Labour Target Seats

These are the hundred and twenty five seats with the lowest percentage majorities over the Labour party. This does not necessarily mean they would be the most winnable seats for the Labour in practice, or that they are the seats the Labour party will actually be targetting at the next general election. The Labour party won 232 seats at the last general election, so would need to win another ninety-four seats to secure an overall majority in the House of Commons.

1. Derby North Majority 41 (0.1%)
2. Gower Majority 27 (0.1%)
3. Croydon Central Majority 165 (0.3%)
4. Vale of Clwyd Majority 237 (0.6%)
5. Bury North Majority 378 (0.8%)
6. Morley & Outwood Majority 422 (0.9%)
7. Plymouth Sutton & Devonport Majority 523 (1.1%)
8. Thurrock Majority 536 (1.1%)
9. Brighton, Kemptown Majority 690 (1.5%)
10. Bolton West Majority 801 (1.6%)
11. Telford Majority 730 (1.8%)
12. Weaver Vale Majority 806 (1.8%)
13. Bedford Majority 1097 (2.4%)
14. Plymouth Moor View Majority 1026 (2.4%)
15. Lincoln Majority 1443 (3%)
16. Cardiff North Majority 2137 (4.1%)
17. Peterborough Majority 1925 (4.1%)
18. Sheffield, Hallam Majority 2353 (4.2%)
19. Corby Majority 2412 (4.3%)
20. Waveney Majority 2408 (4.6%)
21. Warrington South Majority 2750 (4.6%)
22. Southampton, Itchen Majority 2316 (5.2%)
23. Keighley Majority 3053 (6.2%)
24. North Warwickshire Majority 2973 (6.3%)
25. Carlisle Majority 2774 (6.5%)
26. East Renfrewshire Majority 3718 (6.6%)
27. Leeds North West Majority 2907 (6.7%)
28. Halesowen & Rowley Regis Majority 3082 (7%)
29. Crewe & Nantwich Majority 3620 (7.3%)
30. Erewash Majority 3584 (7.4%)
31. Hendon Majority 3724 (7.5%)
32. Ipswich Majority 3733 (7.7%)
33. Broxtowe Majority 4287 (8%)
34. Stroud Majority 4866 (8%)
35. Calder Valley Majority 4427 (8.2%)
36. Northampton North Majority 3245 (8.3%)
37. Blackpool North & Cleveleys Majority 3340 (8.4%)
38. Pudsey Majority 4501 (8.8%)
39. Sherwood Majority 4647 (9.1%)
40. Amber Valley Majority 4205 (9.2%)
41. Colne Valley Majority 5378 (9.4%)
42. Hastings & Rye Majority 4796 (9.4%)
43. Bristol North West Majority 4944 (9.5%)
44. Edinburgh North & Leith Majority 5597 (9.6%)
45. Harrow East Majority 4757 (9.7%)
46. High Peak Majority 4894 (9.7%)
47. Stockton South Majority 5046 (9.8%)
48. Northampton South Majority 3793 (9.8%)
49. Norwich North Majority 4463 (10.2%)
50. Stevenage Majority 4955 (10.3%)
51. Enfield, Southgate Majority 4753 (10.4%)
52. Cannock Chase Majority 4923 (10.5%)
53. Morecambe & Lunesdale Majority 4590 (10.6%)
54. Nuneaton Majority 4882 (10.6%)
55. Dudley South Majority 4270 (11.2%)
56. Finchley & Golders Green Majority 5662 (11.2%)
57. South Ribble Majority 5945 (11.3%)
58. Worcester Majority 5646 (11.3%)
59. Rossendale & Darwen Majority 5654 (11.5%)
60. East Lothian Majority 6803 (11.5%)
61. South Swindon Majority 5785 (11.7%)
62. Southport Majority 1322 (3%)*
63. Preseli Pembrokeshire Majority 4969 (12.3%)
64. Paisley & Renfrewshire South Majority 5684 (12.3%)
65. Pendle Majority 5453 (12.3%)
66. Dover Majority 6294 (12.6%)
67. Reading East Majority 6520 (12.9%)
68. Warwick & Leamington Majority 6606 (13%)
69. Scarborough & Whitby Majority 6200 (13%)
70. Aberconwy Majority 3999 (13.3%)
71. Crawley Majority 6526 (13.4%)
72. Vale of Glamorgan Majority 6880 (13.4%)
73. Arfon Majority 3668 (13.6%)
74. Gloucester Majority 7251 (13.7%)
75. Great Yarmouth Majority 6154 (13.8%)
76. Reading West Majority 6650 (13.8%)
77. Carmarthen East & Dinefwr Majority 5599 (14.2%)
78. South Thanet Majority 2812 (5.7%)*
79. Brighton, Pavilion Majority 7967 (14.5%)
80. Chipping Barnet Majority 7656 (14.5%)
81. Stourbridge Majority 6694 (14.5%)
82. Elmet & Rothwell Majority 8490 (14.7%)
83. Milton Keynes South Majority 8672 (14.7%)
84. Aberdeen South Majority 7230 (14.8%)
85. Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire Majority 6054 (15%)
86. Camborne & Redruth Majority 7004 (15.2%)
87. Portsmouth South Majority 5241 (12.5%)*
88. Battersea Majority 7938 (15.6%)
89. Edinburgh South West Majority 8135 (15.8%)
90. Redditch Majority 7054 (16%)
91. Gravesham Majority 8370 (16.7%)
92. Dumfries & Galloway Majority 6514 (11.5%)*
93. Milton Keynes North Majority 9753 (16.9%)
94. Rutherglen & Hamilton West Majority 9975 (17.4%)
95. Cleethorpes Majority 7893 (17.5%)
96. Watford Majority 9794 (17.5%)
97. Loughborough Majority 9183 (17.6%)
98. Ochil & South Perthshire Majority 10168 (17.6%)
99. Clwyd West Majority 6730 (17.7%)
100. Shrewsbury & Atcham Majority 9565 (17.7%)
101. Paisley & Renfrewshire North Majority 9076 (18%)
102. South Basildon & East Thurrock Majority 7691 (16.9%)*
103. Lanark & Hamilton East Majority 10100 (18.3%)
104. Canterbury Majority 9798 (18.4%)
105. Dunfermline & West Fife Majority 10352 (18.6%)
106. Kingswood Majority 9006 (18.7%)
107. Stafford Majority 9177 (18.8%)
108. Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath Majority 9974 (18.8%)
109. Harlow Majority 8350 (18.9%)
110. Shipley Majority 9624 (19%)
111. Chingford & Woodford Green Majority 8386 (19.1%)
112. Edinburgh East Majority 9106 (19.3%)
113. Glasgow Central Majority 7662 (19.4%)
114. Airdrie & Shotts Majority 8779 (19.8%)
115. Carshalton & Wallington Majority 1510 (3.2%)*
116. Filton & Bradley Stoke Majority 9838 (20.1%)
117. Stirling Majority 10480 (20.1%)
118. Midlothian Majority 9859 (20.4%)
119. Basingstoke Majority 11063 (20.9%)
120. Linlithgow & Falkirk East Majority 12934 (21%)
121. Bexleyheath & Crayford Majority 9192 (21.1%)
122. Kensington Majority 7361 (21.2%)
123. Rugby Majority 10345 (21.2%)
124. Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock Majority 11265 (21.5%)
125. Rochford & Southend East Majority 9476 (21.7%)
Comments - 3,595 Responses on “Labour Target seats”
  1. They’d be wasting their time in Thamesmead E in Bexley & I’d say plenty of other wards besides.

  2. What the chuff has UKIPs chances in London got to do with Labour Target seats nationally?

  3. Because this was posted on this thread a while back

    “Labour targets for the 2014 London borough elections:

    and as the euro elections are held on the same day it would surely affect Labour votes in the outer london areas. ( and other parties votes for that matter).

  4. That was me. There are boundary changes in some boroughs such as Tower Hamlets; I don’t know whether anyone will be constructing notional results.

  5. At least 34 Labour selections are scheduled between now and 26th January:

    1. Romford: 21st Nov 2013
    2. Keighley: 23rd Nov 2013
    3. Epsom & Ewell: 27th Nov 2013
    4. Guildford: 27th Nov 2013
    5. Cities of London & Westminster: 30th Nov 2013
    6. Greenwich & Woolwich: 30th Nov 2013
    7. Hexham: 30th Nov 2013
    8. Somerton & Frome: 30th Nov 2013
    9. Truro & Falmouth: 30th Nov 2013
    10.Twickenham: 30th Nov 2013
    11.The Wrekin: 30th Nov 2013
    12.Carshalton & Wallington: 4th Dec 2013
    13.Kensington: 5th Dec 2013
    14.Brent Central: 7th Dec 2013
    15.Dorset North: 7th Dec 2013
    16.Kingswood: 7th Dec 2013
    17.Torbay: 7th Dec 2013
    18.Richmond Park: 8th Dec 2013
    19.Hornchurch & Upminster: 10th Dec 2013
    20.Wiltshire North: 10th Dec 2013
    21.Wiltshire South West: 11th Dec 2013
    22.Devon South West: 12th Dec 2013
    23.Ceredigion: 13th Dec 2013
    24.Coventry North East: 14th Dec 2013
    25.Monmouth: 14th Dec 2013
    26.Taunton Deane: 14th Dec 2013
    27.Wimbledon: 14th Dec 2013
    28.Bexleyheath & Crayford: 15th Dec 2013
    29.New Forest East: 17th Dec 2013
    30.Suffolk Central & Ipswich North: 10th Jan 2014
    31.Cambridgeshire North East: 11th Jan 2014
    32.Uxbridge & South Ruislip: 22nd Jan 2014
    33.Chingford & Woodford Green: 25th Jan 2014
    34.Chipping Barnet: 26th Jan 2014

  6. Interesting thoughts from Labour Uncut.. the party’s retreat from its target list…

  7. Does anybody know when the selection for Bradford West will be made?

  8. Question:-

    How many of Labour’s top 40 targets will they gain? I imagine abt. 80%…at the moment, only Gloucester & Brighton Pavilion look reasonable holds for their incumbent parties. There may be 4-6 others which buck the trend, but I think labour will gain 32 at least of the top 40.

    Of the next forty, I think Labour will gain a quarter…making 42 gains in total. I don’t think labour will lose any seats they won in 2010.

    Does anyone violently dispute this? would love to know. I know people will say it’s too early to tell. but that’s the whole point…we are indulging in an art not a science.

  9. Dundee East I suspect will be held by the SNP…

  10. My feeling is very similar to yours though perhaps you are slightly more optimistic for Labour than me. My guess is Labour on about 290 seats which would be very close to the Tories but most likely they would have most seats by a whisker.

  11. I think Labour may lose Penistone and Stocksbridge, the local results there were pretty dire. I don’t know much beyond that, although I do still expect a majority.

  12. Southampton Itchen is a very tricky one for Labour. They’ll be absolutely fine in neighbouring Test though.

    While I think they’ll hold Great Grimsby, the recent local election results did not make good reading for the party’s long-term trajectory there.

  13. People said the same about Penistone & Stocksbridge in 2010 but the seat was held without serious difficulty (though not convincingly). I think Labour will be OK there. Southampton Itchen is a slight worry now however.

  14. Interesting debate started re. potential labour gains. I think the first 40 on the target list look very vulnerable to labour. some will inevitably buck the trend, but can’t see more than ten or so doing so, if that.

    The next 40 is where, I think the main battles of the election, will be fought. There will be considerable variation in this bracket. I expect seats like Bury North and Cannock Chase to fall easily to Labour, while seats like Worcester and, maybe, Kingswood will be more resilient. Milton Keynes South looks like a solid Tory hold, while Rossendale & Darwen could well fall into the clutches of young Will Straw.

    I think the seats which are 40 to 80 on the labour target will throw the most interesting and surprising results of the night. So i suppose that means I agree with an earlier post that labour will be on abt. 300.

    I think Miliband will be a drag on Labour and they won’t do much better than this- it will be enough to get dave out of no. 10, i suspect.

    Ealing Central, given this year’s council elections, looks more vulnerable to Labour than I would have thought possible last year.

  15. It’s a very likely scenario, and I have to say a thoroughly depressing one for the country.

    Five years of a weak minority Labour government will be utterly disastrous, and I’m guessing that view will probably be shared by many on the left as well as the centre right.

    For the sake of the economy a Labour majority might be better.

  16. I think Cambridge and H&WG look a bit more threatened than before the locals, but even those are not guaranteed Labour gains. They’re the only two seats which require a large-ish swing for which Labour stand a chance of gaining. Possibly Crewe & Nantwich as well but it will be very close and could just as well remain Tory narrowly.

  17. HH,

    I happen to share your view of this outcome and its effects on the country. Unfortunately, this is the most likely outcome I can see now. On a bad night for Labour, I’d say 295 seats. On a decent(ish) night 320 seats.

    The reason for 295 being my lower bound and not something a bit lower, as you suggest earlier, is that the total collapse of the lib dems could see labour gain 12 seats off them. Redcar, Hornsey, Cambridge and Cardiff Central are well out of Labour’s top 80 targets, but I’d put money on labour to win every single one of them, cambridge being the best hope for the liberals.

    If labour get 10 to 12 off the liberals, I can see a pick up of about 25-29 off the tories, which takes them to the 295 mark. [reasoning: 32 of labour’s top 40 targets are Tory held; i can see the tories holding perhaps 3- 7 of these, not more and even if they held 7, some outside the top 40 targets, Bury North, Erewash, Cannock etc. could fall to labour.]

  18. Of their targets in the top 40, the ones I think they’ll struggle with are Gloucester (they are represented locally but nothing like what is needed for a secure win at Parliamentary level), Brighton Pavilion (there’s been a lot of discussion about this but I veer to the side that voters there still like the novelty of a Green MP despite the poorly run council), Pudsey (just a hunch and the fact that the wards aren’t monolithically Labour) and increasingly Waveney (Bob Blizzard was popular but now Labour are being challenged by UKIP who could very well mop up enough Labour votes for an even smaller Tory majority).

    Thurrock should be a gain but not a comfortable one in light of more recent political developments in south Essex. In 2020 things will get much harder for them.

  19. Aside from what has been mentioned already, I do not think Hendon or Broxtowe are nailed on gains, though at this time I would make Labour 60/40 favourites to win them.

    Hendon in particular is an extremely polarised seat and may hardly swing at all. The Tories and Labour were neck and neck there a few weeks ago despite a very good election for Labour in London.

  20. My Prediction for Labour losses – For what it’s worth!

    Dundee West
    Ochil & South Perthshire

    Southampton Itchen

    Labour Misses? Where to begin?
    Plymouth Sutton & Devonport (UKIP voters are more likely to effect labour vote here I think); Bedford; Waveney; Lincoln ; Amber Valley; Vale of Glamorgan

    The list goes on. Essentially, I think there will be some ‘bottom of the line’ seats that Labour won’t gain, and conversely there’ll be seats that on paper look a lot harder (IE Rossendale, Norwich North) that Labour will succeed in. Okay, seats like Thurrock, Cannock Chase etc will be almost certs but there are many seats, like in 1992 that will be close but will just stay Tory.

  21. I don’t think that Labour will lose Dundee W for a start. Having said that, however, I think we need to wait to see the referendum result before we can really get much of a handle on Lab-SNP battles. I agree with those who say Gloucester & Worcester are likely Tory holds but tend to think my party will scrape through in Waveney, Hendon & Stroud, mainly because of sensible choice of candidate in quite difficult terrain. I continue to hold out for a Labour gain in Crewe & Nantwich. After the local elections, I now feel more confident in Croydon Central, but less so in Stourbridge where I am now fairly sure that the Tories will survive. I’m not sure Milton Keynes S is going to be such an easy Tory hold but perhaps on balance incline very slightly towards that. It’s going to come down in some seats to who gets their vote out best, but feel that in the majority of potentially close-run contests Labour will be best equipped to do that. I agree with much of what has been said above by most of you.

  22. let’s be a bit more forensic about this.

    If you include all of the seats that bloggers on this page have suggested, giving the other party the benefit of the doubt, we have as holds:

    Hendon, Broxtowe, Dundee East, Bedford, Amber Valley, Waveney, Lincoln, Stroud, Pudsey & Plymouth Sutton…

    You could add Hastings, Ipswich & Northampton North, for good measure.

    Even if you say ALL of these elude Labour next year, that’s still only 13… leaving 27 Labour gains.

    Now, i happen to think that any one of these seats could be held, but I don’t think for a minute that all the ones I’ve mentioned will simultaneously stave off the red tide. but let’s leave that to one side.

    Let’s say Labour pick 27 from their top 40 targets and pick up nothing else at all. Let’s follow Jim and assume that Labour loses 3-4 seats…that still leaves them on the low 280s within touching distance of being the largest party.

    I actually think this is highly improbable, but i’d suggest that 280 or thereabouts is an absolute floor for Labour. I don’t actually think anyone who has actually thought rationally about this can believe that they will do worse than that.

    the world in which the tories end up being the largest party would involve an outcome such as the one I have just described.

  23. 11 months is a long time.

  24. I hadn’t spotted Amber Valley. I really don’t see the Tories having much chance of holding that. Some people might point to the fact that Labour hasn’t gained control of the borough council until this year, but that is in no way coterminous with the parliamentary seat which is much more Labour than the borough. Why Lincoln is a likely Tory hold isn’t apparent either, nor Hastings nor Ipswich – in none of these cases is there much evidence above a hunch that the Tories will be able to contain the swing to the level needed to hold on. Possibly the others have a slightly more coherent argument, though I find Plymouth Sutton & Devonport a very unlikely Tory hold too.

  25. With a fair amount of local knowledge I believe that Amber Valley is a very likely Labour gain, and indeed have said so numerous times on here. I haven’t seen a contrary opinion to mine on here from anyone serious (though I may have missed it).

    As Barnaby says, the Tories have held up quite well in the west and south west of the borough; almost all of those wards are in Mid Derbyshire or West Derbyshire. The wards forming Amber Valley constituency have seen pretty good Labour results and given the small majority and collapse of the formerly strong BNP, I would put a Labour regain at something like an 80% probability currently.

  26. Agreed on Amber Valley. Labour would’ve probably held it in 2010 were it not for the sizeable BNP vote. This was despite a less than popular incbumbent. The boundaries of the current seat would have been won by Labour even if it was contested in 1992. Creating Mid Derbyshire with the most favourable Tory wards (although Labour has some strength in Belper in good years for them) of Amber Valley borough helped Labour out immensely. The question is how big the UKIP vote will be though.

    Nearby Erewash looks a bit more like a Labour gain after the current MP announced her intention to stand down. But there is still a fair amount of strong Tory wards on current boundaries so no guarantee. South Derbyshire is a no-hoper though.

  27. Yes Erewash is more polarised than Amber Valley, though some of its best Tory areas were also moved into Mid Derbyshire. I’d judge that Erewash’s strongly Labour areas are generally more deprived than those in Amber Valley, certainly Ilkeston is not a nice place and never has been. The anti-smoking documentary we were talking about on here last week was partly shot in Cotmanhay, part of Ilkeston, where 50% of adults smoke.

  28. Some of the LD vote will highly likely move across to the Conservatives (aswell as to Labour) in a General Election.
    This makes these many of these marginal (but not all of them) hard to predict.

    The UKIP vote will be lower aswell.

  29. 11 months is a long time, but not that long.

    I only put those names out there to try and create a base case for labour. In reality, apart from Gloucester, Dundee East and Brighton Pavilion, I don’t see many other holds among the top 40.

    The point is that even if the Tories beat Labour in the popular vote by 3 points, most of these seats will labour gains anyway.

  30. The Ashcroft polling aside, has there been any serious analysis of the marginals. For example, has there been a study of the composition of local councils in marginal seats, the extent to which the lib dem council base has been eroded in key tory/labour marginals. How the council seats have changed over the course of this parliament.

    Perhaps Rallings and Thrasher have done this stuff. I am amazed at how little people use council elections in this country as a projections. Of course only a minority of people vote, but we swear by polls in which an even tinier number of people are polled. Americans like Nate Silver use mid-term elections a lot more and then extrapolate and model general election outcomes.

    This stuff is all directly relevant to the outcome of 2015, but there seems to be very little publicly available information short of actually going through each council on a one by one basis.

  31. Andy JS has produced an aggregate vote for a number of key marginals (and indeed non-marginals of interest) which voted on May 22.

  32. think Jp’s point is a bit more subtle than that.

    I’d think showing numbers of councillors is more instructive than Andy JS’s pure numbers, since the councillor numbers gives a snapshot of local ground strength. We don’t have mass member parties, so each councillor, plus their families and friends, is potentially quite a powerful piece in the ground war.

    Analysis also implies a model which tries to capture, using past observations, the relation between local council elections and subsequent general elections.

    I remember an older cousin telling me years ago that he thought the tories would win the ’70 election easily because the ’68 locals had been so horrific for labour. This was clearly not something that people really studied at the time, but in 2014 one would expect a little bit more statistical sophistication.

  33. I apologise for being somewhat obsessive about these labour targets, but this is where the election will be fought and won. Nothing else really matters, in a sense..

    Here are some odds- LAB to win- paddy power have:

    1-10 targets

    N Warwickshire 1/5
    Thurrock 1/3
    Hendon 2/9
    Cardiff North 1/7
    Sherwood 1/6
    Norwich South 1/10
    Stockton South 1/3
    Broxtowe 2/7
    Lancaster & Fleetwood 1/7
    Bradford East 1/8


    Amber Valley 2/5
    Waveney 2/9
    Wolverhampton SW 1/3
    Morecambe & Lunesdale 1/3
    Carlisle 1/4
    Stroud 1/2
    Weaver Vale 2/7
    Brighton Pavilion 4/5
    Plymouth Sutton & Devonport 1/3


    Dewsbury 2/7
    Warrington South 2/9
    Brent Central 2/9
    Bedford 4/9
    Brighton Kemptown 4/9
    Pudsey 2/7
    Corby (labour held as ’12) 2/9
    Brentford & Isleworth 2/7
    Hove 1/4
    Enfield North 1/4


    Hastings & Rye 4/11
    Manchester Withington 1/16 (!)
    Burnley 1/12
    Ipswich 1/2
    Dundee East 7/4
    East Dunbartonshire 8/15
    Halesowen & Rowley Regis 2/5
    Nuneaton 2/5
    Gloucester 8/13
    Northampton North 8/11

    It will be observed that most (35) of these seats labour are at odds of 1/2 or shorter.

    No doubt someone will say 11 months is a long time and bookies get their fingers burned etc. etc. but the message from these odds is quite depressing reading for anyone who hopes cameron will be residing with his charming family at no 10 in a year’s time.

    I suspect ladbrokes will tell a similar story. labour are odds on to win most of their top 60 targets, it would appear at this stage.

    As has been observed many times, the constituency betting is far more bullish on a labour largest party scenario than the general election betting, in which Paddy Power has labour 4/5 to win most seats. this latter bet looks very attractive, simply looking at the company’s own odds on individual seats

  34. Labour 2/7 on to win Brentford & Isleworth?

    Speaking as someone who thinks Mary Macleod has a near evens chance of holding that seat, those odds look very tempting.

    (In case anyone believes the bookies have a clue what they’re talking about it should be remembered that in the run-up to the last General Election they were giving the Lib Dems better odds than Labour of winning B&I. That turned out to be way of beam (and those of us who were on the ground knew it).

  35. 2/7 might be a bit mean, but odds-on is perfectly justifiable. And those of us on the ground know it.

  36. I’d predict a 35% Vote Share for Lab and 12 gains off the Lib Dems and 40 off the Tories which would put Labour on 310. (There’s about half a dozen of the top 40 off the Tories I can see Labour failing to win, such as Waveney and Gloucester but they are broadly cancelled out by half a dozen further up the chain I can see them winning such as Cannock and Rossendale).

    Assuming the other parties win 30 seats ( 18 in N.Ireland, 7 SNP, 3 P.C. Caroline Lucas in Brighton and Nigel Farage in Thanet South ) plus the Speaker means the total LabLibCon ( to use that ugly phrase beloved of UKIP supporters ) would be 619, so 310 for Labour would be just enough to outvote the combined Tory/Lib Dem total of 309 and Miliband should be able to govern alone – but admittedly having to keep a wary eye on the minor parties now and again.

    The precise makeup of the Tory/Lib Dem total is harder to predict – until May 22nd I was predicting the Libs to hold on to most of their seats vulnerable to the Tories but since their meltdown then and even worse aftermath, I’m not so sure.

  37. Returning to Brentford & Isleworth above, I have now seen some analysis of the local election results in all the Labour target seats where there were elections last month. One small but interesting point is a comparison between the above seat & Enflield N. That seat has been given up as a certain loss to Labour by almost all pundits, even those who are generally optimistic from a Tory point of view, and conversely those who are pessimistic from a Labour one (wonder who I could be thinking about there!). Yet in the local elections Labour outpolled the Tories by 11% in Enfield N, but by 12% in Brentford & Isleworth. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s a very tough call for the Tories to overturn such a lead with less than a year to go despite their continuing supremacy in Chiswick.

  38. Paul,

    your calculation is very sensible. I tend to work backwards re. seats:

    there are 650 seats. typically 30 of them are Northern Irish + Speaker + various nationalist parties + other odds and pieces.

    that leaves 620 seats to be divied up by the 3 “main” parties….

    Assuming the lib dems get 30-40 seats, this leaves 580 (620-40) to 590 (620 -30) seats for the Conservative and Labour parties to share, as it were.

    580 and 590 are key numbers because they give us a clue as to how many seats you need to be the largest party.

    (580/2) +1 = 291
    (590/2) +1 = 296

    This is roughly what you need to be the largest party …at least 291 seats. In a lib dem meltdown scenario, you’ll need nearer 300 (296)…i can’t see the yellows dipping below 30.

    Your estimate of labour’s seat total is a bit higher than mine. I see the reds on more than 300 (no losses, 10+ gains off lib dems and about 32+ from the Tories), but not by much.

    As for Brentford & Isleworth, after the lib dem collapse, I can’t see the tories clinging on there, frankly. Barnaby is right, labour did even better in hounslow council particularly in the wards in this seat than they did in Enfield.

    Ladbrokes got most of their predictions, seat wise, correct. they only got burned on 1, i think. dunno abt. paddy power.

  39. I can’t remember which bookies it was but they certainly got burned in B&I last time. True, they were correct in putting the Tories odds-on favourites (although they over-egged the pudding by giving them fantastically good odds, if memory serves) but the fact that they gave Andrew Dakers a better chance than Ann Keen is just ridiculous.

    There’s a saying: you’re entitled to your own opinions but you’re not entitled to your own facts: and the fact is that Ann Keen polled over 18,000 votes against 12,700 for Andrew Dakers. It wasn’t even close.

    Regarding Paul A’s remark, on what basis are Labour going to get 35% of the vote nationally next May? The average of the polls on the front page is only giving us 35% even now and there’s no way we’ll hold on to that as the election nears. To pretend Labour can is to ignore just about every example of what historical precedent tells us about opposition performance in the last 11 months of a parliament.

    That, in turn, will have a bearing on what happens in B&I because every seat in the country is affected to a greater or lesser extent by the (lack of a) national swing.

  40. I agree to an extent, but cannot really imagine holding B + I. It would have been very close without Keen last time (although we probably would have shaded it).

    I think 2/7 is about right. Its not impossible, but if we win here, we will be pretty close to an overall majority.

  41. Robin Hood,

    Oppositions often gain support in campaigns…the experience of 1992 has so dominated the discourse largely because it’s the one election that journalists aged between 45 and 60 remember vividly….

    On the more general prediction point, Labour are certainly not experiencing a comfortable lead. There are grave doubts, let’s face it, about the labour leader. but they have the boundaries and have been consistently ahead of the Tories for more than 3 years now.

  42. In 2010, was the swing different in Labour marginal seats depending on whehter the candidate was local or whether he or she came from London? Admittedly things then may have been different then because sitting Labour MPs were trying to hang nto seats whereas next time Labour are hoping to win seats in orde to gain a majority.

  43. I’m surprised at the strength of the consensus that the Conservatives will hold Gloucester. They have a less than 5% majority over Labour, with the Lib Dems on 19%. I think that the big mistake people are making is to underestimate the extent of the Lib Dem collapse, and its impact on these kind of marginals. People may well point to local election results but they’re a very different beast from a general election, both in terms of turnout (and the type of electorate who turn out) and tactically.

  44. Labour did awfully in Gloucester this year, there were no changes at all on the council, Labour even failing to gain quite easy wards such as Podsmead. I was shocked at the scale of Labour failure here.
    It’s true that the Tories always do better in the locals here, but much of the LD local vote, in places like Barton & Tredworth, has now gone Labour even in the locals, so they cannot rely on this.
    Labour will do much better in Stroud, especially with David Drew restanding.

  45. Can only say it’s a rare local council by-election which doesn’t show a swing to Labour. The reason – people believe a Labour government will make them better off.

  46. Agree about Stroud being a better prospect than Gloucester. Not only is the majority/swing needed lower but there are other factors in play. Like Lancaster & Fleetwood, there is enough Lib Dem and Green support for tactical voting.

    The council is likely to remain NOC for a while as there is strong Tory in the district, which balances out representation of the three non-Tory parties.

  47. Actually, the LD’s only councillors in Stroud district are in Cotswold constituency (Wotton-Under-Edge, Kingswood). We are unlikely to get any lower than the council elections, as in an area with such weak organisation most people who previously voted LD locally and Lab nationally are now already backing Labour.
    However, Drew has a strong personal vote among Green voters in Stroud town, and Labour gained Nailsworth this year, as the Green vote collapsed in their favour (normally a Grn-Con marginal).

  48. Iain,

    Do you think that Labour can squeeze the LD/Green vote in Stroud any more than it did in 2010?

  49. Greens unlikely, but LDs definitely. Post-coalition, the LDs have collapsed in traditional strongholds like Cam, Dursley and Rodborough. With resources being targeted elsewhere, both Labour and the Tories will benefit from the collapse – but disproportionately Labour.

  50. We Greens will also benefit from Lib Dem vote falls in Stroud (where we have had strength for a long time), and also in all of Bristol in 2015 🙂

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