Liberal Democrat Defence List

These are the remaining Liberal Democrat seats ordered by the lowest percentage majorities. This does not necessarily mean that the seats at the top would be the most vulnerable Liberal Democrats seats in practice.

1. Southport Majority 1322 (3%)
2. Carshalton & Wallington Majority 1510 (3.2%)
3. Orkney & Shetland Majority 817 (3.6%)
4. Sheffield, Hallam Majority 2353 (4.2%)
5. Leeds North West Majority 2907 (6.7%)
6. Ceredigion Majority 3067 (8.2%)
7. North Norfolk Majority 4043 (8.2%)
8. Westmorland & Lonsdale Majority 8949 (18.3%)
Comments - 1,379 Responses on “Lib Dem Defence”
  1. Guess those of us guessing that Scotland and SW London, as well as the string of Tory seats in the South like Bath and in East Sussex, might save them, were right.

    My guess of 9-12 seems spot on. Tim Farron very close, though.

  2. Few things to note:

    1. There are now NO Lib Dem seats that are Labour-facing. The Scottish four are SNP-facing, the other eight are Tory-facing.

    2. The LDs overall result, in terms of seats, was respectable. They also came very close in a few more…

    3. … The caveat to that is that there’s a huge drop-off after that. They just don’t have much room to grow unless they start really building back their national vote share. There are (by my count; could be wrong) nine seats where they are less than less than 10% back, another eight where they are between 10% and 20% back. That’s… not really that great.

    4. They’ve fallen backward in key target seats: Thornbury, Cambridge, Bermondsey, Sutton, Yeovil, Eastleigh…

    5. The SW is looking bad but not awful. They did well in St Ives, North Cornwall, Taunton Deane (relatively speaking; decreased Tory majority), North Devon, Wells, and (depending on how you define “well”) Somerton & Frome.

    6. All but four of their MPs have majorities that, in percentage terms, are in single digits. Of those four, two (Swinson and Hobhouse) will see their seats become substantially more difficult if boundary changes go through (obviously, that is now far less certain).

    7. In general, the LDs are now in a position to suffer but not be cataclysmically impacted by boundary changes. Edinburgh West would be a place that looks positive, SW London could be okay (Carshalton perhaps excepted)…

    8. Wales was a fiasco. Something like 4.5% across the country, and only even remotely competitive (if we can even use the word) in Ceredigion, Montgomeryshire, and Brecon and Radnorshire. Also, since the leader of the Welsh Lib Dems must be an MSP or MP, Kirsty Williams will take over by default.

  3. 9. The LDs do have their first minority MP (Moran, part-Palestinian) elected to a full term (they had one before, the one from Leicester South, but that was a by-election and prompt GE loss).

    10. A third of their MPs are now women, so they are far less old, male and pale.

  4. Oh, and if anyone is curious, my calculations (could well have missed a seat) for the thinnest majorities against the LDs:

    North East Fife 0.005
    Richmond Park 0.1
    Ceredigion 0.2
    St Ives 0.6
    Sheffield Hallam 3.8
    Cheltenham 4.5
    North Devon 7.8
    Cheadle 8.3
    Leeds North West 9.1
    Lewes 10.2
    Wells 10.6
    St Albans 10.7
    Southport (LD third) 12.3
    Hazel Grove 12.5
    North Cornwall 14.1
    Winchester 17.5
    Brecon & Radnorshire 19.4
    Bermondsey & Old Southwark 22.2
    Cambridge 22.6
    Thornbury & Yate 23.9
    Sutton & Cheam 24.4
    Yeovil 24.8
    Eastleigh 24.8
    Taunton Deane 25.2
    Montgomeryshire 26.6
    Torbay 27.9
    Chippenham 29.1
    Guildford 30.7

    As you can see, it starts getting daunting very, very fast.

  5. Former Southport MP John Pugh has repeated his attack on the failed LD HQ strategy and said, “We’re not all Euro freaks obsessed with a love of the EU you know and it was a big mistake whoever came up with the idea to focus solely on this.”

  6. Still gained four seats. Can’t have been that big a mistake. Personally, I think they wouldn’t have done much better with another strategy. They were caught between the hammer and the anvil with the Tories and Labour both going up (which would’ve happened anyway) and managed to come out of it with a few gains. Not the worst showing.

  7. They gained four seats, at a time when centrism has never been weaker. And they fell agonisingly short in a few others – Richmond Park, St Ives & NE Fife.

    A decent night, imo, the best of any party other than Labour.

  8. I’d agree with others that the LDs did okay, all things considered. Bad result in Southport, obviously, which is what will have prompted Pugh’s comments, but I think they’d given up any hope of holding there weeks ago.

  9. Looking beyond the seats and at who was elected it is clear that this is a good night for the LDs. Big beasts like Davey and Cable add clout, Lamb holding too is important and the addition of a few women (shame about Olney but oh well, next time will be a real battle) especially Swinson who must be favourite for leadership, is good news for the LDs. If this parliament does last 5 years (highly unlikely) and Brexit does go wrong then they can expect to do very well, especially in Tory seats across the south, and in by elections too.

  10. Layla Moran looks like a good addition who we might hear lots about over the next few years.

  11. Well I have to say, the updated tables for these are going to look very interesting.

  12. I think Layla Moran is a huge boost for them. I’ve heard good things on Jardine, too.

    It’s an interesting parliamentary party. With Lamb, Cable, Swinson and Davey, they have some real intellectual, experienced heft, but they also, with Swinson and Moran, can paint a younger, more diverse picture.

    I wonder not if Farron will be forced out (he won’t), but if he might choose to leave after a year or two (assuming no GE before then).

  13. (Moran, interestingly, made it into the Guardian’s profile of eight new MPs. Evidently she’s the first MP of Palestinian descent.)

  14. I’m looking forward to the new target and defence lists.

  15. ‘It’s an interesting parliamentary party. ‘

    It’s good that they have some of their big hitters back, like cable and Davey, although Clegg – one of the best political public speakers of recent times deserved better

    They can also consider themselves unlucky to have so narrowly missed out on Fife NE, Richmond Park and St Ives

  16. I think what this election shows is that:

    1) In the minds of many left of centre voters they are no longer toxic – tactical voting returned in places like Twickenham and Dunbartonshire East


    2) In most places they are seen as irrelevant, with a core vote of 2-3%, lower than at any time in the modern political era.

    The only place I have noticed where they really put on votes from 3rd place is St Alban’s, although they held their vote in quite a bit of London (eg. Wimbledon) and parts of the SW

  17. Don’t forget Ceredigion, Tim Jones.

    I think the Lib Dems did better than expected because the Tories did worse. It’s really that simple. And if May’s, uh, coalition of chaos with the DUP crashes and burns, and her poll ratings go down, a lot of SW and SE seats become options again. That said, there just aren’t that many plausible Lib Dem targets.

    Of their top 17 targets now, 13 are Tory-facing, and of the remaining four, two are nationalist-facing (NE Fife and Ceredigion), and the other two are the ones they just lost (Hallam and Leeds NW).

    Richmond Park, St Ives, Cheltenham, North Devon, Cheadle, Lewes, Wells, St Albans, Hazel Grove, North Cornwall, Winchester and Brecon & Radnorshire, the bulk of that list, all look like plausible targets where they’re in striking range. The exception is Southport, where I suspect they may fall back further in future. The Merseyside Lib Dems are in shambles generally.

    After that come two-Labour facing targets they won’t regain with Corbyn in charge (Bermondsey and Cambridge), and the former of those is unlikely to be regained in any situation I see unfolding ever.

    Then it’s a row of 11 Tory-facing seats with high majorities they probably won’t have a real hope of retaking until they’re on at least 15% nationally, if that happens. (It’s Thornbury, Sutton, Yeovil, Eastleigh, Taunton, Montgomeryshire, Torbay, Chippenham, Guildford, Mid Dorset, and Harrogate, for the curious.)

    After that, they have few seats where they’re even in second that aren’t inner city Labour-held ones they have no hope of winning.

  18. In fact, by my count (working of a map, linked below) there are only 39 seats where the Lib Dems are second.

  19. Richmond Park has got to be their best shot given the slim majority + Richmond Park being very heavily Remain (similar to Twickenham).

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