core support to the Greens, the SNP and some to UKIP…it will be a bloodbath, get out the popcorn…

    another stint in opposition will finish labour.

  8. Hodges has left the party but your point is true enough. Finish might be too strong, set the party back many years is extremely likely.

  9. Being in a shaky government would hurt them even more in my view when they realise they can’t implement half the policies they pledge.

    At least in opposition they can choose a more electable leader.

  10. Neil,

    I agree. I think the reds needed a decent win in 2015 to hold their coalition together. I think a slender election win with a weak centre-left government could finish labour as well.

    I thought the tories had weakened themselves by allowing ukip to outflank them but labour’s ability to hold their left of centre team together threatens to be just as bad.

    I think they will ditch Mili in a heartbeat if the tories get back in.

  11. ‘I think the reds needed a decent win in 2015 to hold their coalition together. I think a slender election win with a weak centre-left government could finish labour as well.’

    Since 1979 – almost 40 years ago – there hasn’t been a government that has been voted out of office after a mere term, therefore if Labour buck the trend in 2015, I think it’s a good result – especially considering that your friends in the tabloid press will waste no time reminding voters that it was under the last Labour government that the country was dragged into what we were told was the worst recession since the 1930s

    ‘I thought the tories had weakened themselves by allowing ukip to outflank them’

    The Tories have weakened themselves by playing UKIP’s game – and playing it badly

    Rather than stand up to UKIP and call them what they are – as strong and credible centre-right leaders like Merkel have done, Cameron insincerely attempts to ape them, and plays right into their hands, which is just another example of his inability to lead his party

    Of course Labour will ditch Miliband if the Tories get back in – it’s the way it goes – but they would have done themselves a huge favour had they never elected him in the first place

  12. Tim Jones
    Since 1979 – almost 40 years ago – there hasn’t been a government that has been voted out of office after a mere term, therefore if Labour buck the trend in 2015, I think it’s a good result – especially considering that your friends in the tabloid press will waste no time reminding voters that it was under the last Labour government that the country was dragged into what we were told was the worst recession since the 1930s

    Of course we disagree…i think cameron and miliband are b-list party leaders who didn’t have the political skills to win a majority in the uk…the public sees that.

    the “trend” you describe was “bucked” in 2010 when the tories failed to win an outright majority, leaving the first hung parliament since 1974. In 1979 the next election after that hung parliament, the Conservatives gained a solid majority. It was perfectly possible for labour to do the same in 2015. Mili’s singular weakness as a leader has prevented that.

    being a keen historian, you

  13. ‘Since 1979 … there hasn’t been a government that has been voted out of office after a mere term, therefore if Labour buck the trend in 2015, I think it’s a good result’

    After the 2010 election Labour were the only major UK-wide opposition to a government implementing pretty huge spending cuts, some unpopular tax rises, massive (and usually controversial) public sector reform. If they couldn’t make anything out of that…

    But they’ve apparently lost support to three other parties. The SNP threatens them in Scotland, UKIP threatens them in some of their English WWC areas, and the Greens seem to be eating into potential bohemian / liberal intelligentsia support.

    All three of the major established parties are in a pretty uncomfortable position.

  14. John D,

    I can’t agree with you more. I still think labour will limp into office, but Mili was the worst possible leader for them in these circumstances and i think he may well be about to lose a sitter of an election for labour to win.

    As you hint, the consequences to labour of another 5 years in opposition, with the SNP taking lumps out of them in Scotland, UKIP pressing them in the North and the Greens picking up soft left islington-type support, doesn’t bear thinking about, if you’re a labour activist.

    There will also be a fight between the remaining blairites- the few that are left- and the union-backed mccluskey wing of the party….whatever happens, it all promises to be entertaining.

  15. But Labour got kicked out in 2010 chiefly because voters didn’t trust them to run the economy any more. And it’s not as if they didn’t know what they were letting themselves in for as Cameron made reducing the budget deficit the cornerstone of his campaign

    Voters seemed to accept that the economy was screwed and drastic measures were needed to put it right

    Of course lots of people demonstrated against the cuts – but they would have done under any Labour government too

    Therefore I don’t agree that Labour was always favourites to win an outright majority in 2015 as typically after a heavy defeat (29% of the vote) after years in government parties tend to dessert the centre ground and turn on themselves as Labour did after 1979 and the Tories did after 1997

    Whilst you’re right that Labour has bucked this trend by appearing fairly united, i don’t its realistic to expect them to have walked back into government – not under Ed Milliband

  16. “Voters seemed to accept that the economy was screwed and drastic measures were needed to put it right”

    I don’t accept that at all.

    (hence “I’ll cut the deficit not the NHS”)

    Even fewer people agree that “drastic measures” are still needed so long after the recession officially ended.

    Had the recession not happened, Cameron would have won 40% of the vote and a comfortable majority.

  17. agree with miliband being the weak link. but they only need a 2.5% C to labour swing to be the largest party, if they fail to get this after 5 years, they haven’t really made the case very well, especially when you consider the lib dem collapse…when was the last time an opposition needed such a small swing to get into office …1997.

    with 258 seats, I don’t think 2010 was a heavy defeat in parliamentary terms.

  18. you are absolutely right, HH…it was fears about the public spending reductions that held up the labour vote in key marginals such as hammersmith. I was campaigning for the tories there, labour scare mongered effectively about the tories slashing benefits etc.

  19. Ladbrokes have odds on every constituency in Britain… This forecast (based on) if the current favourite in every seat were to win.

    296 Labour
    273 Conservatives
    31 Lib Dems 22 SNP
    5 UKIP -ThanetS/Thurrock/Clacton/BostonS/GY
    3 PC 1 Green

  20. Actually a very good forecast. The bookies obviously keep an eye on this from a top down perspective. I think the Tories may do better than that but, like Peter, that Labour will narrowly have most seats.

  21. “with 258 seats, I don’t think 2010 was a heavy defeat in parliamentary terms.”

    In that respect, yes it wasn’t an outright bloodbath in overall seat share. On the other hand their vote share just below 30% was terrible. Even the Conservatives in 1997 managed 30%, despite obviously being obliterated in seat numbers. I’m guessing they held onto more seats than predicted due to a couple factors. Lower turnouts on average in safe Labour seats compared to safe Tory ones; and the number of Labour seats becoming more marginal hence reduced greatly majorities from 2005.

  22. Interesting to note with those figures that, taking out the speaker and six Sinn Fein MPs if they get that many (who knows – Northern Ireland is weird), Labour could control a majority of 1 without the Lib Dems, should they find Nick Clegg too Tory for their tastes, by stringing along the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Caroline Lucas.

    And on another thread earlier today people were laughing at the Greens’ power in negotiations post-election.

  23. Lol, not even on another thread – it was on this thread 🙂

  24. Neil – very true. I think many forget that Blair in 2005 only managed 36%.

  25. I made a forecast about 6 months ago which was Lab 300, Con 270, LD 30. I didn’t predict so many SNP seats since this was before their surge.

  26. Thinks is Ladbrokes ‘prediction’ using the line they use to create evens chances on seat totals: e.g CON 282.5

    CON…283
    LAB….282
    LD……..29
    SNP…..29
    PC………4
    UKIP…..3
    GRN. ….1

  27. Seats changing hands: Iain Dale
    http://www.lbc.co.uk/iain-dales-2015-election-predictions-final-analysis-103602

    These are the seat’s where I DISAGREE WITH IAIN DALE:

    Iain‘ s prediction:
    Enfield North Con-Lab
    Halesowen & Rowley Regis Con-Lab
    Hampstead & Kilbur Lab-Con
    Harrow E. Con-Lab
    Heywood & Middleton Lab-UKIP
    Ipswich Con – Lab
    Morecambe & Lunes Con-Lab
    North Warwickshire Con-Lab
    Northampton North Con-Lab
    Nuneaton Con-Lab
    Pudsey Con-Lab
    Stevenage Con-Lab
    Stroud Con-Lab
    Thanet South Con-UKIP
    Warrington South Con-Lab
    Watford Con-Lab

    Especially Stevenage. I wonder about the thinking behind believing CON will gain in Hampstead & Kilburn but lose in Enfield North.

  28. His overall seat numbers for each party aren’t too bad, but I think 301 is actually pushing it for Labour (at this moment in time), and the Lib Dems are a bit too low in my view.

    The Conservatives certainly won’t gain Hampstead and some of the blue gains off the LDs look unlikely (Carshalton & Wallington, Eastleigh, Hazel Grove and Southport in particular).

    I also don’t currently think Labour will gain Harrow East or Pudsey. I’m not sure about Goucester, Chester or Milton Keynes South (though some of these doubts are probably wishful thinking).

  29. Watford is way too complicated to call. Labour aren’t out of the woods seeing as how the Lib Dems will still be fighting it out.

  30. Further to Hampstead I think 4 other Conservative prospects are Eastleigh, Portsmouth South, Southampton Itchen and Southampton Test. If the Conservatives gain these 4 seats Hampshire would be completely Conservative. The Conservatives need to gain all these seats except Test to have a majority but Test would contribution to a practical working majority.

  31. Eastleigh must surely be a pretty strong bet for a Lib Dems
    hold. If the Conservatives had been organised in the seat, then the by election was theirs for the taking, given Hune’s record. But the Conservatives have almost no councillors in the seat, so clearly not the base of a realistic contender. UKIP won several county council seats in 2013, but failed to make any headway in the 2014 district elections. Without lots of national targeting by the other parties, this looks good for the Lib Dems.

    The other Hampshire seats could be better for the Conservatives, but Test requires a bigger swing.

    They also need to make sure they hold on to Winchester where the Lib Dems are still viable.

  32. Dalek, I would love to see the Tories waste resources on Eastleigh at the expense of Winchester or Romsey…. the word Sisyphean was invented for the task the Tories have in Eastleigh..

  33. The leaked “Not the Target Seat” List:

    http://www.markpack.org.uk/129046/conservative-non-target-seats/

  34. “Dalek, I would love to see the Tories waste resources on Eastleigh at the expense of Winchester or Romsey”.

    Why would they be worried about Winchester or Romsey?

  35. I was interested that Rochester and Strood was on this list but Clacton was not. Surely Clacton is hopeless and Rocheser regainable?

    Argyll and Bute is perhaps on of the most winnable seats (or least unwinnable) in Scotland for the Tories and so to is West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine. I would regard these as longshot seats (the latter being significantly so).

    I assume that if these two constituencies are not being targeted the Scottish Tories don’t expect to win any seats apart from retaining DCT as the only other constituency that is remotely winnable is Berwickshire.

    I’m very cynical about the notion of target seats if the basis is the distance where activists from hopeless seats are expected to travel.

    In 2001 the Scottish Tories targeted Ayr, Eastwood (East Renfrewshire) and Edinburgh Pentlands.

    In 2005 following major boundary changes (and the collapse of East Renfrewshire) the Scottish Tories targeted Angus, Dumfries & Galloway, Dumfriesshire Clydesdale & Tweeddale and Perth & Kinross.

    Most Scottish Tories live within very safe Labour seats in Central Scotland and Tories in Glasgow and the West of Scotland find in easier to travel to East Renfrewshire than to the North East or Southern Scotland. Tories in safe Labour seats in Edinburgh and the Lothians would still prefer to help out in Edinburgh S, Edinburgh SW or Edinburgh W than travel to the North East or Southern Scotland.

    Logistically, it may make sense to expect activists in Central Scotland to travel to parts of Scotland where there are constituencies that are more winnable but people are prepared to travel 10 to 20 miles (though they would prefer the constituency next door) but not 100 to 150 miles.

  36. @Dalek

    If you believe what’s posted here Labour are having to get Unite to bring in canvassers from Sheffield to campaign in Norwich South, a place where not many years ago the local party had over 1000 members.That suggests that campaigners are thin on the ground in all parties.By the way how many paid up Tories under 60 do you think there are in Scotland? I would lay heavy odds there are nearly as many Celtic supporters in Norwich.

  37. Assuming that this list is genuine, the inclusion of Cannock Chase and Dudley South are both astonishing. A sharp increase in UKIPs vote is a complicating factor in both seat but surely the Conservatives cannot afford to just let these marginals fall without a fight.

    Given the comments on the Aberdeenshire West seat on here, its inclusion is also surprising.

    And I note Cambridge is included. Interesting – in expectation of Huppert squeezing the Conservative vote?

  38. “Labour are having to get Unite to bring in canvassers from Sheffield to campaign in Norwich South, a place where not many years ago the local party had over 1000 members.That suggests that campaigners are thin on the ground in all parties.”

    People going to target seats to campaign doesn’t mean those seats are struggling for members, it’s just handy to have as many helpers as possible. Consequently, some unions and socialist societies like the Fabians do organise campaign sessions for Labour-aligned members in various places.

  39. I doubt how much good it will do any party bringing in supporters from over a hundred miles away to canvas, although leafleting may be a different matter.

    I can see few of the 75 seats on this for which the Tories might not have reasonable hopes, from their point of view. But they, like Labour, must aim to have several hundred members in each seat they hope to win. If they haven’t got such memberships by now, they have slipped up badly.

  40. Abandoning Cannock and Dudley South does seem like an admission of defeat….there are strong internal reasons why Dudley South has been abandoned; the party there is in chaos as i understand and 2 councillors have defected to labour recently.

    Abandoning Cannock is more inexplicable to me. The Tories will struggle to get to 280 on this basis.

  41. Interesting that Rochester is included( maybe they think it will be a simple gain or was the list made before his defection) but not Clacton
    Also Boston and Skegness is included. Does that mean they think it’s safe or more likely have given up and will allow a 22 year old for UKIP walk to victory.

  42. As for Boston, I think the latter…the ukip guy is a local candidate, whereas the Tory is from London.

    Hunter-Clarke or whatever his name is, is odds on to win Boston for UKIP. an extraordinary result.

  43. ‘Hunter-Clarke or whatever his name is, is odds on to win Boston for UKIP. an extraordinary result.’

    I think I would be more surprised if UKIP didn’t win Boston & Skegness given the Tories have almost handed it to them in a plate by picking a complete outsider with no local connections

    Like their Labour counterparts, the Tories still tend to undervalue local connections, and on the few occasions they do go local they end up with no-hoper candidates like Kelly Tolhurst and Maria Hutchings

  44. I’m with you on the last point. Kelly Tolhurst would be more at home having a slanging match with Peggy Mitchell on the set of EastEnders than in the house of commons.

    There was a very telling clip on BBC South East local news during the by-election, with David Cameron doing a walkabout with Tolhurst. She was prattling in his ear and he was trying to look interested, while his face had an expression which looked like “who the fuck is this complete idiot”. From that moment forward I knew she would lose and will almost certainly do so again.

  45. I was also astonished to see Cannock and Dudley South on the list but the spin being put on this on MAY2015 is that the Tories are so confident of retaining these seats they are not bothering to campaign!

    Not sure if the commentator was being entirely serious – for all their faults, one thing the Tories are not is utterly stupid!

  46. ‘She was prattling in his ear and he was trying to look interested, while his face had an expression which looked like “who the fuck is this complete idiot”. From that moment forward I knew she would lose and will almost certainly do so again.’

    He had the same look on his face during the Eastleigh by-election when on a walk-about with Maria Hutchings,

    Cannock was a shock win in 2010 – and I think it’s probably one of the most difficult seats for the Tories to defend – bar Enfield North maybe

    In Dudley South they won a pretty impressive majority despite a strong showing for UKIP

  47. Believe me, Cannock is not in the bag for the tories. they were 3rd behind ukip and labour in the ashcroft poll which i know isn’t the be all and end all but at least suggests it’s a hard fought marginal…

    the council election results have been a horror story in dudley, and ukip is strong there.

    I have a feeling, which I have had for a while, that the tory press is hyping the tories no end, partly because they genuinely can’t believe Ed Miliband can be PM. History tells us that utterly implausible candidates have been elected to all kinds of offices.

    Another reason is sheer terror at the prospect of Mili being the PM. This fear I happen to share. There ‘s a human instinct to say that what you most fear will happen simply can’t happen.

    I heard from a mate canvassing in Croydon Central that Barwell is in deep sh*t down there, apparently gay marriage was still being cited by some of the Christian and ethnic communities down there as a block to voting conservative. that may be depressing for some, but it’s believable.

  48. Not many “centre ground” voters in Croydon Central. A mixture of right-wing middle class suburban Tories, WWC white van types and an increasingly very large ethnic vote. Though I’m personally quite sympathetic with Barwell’s politics I think a Rhodes Boyson type of candidate would do much better for the Tories there.

  49. that’s what i hear…the white van man tory types aren’t psyched about dave. the ethnic voters who were historically labour, but like social conservatives, were unimpressed by same sex marriage. My mate who had been a tory councillor was told by a Ghanaian pastor in the constituency that he, the Ghanaian pastor, was a social conservative and was interested in the conservatives but, after the gay marriage vote, he said he would stick with labour.

    Cameroonianism is not going to help Barwell win there. the white right wing suburbanites in Croydon sound like Bromley or Orpington types…pretty right wing on social issues too.

  50. The Bromley and Orpington types are posher, so tend to have less earthy opinions.

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