Liberal Democrat Target Seats

These are the fifty seats with the lowest percentage majorities over the Liberal Democrat party. This does not necessarily mean they would be the most winnable seats for the Lib Dems in practice, or that they are the seats the Lib Dems party will actually be targetting at the next general election - on current polls, it is likely they will be putting more effort into defending seats than gaining them.

1. Camborne & Redruth Majority 66 (0%)
2. Oldham East & Saddleworth Majority 103 (0%)
3. Oxford West & Abingdon Majority 176 (0%)
4. Sheffield Central Majority 165 (0%)
5. Ashfield Majority 192 (0%)
6. Edinburgh South Majority 316 (1%)
7. Truro & Falmouth Majority 435 (1%)
8. Newton Abbot Majority 523 (1%)
9. Chesterfield Majority 549 (1%)
10. Swansea West Majority 504 (1%)
11. Hampstead & Kilburn Majority 42 (0%)*
12. Kingston-upon-Hull North Majority 641 (2%)
13. Rochdale Majority 889 (2%)
14. Harrogate & Knaresborough Majority 1039 (2%)
15. Watford Majority 1425 (3%)
16. Montgomeryshire Majority 1184 (4%)
17. Edinburgh North & Leith Majority 1724 (4%)
18. St Albans Majority 2305 (4%)
19. Newport East Majority 1650 (5%)
20. Derby North Majority 613 (1%)*
21. Weston-Super-Mare Majority 2691 (5%)
22. Hereford & South Herefordshire Majority 2481 (5%)
23. West Devon and Torridge Majority 2957 (5%)
24. Winchester Majority 3048 (5%)
25. Northampton North Majority 1936 (5%)
26. South East Cornwall Majority 3220 (6%)
27. Bristol North West Majority 3274 (7%)
28. City of Durham Majority 3067 (7%)
29. West Dorset Majority 3923 (7%)
30. Richmond Park Majority 4091 (7%)
31. York Outer Majority 3688 (7%)
32. Streatham Majority 3259 (7%)
33. Pontypridd Majority 2785 (8%)
34. Newcastle upon Tyne North Majority 3414 (8%)
35. Aberdeen South Majority 3506 (8%)
36. Islington South & Finsbury Majority 3569 (8%)
37. Warrington South Majority 1553 (3%)*
38. Birmingham, Hall Green Majority 3799 (8%)
39. Romsey & Southampton North Majority 4156 (8%)
40. Colne Valley Majority 4837 (9%)
41. Oxford East Majority 4581 (9%)
42. Bosworth Majority 5032 (9%)
43. Chelmsford Majority 5110 (9%)
44. Plymouth Sutton & Devonport Majority 1149 (3%)*
45. Bristol South Majority 4734 (10%)
46. Great Grimsby Majority 714 (2%)*
47. Totnes Majority 4927 (10%)
48. South East Cambridgeshire Majority 5946 (10%)
49. Ealing Central & Acton Majority 3716 (8%)*
50. Wrexham Majority 3658 (11%)

*Liberal Democrats currently in third place

Comments - 180 Responses on “Lib Dem Targets”
  1. Antiochian’s post reads like a script from Citizen Smith. The scope for “potential dominance building” is about as high for the Lib Dems today as it was for the Tooting Popular Front. In the real world it is touch and go whether the Lib Dems can remain a significant. And relevant force in British politics. The rump of the remaining party must recognise this if it is to have the slightest hope of standing still, let alone beginning to recover.

  2. I can’t say I personally see the likeness between the Lib Dem activists and the Viet Cong, but maybe that’s just me.

  3. H. Hemellig I totally agree, personally I think the Lib Dems won’t be as relevant in the next ten years. The next sets of locals will determine how they go. The only councils in London I will confidently say they will hold seats are Kingston and Sutton and it may not be very many seats in the former. They can no longer be the protest vote party. Places like Southwark North were only Lib Dem voting because of the local MP who is now gone so where is campaigning machine someone unknown is not going to convince the undecided to vote Lib Dem.

  4. More seriously, there are seats that are gone – Bermondsey, Redcar, probably most of the rural Scottish seats, and others that they may well recover in just by not being in Government and the potential for people to be fed up with the Tories by 2020.

  5. The Labour Party’s membership has surged too but no-one is suggesting that optimism can possibly be justified at the moment. My own constituency has gone up from 520 to 600 in a fortnight. That doesn’t mean that a socialist revolution is coming to Richmond-upon-Thames.

  6. The Lib Dems are nothing if not wildly opimistic although I think that like so many others in this site (and you wouldn’t know it listening to them now), Antiochian’s predictions were so off base when it came to what happened to his party a couple of weeks back, I find his current wildly optimistic scenario little more than wishful thinking

    Whilst it pains me to say it, as a Liberal Democrat sympathiser, I have to agree with Hemelig in that the Lib Dems main struggle in the immediate futire is to stay in the game alltogether

    As Antochion says, I’m sure some the candidates who unseated Lib Dem MPs in 2015, will turn out to be poor representatives – and this might work to benefit of the Lib Dems especially if the government is very unpopular by 2020 – but even Tory and Labour local associations vet candidates quite assidiusly nowadays so its quite unlikely that anyone that bad would have got the nod for being a candidate in the first place

    Having said that there are quite a few MPs elected in 2010 who have been all but invisible during the last parliament, yet many were comfortably re-elected a couple of weeks back, and mosat voters base their ballots on which national party they support rather than the individial candidate standing

  7. I didn’t say anything about what the actual performance will be.. I am just talking about the mood..

    I would concur with Simon.. depends how fed up voters will be with the Tories by 2020..

    Meanwhile I suspect the worst in local government is past and the seat count will start going up again..

    And in response to Barnaby’s comment I have highlighted the strong growth in Labour joiners to Libdems who were crowing about their own rebound.. I have only seen the Labour rebound mentioned once in the papers I frequent..

  8. Only time will tell, I can’t see where the Libs will make gains. i think they will hold wards like St Helier, Wandle Valley and Sutton Central in Sutton and Tolworth and Hook Rise in Kingston. Places like Southwark and Haringey they will lose their remaining seats to Labour and possibly the Greens. They don’t have the high profile MPs to gather up votes in the locals. They can’t call themselves a protest party like they used to.

  9. I completely agree with H Hemmelig and Tim Jones.

  10. I would not be surprised if the stupid LibDem mouthing of the Mansion Tax also did us no good in the southwest London seats.. even people with houses below the threshold lived in hope that houses would reach those ridiculous levels where they would be swept up..

    The real problem is that the highest band(s) of houses are paying no more than they paid in the 1980s..

  11. There needs to be some measure enacted to prohibit excessive house price rises.

  12. The Statute of Labourers, perhaps?

  13. people don’t understand the stupidity of introducing new taxes in a GE campaign. It’s all very well talking about ‘Mansion taxes’, but let’s say that we had a government, which borrowed 140 billion and then there was another global recession….if there was then to be a subsequent shortfall in revenue then once a new Mansion tax is introduced, then who is to say that the threshold would not be reduced to houses valued at £500K or less.

    The principle of Mansion tax is that if you work, save for a deposit, live frugally, perhaps sell and buy a bigger house, then you are potentially liable for a new tax….it’s bad enough having your house seized to pay for your elderly care, such that you can’t leave it to your children, without having to live under the threat of a mansion tax…what is so annoying is that the proponents of the mansion tax all live in houses more valuable than the average person earning £60K per annum in the UK – it is another ‘anti aspiration’ element of the Labour campaign.

  14. By the way, having a ‘Liberal Democrats Target Seats’ section turned out to be the biggest waste of time ever known to the human race – !!!

  15. It was good for a laugh at times

  16. My own view is a mix of those above – yes, it’s true that the Lib Dems will have to fight to stay in the race, but they do appear to be, at least where I am, surprisingly fired up about that fight. I think the speed and scale of Tory civil liberties attacks are a gift to them in roping in potential members as well.

    The crucial question is direction though, and whether we can get into a better and more distinctive position that actually gives core liberals a reason to vote for us. The big risk, I think, is if it turns out the new membership surge is in large part pro-Clegg voters aghast at seeing his coalition policies rejected. That could keep the party in its nebulous “centrist” position where it becomes the perfect political punching bag. I don’t think it actually is mostly those people, and arguably of course I’d say that, as someone fairly to the left. But where the party goes will be pretty crucial.

    It will be a good twenty year job to try and rebuild the party. Some areas will need to be abandoned, and I do think we may need to take a more demographics-first approach to finding seats we can link up and appeal to with higher liberal core votes. It’s going to be a long way back though. Even holding on to these new members will be tough – here in Cambridge, nearly 200 new members have appeared, mostly wanting to take a crack at the Tories over the HRA, but what the local party need is people willing to boot-plod against Labour in the Romsey county council by-election. It’s a mismatch that I think will make it harder to keep that surge in membership going.

  17. James.. I would agree… indeed the surge is slowing down to a trickle.. Growth now will be by accretion with Theresa May being our recruiting officer!

    Next phase though will be hardline anti-Cleggites, many of whom are activists, who will wait until Farron is in before trusting that the scene is ripe for their reappearance.. Their nightmare is rejoining just to find Lamb on the throne..

  18. I would expect the majority of re-joiners/new-recruits are probably of the Red Liberal variety, but there will be some who feel the coalition worked in curbing Tory excesses and Clegg was hard done by. Would agree the more extreme the policies pursued by the current government, the more new members the Lib Dems will accrue.

    On Antiochian’s point about the leadership, in one aspect at least, I am sympathetic to Lamb. He is the closest to a Eurosceptic in the party and rightly points out that the LDs should highlight and campaign against the illiberal policies within the European Parliament, the same way as they do with the national and devolved government. Politically, I feel closer to Farron, but do have some concerns as to whether his religious beliefs will be an issue.

  19. Also the fact that Farron looks like Charlie Brown and is about as charismatic. It shouldn’t matter and it’s horrible, but look what happened to Miliband for being a bit nasal and odd-looking at times.

  20. Since when has it been a beauty contest?

  21. ‘Also the fact that Farron looks like Charlie Brown and is about as charismatic’

    I don’t think Farron is quite as uncharismatic, or as downright awkward and wierd-looking as Miliband, but he’s not really my cup of tea

    Lamb would certainly be my choice, but Farron will win. The problem then might be if Labour elect somebody decent enough to sure up the centre left vote, leaving the Lib Dems looking an irrelevance

    The Lib Dems did best in terms of the seats they had, when Left-winger Charles Kennedy was leader and Blair was PM, bit Kennedy came across as much more likeable than Farron, who, as he showed on last night’s QT, might be a turn off for centre-right voters

  22. The party definitely needs some more euroscepticism in the mix.. Clegg had too patently not only drunk the Kool Aid.. but bathed in it as well..

    Farron has been playing his cards so close to his chest for years that his euro position is hard to define, he may offer a more critical analysis than he has hitherto done. We live in hope..

    I don’t see too many obviously Europhiliac names (ex-MEPs for example) on his supporters list..

    http://www.tim2lead.com/support-tim/

    Thank god, Sarah Ludford is not on it.. she would have walked across hot coals for Clegg.. and is mourner-in-chief for her departed hero (who lost her her seat!)

  23. Anyone closer to Clegg is, I think, vastly more likely to end up in Camp Lamb.

    I agree that the party needs a bigger dash of mild Euroscepticism. European federalism is a very, very minority view, and for the Liberals to become too closely aligned to it would be catastrophic. The obvious card to play here is to campaign against new EU VAT laws, which have been awful for some small businesses here in the UK and have ended up meaning only larger businesses can do the paperwork necessary to sell across Europe. Going against Europe on that sort of thing, where you can portray it as “we need to improve how this works, ooh look, that’s what we’re doing” would be a good plan.

  24. ‘I agree that the party needs a bigger dash of mild Euroscepticism. European federalism is a very, very minority view, and for the Liberals to become too closely aligned to it would be catastrophic.’

    Very true James (and Antiochian)

    The Lib Dems position on Euroipe is like their position on votes for prisoners and scrapping Trident – ie: supported by almost no one else

    It seems absolutely bizarre that as the public has become increasinlg Eurosceptic over the past 20-25 years (and often with good reason), the Lib Dems have remained resolutely pro a federal EU

    I really think they will need to become more populist over this extremely difficult period for them

  25. Part of the problem for the Lib Dems was that they tried to be principled and populist at the same time, and ended up coming across as neither. Hence you had the party supporting large scale house building while Lib Dem councillors and MPs played to NIMBY constituents by opposing developments.

  26. Very true. Clegg came out talking about some New Towns without daring to mention where they might go… I suspect the vagueness was half-NIMBYism mated with no intellectual work on the policy.. half-baked..

    No party can really have the massive numbers of annual house-building being talked about without having New Towns as a pillar..

  27. ‘,,,would be catastrophic’.

    Really? how much worse can it get?

    8 MPs, 1 MEP (surely zero next time)…definitely a whiff of the Monty Python sketch here…

  28. “Lamb would certainly be my choice, but Farron will win. The problem then might be if Labour elect somebody decent enough to sure up the centre left vote, leaving the Lib Dems looking an irrelevance”

    Tim – Would Burnham do this if he were Labour leader?

  29. ‘Tim – Would Burnham do this if he were Labour leader?’

    I’m not sure he would

    Starmer and Jarvis (neither of whom are standing) were the only two MPs that stand out as having that kind of appeal

  30. Catastrophic would be staying where we are, or getting wholly obliterated in the medium term… but in all seriousness, “how much worse can it get” is a very silly question. UKIP and the Greens are both in a fairly similar electoral and support position to the Lib Dems as of now, and nobody is bothering to even ask whether either of those parties are about to suddenly disappear. The Lib Dems are still a functional minor party in British politics, and therefore still have quite some way to fall!

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