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.

1. Cambridge Majority 599 (1.1%)
2. Eastbourne Majority 733 (1.4%)
3. Lewes Majority 1083 (2.1%)
4. Thornbury & Yate Majority 1495 (3.1%)
5. Twickenham Majority 2017 (3.3%)
6. East Dunbartonshire Majority 2167 (4%)
7. Kingston & Surbiton Majority 2834 (4.7%)
8. St Ives Majority 2469 (5.1%)
9. Edinburgh West Majority 3210 (5.9%)
10. Torbay Majority 3286 (6.9%)
11. Sutton & Cheam Majority 3921 (7.8%)
12. Bath Majority 3833 (8.1%)
13. Burnley Majority 3244 (8.1%)
14. Bermondsey & Old Southwark Majority 4489 (8.8%)
15. Yeovil Majority 5313 (9.4%)
16. North East Fife Majority 4344 (9.6%)
17. Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross Majority 3844 (11.2%)
18. Colchester Majority 5575 (11.4%)
19. Cheadle Majority 6453 (12.1%)
20. Cheltenham Majority 6516 (12.1%)
21. Berwick-upon-Tweed Majority 4914 (12.2%)
22. Ross, Skye & Lochaber Majority 5124 (12.2%)
23. Portsmouth South Majority 5241 (12.5%)
24. Brecon & Radnorshire Majority 5102 (12.8%)
25. Cardiff Central Majority 4981 (12.9%)
26. North Devon Majority 6936 (13.3%)
27. Wells Majority 7585 (13.3%)
28. North Cornwall Majority 6621 (13.8%)
29. Gordon Majority 8687 (15%)
30. Hazel Grove Majority 6552 (15.2%)
31. Montgomeryshire Majority 5325 (15.7%)
32. Birmingham, Yardley Majority 6595 (16%)
33. St Austell & Newquay Majority 8173 (16.2%)
34. Argyll & Bute Majority 8473 (16.4%)
35. Eastleigh Majority 9147 (16.5%)
36. Oxford West & Abingdon Majority 9582 (16.8%)
37. Bristol West Majority 5673 (8.9%)*
38. Bradford East Majority 7084 (17.1%)
39. Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk Majority 328 (0.6%)*
40. Chippenham Majority 10076 (18.2%)
41. Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey Majority 10809 (18.8%)
42. Hornsey & Wood Green Majority 11058 (19.1%)
43. Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine Majority 7033 (12.8%)*
44. Bosworth Majority 10988 (20.5%)
45. Maidstone & The Weald Majority 10709 (21.4%)
46. Mid Dorset and North Poole Majority 10530 (22.6%)
47. Newton Abbot Majority 11288 (23.4%)
48. Solihull Majority 12902 (23.5%)
49. Redcar Majority 10388 (25.4%)
50. Watford Majority 9794 (17.5%)*

*Liberal Democrats currently in third place

Comments - 771 Responses on “Lib Dem Targets”
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  1. The Derby North majority in the list above is over the Conservatives, not the Liberal Democrats.

  2. Lib Dems are also 3rd in Northampton North where they finished 2,485 votes behind the Tories, and also 3rd in Plymouth Sutton & Devonport where they were 4,221 votes short.

    In Warrington South and Ealing Central and Action they lagged 4,547 and 4,903 votes respectively behind the Tories.

    The target list shows how few realistic possibilities there are for Lib Dem gains in 2015. It’s quite possible that every Labour seat where Lib Dems were challenging will stay Labour, and the Lib Dems will fail to gain even a single seat from the Tories.

  3. There are some constituencies that are won and lost by all parties at elections irrespective of the swing…. a bit more nuanced analysis is needed….

  4. Frankly I would not be surprised if LibDem candidates took back some or all of Camborne, Oxford West, Truro, Newton Abbott, Winchester, Romsey. Montgomeryshire. Southeast Cornwall and Harrogate.

    Most of these were lost through complacency (e.g. Montgomeryshire) or in the backwash from the expenses scandal (Romsey) or other peccadilloes (Winchester).

    Labour-facing targets are a waste of time and while it might not be said publicly it is probably the case that we will see them de-emphasised on the target lists over the coming 18mths.

  5. “Labour-facing targets are a waste of time and while it might not be said publicly it is probably the case that we will see them de-emphasised on the target lists over the coming 18mths”.

    I think they’ll still be pretty active in Chesterfield, even though they realistically have no chance. They have not other remotely viable seats in the East Midlands, so unless they’re going to do something like bus activists from the likes of Derbyshire, Notts and Lincs to Manchester to try and defend Withington, they’ll just try and ensure they finish not too far behind in Chesterfield.

  6. Is Antiochian the new Gloy Plopwell?

  7. Flattery will get you nowhere!

  8. The LD task is Labour-LD seats is not to win them next time but not to fall too much behind to keep them as realistic targets when Labour will get back in power and will start to become less popular in this kind of seats. If they lose by 30%, they would need 3 elections (with Labour in power) again (like they did in the 1997-2010 period) before re-becoming a serious contenders. And by 3 GEs, Labour will be back in opposition.

  9. I’ve constructed a LD target list catering for swings of up to 10% which gives 127 seats. It also includes candidate selections:

  10. sorry to go slightly off topic but does anyone know the circumstances of how the lib dems (lembit opick) lost Montgomeryshire?

  11. Great work…. Interesting that only one former seat holder is confirmed to run again…

  12. In case anyone’s wondering where the 1,598 Lab margin over LD in Hampstead is coming from, the answer is it’s an extrapolation from the swing required to overtake the Conservatives in second place. If you just use a direct swing from Lab to LD, the LDs would overtake Lab but not Con. This has to be done whenever the LDs are in third place and the second placed party is closer to the winner than the LDs.

  13. I think the LD’s will win back Oxford West and Abingdon but not at all sure of any others

  14. I can easily see the Lib Dems deciding to give up on Sheffield Central, even though they were only 165 votes behind Labour in 2010, and concentrating all their effort in shoring up Clegg in neighbouring Hallam.

  15. I think that’s right – I can’t see Sheffield Central being seen as anything but safe Labour after 2015. The new MP seems pretty impressive as well, though not all that high profile.

  16. For what it’s worth, I think that the LibDems will win absolutely none of these, but Oxford West and Abington could just buck the trend.

    i’d also expect that some of these seats – Chesterfield, or the two Edinburgh constituencies for example – will see the LD vote fall away sharply.

  17. I think the LDs will probably pick up a seat somewhere in the south west, somewhere like Truro or Newton Abbott.

  18. ”I think the LDs will probably pick up a seat somewhere in the south west, somewhere like Truro or Newton Abbott.”

    Truro is a possibility for them but I can’t say whether they would actually gain it- It’s certainly one of their best chances along with Oxford West and the other seat that you mentioned- Newton Abbott, particularly helped by the fact that I think Richard Younger-Ross has been reselected as the candidate there.

  19. an interesting survey by Lord Ashcroft… I have mentioned this before but now the reports have more detail…

  20. My list is just as up to date as that one, I hope.

  21. A seat which isn’t being talked about here is Watford. The Lib Dems have advanced in the local elections since 2010 in the area while the Tories have fallen away significantly. A surprise Lib Dem gain? I am beginning to think so.

  22. I’m astounded that they haven’t even selected a candidate yet. Watford was red hot target for them in 2010 and despite just coming up short they’re still strong locally and have a long running elected mayor who is seeking a fourth term this year.

  23. The speculation is that the spot is being kept conveniently open for her… its a bit like Portsmouth South…

  24. Despite the Lib Dems generally bad standing, I would be shocked if they didn’t gain a few seats. Truro, Watford, Newton Abbot, Oxford West, and Camborne would be the ones I would put top of the list, but I also think Winchester and Montgomeryshire are strong contenders. Obviously, they won’t gain all of those, but three or four gains wouldn’t be at all shocking to me personally.

  25. “Pete

    Is Antiochian the new Gloy Plopwell?

    September 19th, 2013 at 8:34 am”


  26. Maybe Montgomeryshire, and I’ll accept Watford at a stretch, but absolutely no chance in the other three.

  27. Oxford West & Abingdon is probably their best chance of a gain and even that is not guaranteed if there’s a surge in Labour support in the Oxford wards and is big enough to offset Lib Dem success in the Vale of White Horse wards.

    They may have a fight in them in Ashfield post-2015 but this will remain with Labour for now. No chance in Maidstone despite the MP.

    St Albans, Winchester and a few ultra marginals in the SW aren’t listed surprisingly. St Albans might have been a so-so prospect but there could be a small Labour resurgence, enough to keep them from winning. They’re still competitive locally in Winchester but that’s no guarantee of Parliamentary success. Devon and Cornwall marginals will be tricky especially where UKIP is rising.

  28. Any Labour increase basically stuffs the Lib Dems if they’re trying to make gains – they’re going to have to concentrate very hard on relatively small sections of the vote to keep them from switching.

  29. I’m surprised they still haven’t selected a candidate for Watford. With less than 12 months to go and no PPC in one of their strongest local authorities.

  30. Mr Nameless

    Montgomery being gained by the tories in 2011 WA assembly elections is something of an indicator that it will be held.

  31. From lists I’ve seen here and elsewhere it seems Labour are miles ahead in terms of candidate selections and the Tories and Lib Dems trail badly.

    I would have thought it very difficult to start any kind of campaign without a candidate as a focus.

    Can anyone shed any light on why the Tories and Lib Dems appear to be leaving it so late in so many seats?

  32. The Lib Dems are doing comparatively well (about 150 selections) considering they’re only fighting 75 seats. The Tories have about 200 but almost 300 of them will be reselected MPs (not counting Yeo and McIntosh and retirements) so will already be de facto candidates.

    On the doorstep I’ve heard more than a couple of times that it’s nice to have a name and a face to associate with the campaign, so you’re right that a candidate helps. The Greens are doing particularly poorly here – only 28 selections – which might stall their momentum.

    The Tories and Lib Dems leaving it late I would guess to be a result of the LDs’ activist base being gutted, slowing internal processes for lack of manpower, and the Tory approved candidates system taking a while to vet everyone?

  33. Mr nameless,

    I don’t mean to presume anything but i’m not sure you know how the tory candidate selection really works.

    The tories have an approved candidates’ list. This can have up to 1,500 names, though I think it’s probably less than half that number now. All people who make that list will have gone through an assessment and will have been vetted.

    there’s no reason why the tories are not running selections in key seats.

  34. Guesswork in both cases James:

    In the Tory case I think it’s a combination of the fact that they hold a lot of seats, and that local associations in seats where they could win probably feel that there is no harm in letting UKIP and Labour show their hands first.

    In the Lib Dem case there are quite a few seats which candidates who have serious aspirations of being elected in future probably wouldn’t want to contest this time around, i.e. ones that will significantly exceed the national swing against the party.

  35. Peter Crawford,

    You’re right – I’m not overly familiar with the selection process, having had no real contact with the party. I think ChrisHornet may have a good point that it may be waiting for a UKIP and Labour reveal before moving. However that kind of reactive approach might be leaving things too late.

    I don’t suppose it might be complacency?

  36. The answer to that MrNameless(assuming of course that my guess has any merit to it) would depend on what they feel they have to gain by waiting.

    Even if they were to end up with 0 seats, UKIP have undeniably changed the nature of the campaign this time around. The Lib Dems, Labour, Tories and nationalists all know roughly what tact the other parties will take in each region, allowing for the strengths and weaknesses of individual candidates.

    Outside of a consistent Eurosceptic message, UKIP’s campaign will vary significantly from constituency to constituency.

    If anything Labour selecting a lot of candidates earlier suggests that they have already made up their minds not to worry too much about UKIP.

    Presumably they think that the right-leaning press will either start to back UKIP (which would hurt the Tories more than them), or build UKIP up for a fall in the same way they did very successfully to the Lib Dems (which, combined with a declining Lib Dem vote, should ensure that the status quo remains in terms of the proportion of seats going to the two largest parties).

  37. We keep hearing that the LDs might have a chance in Watford if they run Dorothy Thornhill. Why on earth have they not selected a candidate yet? I don’t see how they can possibly break through if they don’t select somebody pretty soon. Maybe they’re trying to persuade her to stand, but she doesn’t really want to?

  38. Re Watford… I suspect she may be holding fire to see which way the water is running.. then again party PPC selection are a debacle anyway due to lack of returning officers which is something NO-ONE is doing anything about..

  39. On the first part of your point Barnaby, quite the opposite. The Watford Lib Dems get material through the doors all year around, and you won’t find one that doesn’t have either Thornhill’s face or name displayed prominently on it. There is no question of delaying a decision to stand hurting Thornhill at all (it would on the other hand be a disadvantage to another candidate).

    On the second point you could be right, my impression is that she win or lose she would want to be confident of a respectable result, not least because a heavy swing against her would make her job as mayor somewhat harder.

  40. By the way, forgot to mention here that the Lib Dems have actually said that they aren’t selecting until September.

  41. Chris – thanks for your answer, but is that for the whole constituency or just the Watford borough part of it? Although I’m sure she’s well-known, she would need to have a profile as good in the 3 Rivers wards as in the Watford ones in order to win the seat.

  42. Just the borough as far as Thornhill specifically is concerned.

    Outside the borough I doubt her selection will make too much difference relative to a random borough councillor. The Lib Dems have reasonable local support in the Three Rivers wards, as shown by the election results. I presume at least that number of votes would transfer over to any LD candidate, however the Tories will comfortably get more votes in a general election. The only value to her having a profile there is if she can convince Labour voters there that she is more likely to win than the Labour candidate, which I doubt she will be able to do.

    Any pulling of rabbits out of hats will happen in the borough itself, where “this is how my record compares to theirs” saw her comfortably home on a night when the Lib Dems took an even bigger national pounding than they usually do.

  43. There might be some negatives in selecting a candidate early, but having longer to build a campaign and name recognition must surely outweigh these.

    Labour even has considerable numbers of candidates selected in their unwinnable seats. Still seems bizarre that the Tories and Lib Dems are leaving it so late.

  44. I’m curious that Maidstone is getting so much attention as a possible Lib Dem gain. Now, I do think it might be a good prospect down the line, and I think the Lib Dems will do better there than they will anywhere else in Kent, and will probably hold up quite well, but I really don’t think there’s much chance it will be gained. Grant seems incompetent, sure, but she’s not a Neil Hamilton or something like that (i.e., someone so odious to voters that they completely buck their natural inclination).

    I think Montgomeryshire and Oxford West will eventually return to the Lib Dems, and wouldn’t rule out a gain of one of the two (or Winchester, for that matter) in 2015, but I wouldn’t say the Lib Dems should be by any means favored in either.

    Ashford… well, as I’ve stated a few times, I’d imagine Zadrozny will hold the vote up better than almost any other non-held Lib Dem seat in that region (the big urban areas in the Midlands and north, that is), but I can’t see it as a gain at all.

    Watford, as we’ve all said a few times at this point, seems to me to be a good shot with Thornhill, and all but no hope without (especially with the selection so far delayed).

    I will hold to my oft-repeated prediction that the Lib Dems will make at least one gain, but that it could be a very, very random seat, and perhaps for odd reasons. It could be something like Redcar or Bath in ’92 that no one really sees coming, or just a slim win in a longtime marginal like Oxford W, or a return to form in a seat like Montgomeryshire or Harrogate (I don’t actually think they will win Harrogate, it’s just an example).

  45. The likely story in Maidstone is the rise in UKIP support which might hurt the Tories somewhat, but will allow Helen Grant to hold, as enough of the opposition vote could go the Kipper’s way. I think the Lib Dem vote will fall in 2015, but not hugely. The protest element of their 2010 support will go to UKIP. There is as much chance of a Labour revival here as there is a Tory one in Walthamstow (to give an example) so some of their already dwindling base will vote purple.

  46. the lib dems will not get anywhere in maidstone in 2015. this is all pie in the sky

  47. Plopwell looked reasonable next to this thread.

    The LDs have lost what? Half their support

    Not an ideal position from which to defend their seats let alone make gains.

  48. “the lib dems will not get anywhere in maidstone in 2015. this is all pie in the sky”

    I agree, they’ll be slugging it out with UKIP for second place IMO.

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