Labour Defence List

These are the hundred current Labour seats with the lowest majority in order of their percentage majority. This does not necessarily mean that the top of the list will would be the most vulnerable Labour seats in practice, nor that they are the seats the Labour party will be putting the most effort into defending.

1. City of Chester Majority 93 (0.1%)
2. Ealing Central & Acton Majority 274 (0.5%)
3. Ynys Mon Majority 229 (0.6%)
4. Brentford & Isleworth Majority 465 (0.9%)
5. Wirral West Majority 417 (0.9%)
6. Halifax Majority 428 (1%)
7. Cambridge Majority 599 (1.1%)
8. Ilford North Majority 589 (1.2%)
9. Newcastle-under-Lyme Majority 650 (1.5%)
10. Barrow & Furness Majority 795 (1.8%)
11. Wolverhampton South West Majority 801 (2%)
12. Hampstead & Kilburn Majority 1138 (2.1%)
13. Enfield North Majority 1086 (2.3%)
14. Hove Majority 1236 (2.4%)
15. Dewsbury Majority 1451 (2.7%)
16. Lancaster & Fleetwood Majority 1265 (3.1%)
17. North East Derbyshire Majority 1883 (3.9%)
18. Harrow West Majority 2208 (4.8%)
19. Bridgend Majority 1927 (4.9%)
20. Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland Majority 2268 (4.9%)
21. Westminster North Majority 1977 (5%)
22. Walsall North Majority 1937 (5.2%)
23. Edinburgh South Majority 2637 (5.3%)
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. Stoke-on-Trent South Majority 2539 (6.5%)
31. Copeland Majority 2564 (6.5%)
32. Birmingham, Edgbaston Majority 2706 (6.5%)
33. Clwyd South Majority 2402 (6.8%)
34. Coventry South Majority 3188 (7.3%)
35. Hartlepool Majority 3024 (7.6%)
36. Darlington Majority 3158 (7.7%)
37. Delyn Majority 2930 (7.8%)
38. Blackpool South Majority 2585 (8%)
39. Burnley Majority 3244 (8.1%)
40. Alyn & Deeside Majority 3343 (8.1%)
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. Bermondsey & Old Southwark Majority 4489 (8.8%)
47. Bishop Auckland Majority 3508 (8.9%)
48. Bristol West Majority 5673 (8.9%)
49. Coventry North West Majority 4509 (10%)
50. Hyndburn Majority 4400 (10.2%)
51. Bolton North East Majority 4377 (10.2%)
52. Bury South Majority 4922 (10.5%)
53. Heywood & Middleton Majority 5299 (10.9%)
54. Dudley North Majority 4181 (11%)
55. Wirral South Majority 4599 (11%)
56. Mansfield Majority 5315 (11.2%)
57. Dagenham & Rainham Majority 4980 (11.6%)
58. Batley & Spen Majority 6057 (12%)
59. Workington Majority 4686 (12.2%)
60. Stoke-on-Trent North Majority 4836 (12.5%)
61. Cardiff Central Majority 4981 (12.9%)
62. Exeter Majority 7183 (13.3%)
63. Newport East Majority 4705 (13.4%)
64. Great Grimsby Majority 4540 (13.5%)
65. Oldham East & Saddleworth Majority 6002 (13.5%)
66. Ellesmere Port & Neston Majority 6275 (13.5%)
67. Luton South Majority 5711 (13.5%)
68. Hammersmith Majority 6518 (13.6%)
69. Bristol South Majority 7128 (14.1%)
70. York Central Majority 6716 (14.1%)
71. Worsley & Eccles South Majority 5946 (14.1%)
72. Penistone & Stocksbridge Majority 6723 (14.3%)
73. Walsall South Majority 6007 (14.4%)
74. Birmingham, Erdington Majority 5129 (14.8%)
75. Leeds North East Majority 7250 (15%)
76. Slough Majority 7336 (15.2%)
77. Tynemouth Majority 8240 (15.4%)
78. Rother Valley Majority 7297 (15.5%)
79. Cardiff West Majority 6789 (15.5%)
80. Norwich South Majority 7654 (15.8%)
81. Nottingham South Majority 6936 (15.9%)
82. Cardiff South & Penarth Majority 7453 (16%)
83. Birmingham, Yardley Majority 6595 (16%)
84. Wolverhampton North East Majority 5495 (16.2%)
85. Stalybridge & Hyde Majority 6686 (16.3%)
86. Stoke-on-Trent Central Majority 5179 (16.6%)
87. Lancashire West Majority 8360 (16.9%)
88. Bradford South Majority 6450 (17.1%)
89. Bradford East Majority 7084 (17.1%)
90. Sedgefield Majority 6843 (17.7%)
91. Bassetlaw Majority 8843 (17.9%)
92. Huddersfield Majority 7345 (18.1%)
93. Llanelli Majority 7095 (18.3%)
94. Ashfield Majority 8820 (18.6%)
95. Birmingham, Selly Oak Majority 8447 (18.7%)
96. Hornsey & Wood Green Majority 11058 (19.1%)
97. Warrington North Majority 8923 (19.6%)
98. Swansea West Majority 7036 (20%)
99. Brent North Majority 10834 (20.8%)
100. Leicester West Majority 7203 (20.9%)
Comments - 461 Responses on “Labour Defence”
  1. How credible do you think those reports are?

    If resignations happen en masse, it could seriously weaken Labour by making it a decidedly more Corbynite party on the whole.

  2. By all accounts there are “up to 12” Lab MP’s considering it and the only clues we have are that all are supposedly very anti Corbyn, all ambitious backbenchers and all relatively young. That’s quite the wide pool that covers every shade of Lab seat from equally bad seats for Lab to defend (like Woodcock in Barrow) to seats Lab would win if they put up a reincarnation of Leon Trotsky (like Creasy in Walthamstow)

  3. Mr Pitt
    “If resignations happen en masse, it could seriously weaken Labour by making it a decidedly more Corbynite party on the whole”

    Many would argue that would make the Lab party stronger by giving the leadership a bigger talent pool to work with and uniting the PLP behind JC. Ultimately when such issues largely come down to opinion its best to just not make proclamations either way since its partisan.

  4. Am I the only one who has been thinking for a long time it’s only a matter of time until John Woodcock resigns his seat in Barrow and Furness?

  5. The Results
    Yes and No. Woodcock is certainly so ant Corbyn that he just doesn’t fit in todays Lab party but unlike Reed (who was at least local with some past pre parliament career experience) Woodcock is a talentless SPAD parachute who knows nothing besides parliament.
    Having been parachuted into a reasonably safe seat and almost lost it he’s essentially proven his uselessness. If he jumps from the gravy train he knows he’ll almost certainly never get back on it and when his whole career has revolved around it I just don’t think he’ll have the guts to jump unless he is even more right wing than I think he is and just can’t stand to be in Corbyn’s Lab party any longer.

    Honestly I think there is a greater chance he’ll defect, perhaps even to the Tories.

  6. Is John Woodcock biding his time and hoping that he can hang on Michael Forsyth style to Barrow and Furness in 2020 against the national trend? I know he’s the antithesis of everything Corbyn stands for and maybe more but given he has the Trident issue constantly following him around wherever he goes, irregardless of his possible strong support locally given his pro-nuclear stance, is that going to be enough to save him from possible electoral defeat given the impression his constituents will be getting from the national Labour Party in London?

  7. Another thing is look at Woodcock’s result in 2015- it really does stand out when you put into context with the other results in Cumbria in particular. There were clear local factors at work here for the obvious reasons I’ve already mentioned…

  8. Yep, local factor being Woodcock is useless, the Lab party under Milliband was committed to Trident and the issue barely if ever came up, the unions threw their weight behind Lab, the local election results held on the same day were exceedingly average for Lab etc. Woodcock’s result can only be an indictment on him personally especially considering he had first time incumbency in 2015 which should have helped him.

  9. I agree about the incumbency factor but I also have a feeling ever so slightly that he had a comparatively strong result here in 2010 so perhaps this was ‘corrected’ somewhat as well? So a combination perhaps of Trident, Woodcock’s reputation locally or lack of personal vote, a correction of the 2010 result and Miliband not being popular here either?

  10. There is always multiple factors and ultimately we can never know for certain but looking at each issue individually.

    Trident=Shouldn’t have been an issue, Lab made it clear they supported it and it surely would have effected them in the locals as well and it didn’t.

    Milliband=Obviously a factor but the result in Barrow was noticeably worse than even demographically similar seats so the blame cant lie squarely with him.

    Reversion from a strong 2010 result=Maybe but bare in mind Labs majority did fall in 2010 so it wasn’t that good a result and the 42% Lab managed in 2015 was the lowest share its ever held the seat on.

    To me this all points to Woodcock being the main liability here.

  11. That’s all fair enough I suppose but my only other point would be that Woodcock actually notionally increased the Labour vote share by 2.9% in 2010. I think that in itself is significant retrospectively.

  12. I don’t think Clegg is going to stand down, at least until the next general and maybe not even then. His new job as Euro spokesman seems to have given him a completely renewed energy. He’s like a new man.

  13. He’s not the same Nick Clegg anymore no I agree- he’s reinvented himself for the better, perhaps not unlike how the late Charles Kennedy did for a long time after he was no longer leader?

  14. For whatever reason the Lib Dem vote took a very big hit in Barrow in 2010 (who knows why) which facilitated Labs vote rise, what’s important to note is the Tories rose more and thus Labs majority was down.

  15. There were boundary changes in 2010 which I think from memory brought in the Ulverston wards previously in Westmorland and Lonsdale. Is it just possible some Lib Dems previously voted for Farron but switched to Woodcock now they were in another seat?

  16. But that area has the most Lib Dem strength of anywhere in the present seat, surely the Lib vote would have went up rather than down had such changes took place?

  17. You would have thought but I’m not sure that looks to have necessarily been the case.

  18. Well, the Lib Dem voters tactically switched to Woodcock I think.

  19. That’s what I thought. It’s hard to draw any other conclusion given the surpringsly high 7.9% decrease the Lib Dems suffered in 2010.

  20. Yes, I’d agree.

  21. Any thoughts on what might happen to Woodock in 2020?

  22. Aren’t the CLPs in this area fairly rightist? He might get reselected. But he might stand down then or before, too.

  23. John Woodcock may actually decide to simply serve out his second term until 2020 and perhaps not risk trying to defend his seat then?

  24. Would he stand as an Independent or defect to the Tories?

  25. This could run and run potentially I think. Into the New Year I think Woodcock is going to be continuing to carefully consider his options as I’m sure he’s a very intelligent bloke, and whether he’d be taking a big risk to get a fresh mandate from his constituents under new colours whatever they’d potentially be- i think if you were mad enough you’d consider it, but somehow given his background and whatnot I don’t think he’ll do it and he will probably either stand down honourably in 2020 or choose to instead fight a no-holes barred campaign flat-out nonstop around the clock to try and hold on to B&F against all the odds…

  26. That’s one reason why I’m not fully convinced he’ll stay here right through to 2020- if Jamie Reed gets a good offer, who indeed is to say that Woodcock won’t do as well in the next three years?

  27. That’s just it- he may decide to take the plunge instead of risk being kicked out, which is in fact most likely the most sensible course of action Woodcock could take- resigning your seat to leave Parliament altogether instead of merely fighting it again at the byelection for whoever is surely more shrewd and intelligent a move to make. Even Woodcock deciding to go before the Parliament is out would rule out him running the risk of losing B&F to the Tories having campaigned to the point of exhaustion. My only other possible thought is that he could resign his seat but fight again as Labour on the issue of Corbyn’s leadership and his policy on Trident?

  28. I think if Jess Phillips stands down the Lib Dems would do an absolute jig. They’d be sure to gain Birmingham Yardley in a by-election — but they probably won’t regain it in a general.

  29. It may be that one candidate will win just over 30% but that doesn’t mean it will be a three way marginal.

  30. UKIP will fall back. I think the LDs have a good shot at getting third. No way it’s a three-way marginal. C’mon, people.

  31. Funnily enough in my own early prediction here I’ve got Lib Dems down to come third and UKIP fourth with a vote share down on 2015, rightly or wrongly.

  32. How many do you think Labour will lose of these seats?

  33. I’m reckoning on about forty at the moment. Or maybe a few more – 40 seats the Conservatives plus a few odds and ends (Cambridge, Bermondsey, Ynys Mon)

    Safest seat to go – might be Great Grimsby. The margin in 2010 was actually very narrow, but they fell a lot further back in 2015, and I’m guessing that’s largely because Conservatives tactically lent their support to Labour to smother a UKIP threat that turned out to be a bit overhyped. There’ll be a decent unwind there.

    Similar situation in Penistone & Stockbridge. There’s an outside chance there too.

  34. Of all the predictions on this website UKIP to gain 6 or 7 seats. has to be the most outlandish.

    They’re polling around 10% – & falling – and there’s lots of evidence that many UKIPPERS are switching (mostly to the Tories ).

    My thinking is zero seats and around just 7% vote share

  35. Alex

    Maybe – but now UKIP know where their vote surged in 2015 they will target much more effectively. It’s quite conceivable that they could fall to the vote share levels of Lib Dems’ 2015 vote, i.e. lose 1/3 or so of their votes overall, and still walk away with a couple of gains.

    The likelihood of this happening, however, depends on having strong candidates in the right places – and at least 1/2 a decent ground game in the small no of seats they target.

    This election is in many ways at the worst time for them (Brexit has been voted for, and negotiations with EU not really begun, so no compromises to scream betrayal about) – although at least 2015 Lab supporters can vote for them safe in the knowledge that Labour aren’t likely to go into government with or without their vote.

  36. I just want to pick up on a point which Alex F has made on the Lib Dem target page today but is probably best discussed here:

    “In fact the data suggests there be many more LAB GE2015 abstaining than CON GE2015.”

    Our old favourite differential turnout. After the Copeland by-election I made some observations on that page about Labour voters going AWOL. It got mixed reviews (but it would be a dull site if we all thought the same!). But I intend to raise the issue again. Many traditional Labour voters will still baulk at voting Conservative – or UKIP. Many however, if the campaign goes poorly, may just decide not to bother voting at all and that could be really damaging to Labour’s hopes of defending its current seats.

  37. Alex F: “Of all the predictions on this website UKIP to gain 6 or 7 seats. has to be the most outlandish.”

    This from a man who suggested that John McDonnell’s seat (majority 15,700) is in danger.

  38. I wonder what Labour’s strategy for this election is going to be. The classic marginals like Nuneaton are not in play this time around so Labour would be rather foolish to squander too many resources on them (except to remain at least a token presence for future campaigns). I read a comment somewhere that Labour strategists basically think that most seats with majorities below ~5,000 are lost and are instead going to throw everything at saving the 5,000-10,000 majority seats while sending Corbyn off to seats like Nuneaton (which Labour won’t win anyway) where he will do the least damage. Don’t know how accurate it is but a minimise your losses strategy is probably the smartest road to go down…

    I note also that Theresa May launched the Tory campaign in Bolton North East (majority 4,377) which implies that the Tories at least think they’ve got a decent shot at winning it (perhaps a very good shot). Cameron launched his campaign in Chippenham which (as we later found out) was part of the Tories extremely successful, scorched earth strategy against the Lib Dems in the West Country.

  39. Alex F – whilst I tend to agree with you, both can be true of course.

    The LDs won 8 seats with just 7% of the vote in 2015.

    Though without Farage and Carswell standing I can’t see UKIP winning any in June 2017.

  40. “I wonder what Labour’s strategy for this election is going to be.”

    IMO their best approach would be to defend every seat they hold as vigorously as possible and allow their 2015 vote in Con/LD marginals to collapse to the Lib Dems.

    If they can minimise net losses to the Tories to 20 seats and the Lib Dems manage to get back up to 30 odd seats, allowing for a few Con gains in Scotland that would leave May with an almost unchanged majority of 20 or so.

    Not a likely scenario at all given the polls right now but IMO that’s probably Labour’s best case. One advantage they have is the surge in membership post 2015 enabling them to harden up their ground game, whilst the Tories will hardly be able to send in battle buses or engage in wilful overspending to cover up their shivelled up local organisations this time.

    The widespread expectation of a Tory landslide could also lead to many Tory voters not bothering to vote, assuming victory is in the bag, and removes the potent scare tactic of Labour potentially winning which was so effective in 2015.

    By calling a “who governs Britain” early election as she has, May has set the bar very high for her own performance, unless she increases her majority markedly it will be seen very much as a failure and/or a humiliation. If her majority was only 20 or 30 I wonder if it would be survivable for her.

  41. You are correct Hemmelig. Labour could retain some 200 seats. If they managed this it would be an ideal situation- Corbyn would have to go and the furniture would still there be. I am not looking forward to a third lab leadership election in two years btw.

  42. H Hemmelig- 20 or 30 wouldn’t be ideal but I’d be reasonably sanguine as the era of crushing majorities may well be over. As it happens, I think she’ll manage 70- Labour will get an absolute pummeling in small town England but may well cling on to enough urban seats to avoid a landslide.

  43. That kind of majority would be my most likely forecast as well, at this point in time, something roughly equivalent to Labour’s 2005 victory.

    I don’t think we’ll see a three figure majority.

  44. H Hemmelig- agreed- the country is arguably too fragmented now for landslide results.

  45. I also wonder whether fundraising might emerge as a wider constraint on the Tory campaign. In general, big business is upset about Brexit and very anxious to avoid hard Brexit. Thus the usual large Tory donations from big blue chip corporations may well conspicuously dry up this time, and may even start to flow in the Lib Dem direction. The Tories will become more reliant on individual rich Eurosceptic donors and hedge funds.

  46. I think people are underestimating the chances of Corbyn not resigning following the defeat, to be honest.

    I think the narrative could work like this:

    Corbyn loses, and him and his supporters in Momentum immediately begin to argue that the loss wasn’t the result of Corbyn, but rather of the Blairite cabal, so it’s not his fault, and in fact that it would have been worse without him.

    It’s utter bogus, of course, and the PLP won’t buy it, but even if they force another leadership election, can they beat him if his supporters stay loyal? No.

  47. “I think people are underestimating the chances of Corbyn not resigning following the defeat, to be honest.”

    It’s an irrelevance in terms of who wins the election, hence not something occupying the minds of election geeks at the moment.

    Nevertheless I think you’re wrong. The Labour party isn’t some kind of Zanu-PF where an ageing dictator can remain in place no matter what. If Corbyn gets pummelled in the general election he’ll be gone. Even in the unlikely event that enough of his “supporters stay loyal”, the unions have openly said they’ll pull the plug sooner or later if he doesn’t deliver the goods and that will sink him.

  48. That’s a fair point. It depends on the narratives around the election. But, given the discussion of situations where “the furniture would still there be,” it seemed relevant.

  49. I’m not sure I agree much furniture would still be there even if they keep 200 seats, Labour would still be in a very grim place with little obvious talent to replace the current leader.

  50. Also a fair point. I was quoting from above, not saying I myself supported that view. I think they’d find a leader better than Corbyn, though.

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