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. I would guess the order of the top 3 parties won’t change in Sheffield Hallam, probably a slight fading of the 2015 Labour surge but still up on 2010.

    Got to be an outside chance of total wipeout

    After the 2015 election LD results and the May local election results nothing would surprise me. It must be fairly unlikely though?

    Before the GE was called, expected the LDs to gain seats in the locals. Even when called, I’d thought it would be a stand-still election with them ending up around the same. To actually lose seats starting from the poor 2013 position must be disappointing, even with a 2% increase of the share of the vote. LDs usually do better at local than nationals, thinking of Eastleigh in 2015 where they comfortably held the council while losing the parliamentary seat by 9000+.
    Is there an argument that the differential won’t be so great as some of the electors were voting on national issues due to the pending GE? While some areas like London where there has been a significant move towards the LDs in polls weren’t voting, in the metropolitan north the converse applies.

    Farron you would expect to hold despite the loss of seats and votes in the Cumbria County elections.

    Williams was favoured by a weak Plaid opponent last time, but while PC did well generally in Wales, didn’t appear to improve on being the largest party in Ceridigion, so should probably be safe.

    Mullholland, unless the Tories can threaten from a strong 3rd place should also hold on.

    Clegg I don’t know given the comments above. Had thought a lot of the Tory votes he was loaned in 2015 may go back but a less energised Labour campaign may help him.

    Carmichael depends on whether the electorate have forgiven him for the inaccurate leaks last time round. Despite the Scottish results last year, wouldn’t be a surprise to see this fall because of the candidate.

    Brake and Lamb’s future depends on how well they can get votes from elsewhere to counteract the Conservatives mopping up UKIP votes. The Tory standing in Norfolk North looks like a strong candidate.

    Southport seems more likely to be lost, unless the party can tap into the Labour and Green vote. By picking a local councillor, who’ll be known in part of the constituency, they improve their prospects of holding a little.

  3. LEXBOZ1310: Are you predicting slight losses without gains, then? So, 5-6 seats total?

  4. MR PITT I was looking at it from a worst case scenario, is wipeout likely? I don’t think it is, but if almost everything went wrong it looks as though the LDs could still hold 3-4 of their current seats. Haven’t applied my mind to their prospects of winning seats yet. My gut feeling, at this point, is a small net gain.

  5. The Tory campaign manager covering Hallam has responsibility for everything from Penistone & Stocksbridge, to Rother Valley, as well as all the Sheffield-proper seats.
    Hallam will not be a target, they will hope to take Penistone & Stocksbridge, and run Labour close/ fluke it in Rother Valley.

    I stay with my prediction of Norfolk North, Southport, & Carshalton being lost. Holds in all the rest.
    Enough gains to balance out, 2 certs, & a handful of likely.

  6. ADVISABLYANON: Sounds like you expect in the range of 9-12 seats in total?

    I’m thinking more 15-20 at the moment, though I think it could be less. I tend to think they’ll lose two at most; I think Southport is most likely, then Carshalton, but I think North Norfolk will be a hold, but of course I could be wrong.

  7. I’m sure the replies to my Clegg post are right but not quite sure why I think I am sure!

    When you look at the stats it feels like 10% Tory vote share was leant to LD in 2010. Take that out and Clegg is on 30 and Tory on 24. Push that up a bit (for Tory swing since 2015) and the Tories are up to their “traditional” vote of circa 30% since 1997 which ties it. There’s bound to be a significant Labour unwind as they were squeezing any vote they could in 2015 but not sure where that would end up.

    I’d love to know the true movements on the LD canvass returns since 2010 rather than the hypothetical!

  8. On the question of lib dem gains, it’s interesting to see that both Chris Hanretty and Martin Baxter actually have the lib dems losing one seat on a net basis…they could go backwards rather than gain on a net basis that everyone assumes.

    Admittedly Baxter and Hanretty use a UNS model, but that model was far more accurate getting the lib dem seat total right in 2015 than pundits, “experts” and sundry soothsayers.

  9. The difference between 2015 and now for the LDs is we can expect more variation in swing: in London and other strong Remain areas they should out-perform UNS, in the SW and other Brexity areas of former strength they may underperform. That might just help them pick up a handful more seats on a similar vote share. Plus there are the 3 very likely Scottish gains that will have very little to do with how the LDs perform nationally. So despite their bad polling I’m sticking with c. 15 LD seats.

  10. I hear from several [admittedly lab] sources that Simon Hughes is unlikely to win back his seat. As someone of the LGBT community I have zero sympathy for him.

  11. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. Hughes defied the demographics in that seat for decades, but much harder to do that as a non-incumbent. I think Vauxhall might just be the best chance of a gain from Lab in London, despite the size of the majority and lack of LD history.

  12. Kate Hoey will be saved by two things. The first is her opposition to the garden bridge. That and the BME vote will see her scrape home. And then we get five more years of her. She might actually be doing something really clever and making herself so unpopular that the next labour MP there looks like Tony Benn reincarnate or whoever. [Insert fantastic MP here]

  13. “Kate Hoey will be saved by two things. The first is her opposition to the garden bridge. That and the BME vote will see her scrape home.”

    As I have posted on here many times in the past, Hoey has fought hard on many local issues from the left, many of them against her own Labour council. For 20 odd years, the top of Lambeth Labour party has been dominated by smarmy Blairites such as Steve Reed, Chuka Umunna and Tessa Jowell. The view from the outside is that Hoey is a brexiting fox hunting Tory, but locals will be well aware of her many fights with Lambeth council on things like council house sell-offs. You are right, most of her supporters will come from the poorer and BME end of the spectrum, most of those who hate her are middle class metropolitan liberals.

    In addition to the factors you state, the Lib Dems just aren’t doing well enough in the polls to suggest they have any serious chance.

  14. Jack,

    There were tons of reasons mentioned why the lib dems would have variant swings in 2015. Those reasons turned out to be bull.

    Just wondering if the same turns out to be true this time. I can see the libs winning Twickenham and Cambridge and that’s it, but losing Norfolk N, Southport and Carshalton, and losing narrowly in Richmond. That’s 7 seats! As the UNS implies.

    In a good showing they could win Bath, leaving them on 8. Just saying, wondering if the libs’ chances are being overhyped once again!

  15. Very true, HH. Kate Hoey won’t just ‘scrape home’, Quint.

    Incidentally, Simon Hughes is of your LGBT ‘community’ – and even Tatchell doesn’t take your stance, so that shows how odd it is today.

  16. “Just saying, wondering if the libs’ chances are being overhyped once again!”

    Latterly, I don’t notice much over-hyping on here.

    There seems to be a broad consensus that the Lib Dems could lose seats net on a bad night and that they are highly unlikely to exceed 15 or so.

    Polls and local by-elections at the very start of the campaign did suggest that 20-30 seats might have been achievable on a good night but the way things have moved I doubt even the likes of Mr Pitt and Polltroll think that now.

  17. Incidentally re Southport, whilst there were no locals, I’m told the LDs were beaten 2 or 3:1 by the Tories.

    Although that could be because residents didn’t want a Mersey Metro Mayor as well as the fact the LD candidate ran purely on his Remain credentials and lived in Knowsley neither of which will have gone down well with the pensioners of Southport.

    I’d still rate the seat a close toss up due to the Tory inactivity over the years.

  18. HH,

    The assumption, though, all along is that they will make some net gains, no? Would be bitter reversal from the theory that all they had to do was be the unabashed party of remain and they would make impressive gains.

  19. Southport is a certain loss. C & W is borderline, Norfolk North will be the other.

    Westmorland, Leeds NW, Sheffield and Orkney & Shetland will see decent increases in majority imo,

  20. IIRC Swinson was tipped as a potential comeback but I don’t have any local info as to the likelihood of that.

    But yes its certainly possible that the LDs could end up with just 4 or 5 MPs and be the 8th Party in the House. I in fact floated this after the 2015 GE on here and was derided.

  21. “The assumption, though, all along is that they will make some net gains, no? Would be bitter reversal from the theory that all they had to do was be the unabashed party of remain and they would make impressive gains.”

    I still think their seat total is more likely to go slightly up than down. But your scenario is perfectly plausible should they lose a couple of seats and narrowly fail in SW London.

    Leaving aside the question of whether being the “unabashed party of Remain” was a good idea, it seems to me that the Libs have had a muddled campaign and alienated a lot of people who might have considered voting for them.

  22. Who have the Libs alienated, who might have been thinking of voting for them?

    I’d agree that their campaign hasn’t been well-organised and while accepting Syrian refugees and legalising cannabis have their merits, they are not policies with broad appeal. While their Remain stance is a key part of their campaign, it is clear that isn’t going to make a difference to how many vote. Are there other policies they can put forward, not adopted by other parties, which will appeal to the electorate at large?

  23. Vauxhall is not the most plausible LD gain in London. They will not take Vauxhall, and Twickenham, Kingston, even Bermondsey or Sutton are more likely. (Personally, I think they will take only Twickenham, if that.)

    I tend to think Carshalton, N Norfolk and Southport will all be close either way. I’d honestly almost flip a coin for each: you’d expect one hold, one loss, and one who even knows. On the flip side, they could lose all three or hold all three.

    I agree the Scottish situation is essentially separate. They could credibly pick up three (on an incredibly good night, four) there and still lose seats in England.

    All told, I’m increasingly thinking they’ll have about 12, +/- 2 or so. I think NE Fife, Edinburgh West, Cheltenham, Cambridge, Lewes and Twickenham are more likely than not to be gained.

    Then, Oxford W, Eastbourne, St Ives, Bath, Cheadle, Dunbartonshire E, Caithness and maybe one or two I’m forgetting are credible targets.

    Anything else is at best an outside chance, if that. Probably lower.

    So, lose ~2, gain ~6, I’d expect 12 seats.

  24. Ok , having had a cursory look at the scots situation, I think they might win 2 or 3 up there. My estimate is about 11.

    My rule of thumb that any seat where con + UKIP is over 50% in 2015, makes me put Cheltenham in the blue column. Lib dem vi also suggests this is a tall order.

    I think Farron is a liability. He seems to be a creepy preachy evangelical. The kind of person people run away from at freshers fair

  25. Even in a worst-case scenario where they lose Ceredigion, Leeds N-W and the 3 seats they’re already considered more vulnerable in, I can’t see them not picking up Edinburgh West.

    So a mini might be a bit cramped for taking the 4 of them round. . . 🙂

  26. LDs are slumping in the polls, increasingly hard to see them gaining more than 2 seats.

  27. Absolute rubbage John Smith! Lds are loved as all the population realise that brexit was a mistake

  28. Apologies for expressing personal opinions, I do try to avoid it most of the time. But have to say I’m not sorry to see the Lib Dems extreme anti-Brexit position have little success. It always struck me as very negative and divisive. If the remainers want a Brexit that they don’t hate, they need to stop remoaning and start offering alternative, positive visions for Brexit. I’m “progressive” if you must call it that and what scares me is not political independence from Europe, it’s the prospect of that new-found power being used in the wrong way. The remoaners are more interested in absolving themselves of blame than in actually trying to make a good job of Brexit. I detest that attitude and I’m glad to see that it’s not as widespread as Tim Farron hoped.

  29. WellyTab, the LDs aren’t saying they want to overturn Brexit, they’re arguing for a referendum on the final deal, largely because their vision of Brexit includes common market membership, relatively open borders, protection for EU nationals, and many other things. Calling for a second referendum is part of how they think they can best, as an opposition party, advocate for that. Your typical “remoaner” argument is ultimately undemocratic, as well. People are allowed to advocate for their beliefs; that’s the height of democracy. And people are allowed to campaign on issues that have been voted on, that’s why we have elections. Referenda are not somehow magical, divine events that declare now and forever that a topic is decided. Those who disagree can and should continue to fight for their opinions and advocate either for a version of the outcome they find more palatable (as the LDs do) or for a full reversal (as many also do). THAT is democracy; telling everyone to shut up because they lost is tyranny.

  30. Well, perhaps I have an unfair perception of the Lib Dems’ position. However I think that perception is shared by most voters, and I also think it’s an accurate perception of the type of Remoaner that the Lib Dems are currently appealing to. For example, the following comment from an LD on the main thread: “Leaving the LDs for Corbyn?
    Not on your nellie. We’re boycotting this sham election — let the Tories fall on their Brexit sword and we can talk about where our votes go in 2022.” – this seems to be a typical of a vocal minority of Remoaners who actively want to see us screwed over by Brexit just so that they can be proven right. Like it or not, the Lib Dems have gone after the votes of these people and imo cannot complain that they are now seen as speaking for the worst kind of Remoaner.

    And I’m actually ok with asking for a second referendum, the party I will vote for have also pledged this and it won’t stop me voting for them. The difference is that I am confident that my preferred party have a positive agenda for Britain regardless of whether Brexit goes ahead, whereas the Lib Dems almost seem to want Brexit to fail for the sake of political capital.

    Again sorry for voicing too many personal opinions, I’ll stop now.

  31. “I also think it’s an accurate perception of the type of Remoaner that the Lib Dems are currently appealing to.”

    To be honest, I’m not sure your argument stacks up at all. There are a hell of a lot more remoaners than there are people who say they are going to vote LD. Going all out for the remoaner vote might, on a very good day, have got them 20% of the vote. See Guido’s poll the other day saying that 25% of the electorate wish to see Brexit reversed.

    The Lib Dems’ major error has been to alienate large chunks of Remain supporters with (a) their other policies, (b) their useless tit of a leader, and (c) entertaining all this bollocks about forming a progressive alliance with Corbyn.

    I probably count as a remoaner, though at the milder end of the spectrum. At the beginning of the campaign I was open to voting LD but some weeks in there’s little chance I’m voting for a party which
    (a) is pledged to increase income tax on those of working age without reforming public sector pensions or the triple lock
    (b) is pledged to legalise cannabis
    (c) would be content to support a Marxist led Labour party in government
    (d) is led by a preachy religious weirdo who has all the gravitas of a jacket potato….easily the weakest and least appropriate Lib Dem/Alliance leader in my 41 year lifetime

    I could go on but won’t….

    But in summary if the Lib Dems had stuck to Brexit and not wandered off onto other hobby horses they would have picked up a lot more centrist and Tory-leaning voters IMO. People who want to raise taxes and are bothered about legalising drugs are already going to vote Corbyn or Green so it’s pretty silly going after them at the expense of the centre.

  32. This is the point. If you shut your eyes and imagine each of the main party leaders as PM, May wins by a country mile. The leaders of both the labour and lib dem parties are the worst I can remember. Corbyn is a lot worse even than Foot. Farron is a twit, the kind of evangelical, “creeping Jesus” , they used to be called, that undergraduates would run away from at the freshers’ fair.

    The public intuits all this. Brexit is overemphasised in all this. Presented with a choice of May, Farron or Corbyn to be PM, May would have won hands down even if we lived in a parallel world, where EU membership was never an issue.

    To put it another way, you could imagine someone like May being the leader of any major country, chancellor of Germany, president of France etc. There is not a country in the world where I can imagine a Farron or Corbyn being head of the government.

  33. HH
    Don’t ask me why but I always took you for the type of liberally minded guy who would be in favour of cannabis legalisation.

  34. The torys went through this with IDS. You have a leader who is at the far end of the spectrum then you get a moderate. Who’ll you vote for in the upcoming lab leadership rivers?
    Also, I really miss Kennedy. He was a fantastic politician.

  35. The Tories ditched IDS in two years even before an election. They are ruthless. That’s why they recovered more quickly than many believed possible. They were only out of power for 13 years , the same length of time labour were out between 1951 and 1964. Remarkable when you consider how well labour did in 1951 compared to how poorly the Tories did in 1997.

  36. “Don’t ask me why but I always took you for the type of liberally minded guy who would be in favour of cannabis legalisation.”

    Perhaps that’s what having kids does to you!

    I’m live and let live but not a liberal.

  37. “The torys went through this with IDS.”

    IDS wasn’t outside the mainstream to the degree that Corbyn is. He had been a shadow minister and was a protégé of both Thatcher and one of her most senior ministers (Tebbit).

    I’m struggling to think if there’s ever been a major party leader from so far outside the mainstream as Corbyn is. Certainly not since WW2.

  38. HH
    “Perhaps that’s what having kids does to you!”

    All the more reason to want it legalised and regulated, believe you me HH if your kids decide at some future date they want to smoke pot they’ll realise its ridiculously easy to get a hold of it, easier in fact than it is to get alcohol.

  39. I’m not so ancient that I can’t remember how easy it is to get hold of and smoke it. I’m just not persuaded that legalisation is a good idea, more importantly it’s an unnecessary distraction right now.

  40. Quint
    “Who’ll you vote for in the upcoming lab leadership rivers?”
    Depends on who puts themselves forward and on what platform. What I really think Labs problem is that we lack a “leader” somebody that can handle the media, is in of themselves hard to attack and who the public like/respect. As superficial as it seems that’s Labs main problem these days I think despite all the waffle about us being too left wing, as I’ve aid many times before the policies go down brilliantly on the doorstep, I’d even go as far as to say their the only reason we’re not doing worse.

    So a charismatic leader with a good backstory who can command respect nationally and will stand on a similar policy platform to present. The closest to that is probably Keir Starmer but I do worry he might be too dull. Clive Lewis is another maybe but that’s a huge gamble, maybe he’s too outside the mainstream as well despite his past military record.

  41. Mr PItt – but your first sentence illustrates the LD problem. 2 of those 3 aspirations are incompatible with being outside the EU – and that’s he view of the EU commission.

    So either LDs are being fingers-in-ears-don’t-care student politicians or they think they’re being very clever. But clearly over 80% of the electorate have seen them for what they are.

  42. At this point im leaning towards a total bloody nobody tbh. Like a dark horse, someone like Rushnara Ali. You know someone totally unexpected with no baggage. I’d vote for a person who could bring us back to relevance. Possibly even Dan Jarvis. I think Yvette’s time has gone [she blew it] and I wouldnt want Lewis. either. It’d be ok if we got someone young in who had time, who could take us through two elections. But no name springs to mind. It’s been a problem for years.

  43. Quint
    I don’t think there is any shortage of talent I just think none are the complete article if for no other reason than those on the right of the party that might make good leaders (Stella Creasey, Dan Jarvis and I’ve even heard talk of Labs PPC for Lewisham Wet Ellie Reeves) who are actually really good but who will probably be only too happy to capitulate to the inevitable calls from the media post election which will totally airbrush Corbyn out of the equation and claim that we lost cos the manifesto was too left wing. If nothing else such candidates will shoot themselves it the foot and scupper their own chances of being selected by going down that route.

    As for those on the left even the very best on offer (Clive Lewis or Angela Rayner) are massive gambles that I’m not sure I want to take. Hence for the time being I’m wedding myself to Starmer, a (hopefully) safe pair of hands that will keep us broadly rooted on the left while we find our feet again.

  44. Angela Rayner “the very best on offer”?

    She’d be quite good as the latest barmaid in the Rovers Return.

    As a politician she makes Corbyn look effective.

    Labour need an experienced greybeard to steady the ship and nurture some proper new talent.

  45. Angela Rayner makes Rebecca Long Bailey look good!!

  46. “Angela Rayner makes Rebecca Long Bailey look good!!”

    Yes, RLB sounds like an old etonian in comparison.

  47. Impressed that Rayner has a 21 year old son, given she was born in 1980. quick work!

  48. Ladbrokes’ Odds on next Labour Leader:

    Yvette 5/2
    Keir S 11/2
    Dan J 10/1
    Clive L 12/1
    Rebecca L-B 12/1
    Emily T 20/1
    Angela R 20/1
    McDonnell 25/1

    What a choice is all I’ll say!

  49. Yvette surely…

    she can be the Michael Howard of the labour party. Dull, rather worthy, self-consciously school swot-like but without any flair or brilliance. Stable, competent, diligent, forensic and steady. what the left needs right now.

  50. HH/Peter
    The snobbery faced towards Rayner has been discussed before yet you too are at it again. By all means critique her beliefs etc but her accent (shock horror I know but very common in her part of the world) and the fact she was a teen mother shouldn’t come into it. indeed critics often say Lab has lost touch with its working class voters, Rayner would be the first party leader in decades to be genuinely working class

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