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. Well, the fact is that this election has come too soon after the 2015 debacle for the Lib Dems, which may be one reason May called it.. they needed a few more cycles of local elections to get back on track. I think they were set to do very well in the Gorton by-election, and would have done much better in the County Elections if the GE had not been called, and would have been up to around 15% in the polls by now. But the GE has polarised opinion and all the smaller parties are struggling to be heard in this election campaign, where Farron contrived to walk into various traps at the start as well.

    I don’t trust any of the election seat models as far as the Lib Dem held seats are concerned, because the samples of relevant voters are too small. However there is currently a swing from Tory to Lib Dem in London, giving them a fair chance there, and a good chance of some gains in Scotland if the SNP vote stays down. All the polls show a lot of churning between the parties, which may be averaging some big differences between seats..

  2. I have overlooked that according to YouGov the LibDems have got prospects in several small town Southern English seats where they have an existing base e.g. : Bath, Cheltenham, Eastbourne and Lewes. They could well pick up three or four of these to offset losses in rural seats and large provincial cities.

    The LibDems in particuar appear to be coming nowhere in the rural South-West where they had a string of successes in 2010.

  3. I think you are paying too much attention to the Yougov constituency prediction, which looks very dodgy!

    Bath is obviously the most vulnerable Tory seat, with one of the lowest Tory votes, but the tactical voters have to sort themselves out.. I would be very surprised if the lib Dems gain any other seats outside London and Scotland because there is a Lib Dem to Tory swing. I have a feeling St Ives may be an exception for extremely local reasons…

  4. I think the LD/Tory vote switch will be very localized in general. I think, gain or no, the LDs will be doing better in Cheltenham, Oxford W, Lewes, Winchester, and Bath than in the sorts of seat they used to hold in really rural parts of the SW (Taunton Deane, Yeovil, the Cornwall seats excepting St Ives and maybe North Cornwall, Devon North, etc). The possible exception here is Wells, where Tessa Munt looks set to run a pretty strong campaign and maybe get a vote rise, but still fall well (ha, pun) short.

    In general, I think the story of this election might be realignment: a lot of uneven switches, which could help the LDs in the short term (more seats) but hurt in the long term (worse position for recovery in SW).

    They also seem to be doing better in the SE than SW.

    Agree with Andrew about YouGov’s dodginess. Also notable that basically none of the prediction sites are in agreement on the LDs at all (I had a post about that I think on the LibDem targets page).

    I agree that Farron is very non-London establishment; Lamb would have been more so.

    My current guess is that the LDs will get one of Cheltenham, Bath, and Oxford West, then it’s 50/50 in Lewes, and they’ll be close in RP, Twickenham, K&S, and C&W, may win all, may win none, may split.

    N Norfolk will be close, Southport will be a loss, Sheffield Hallam and Leeds NW are 50/50 (maybe 40/60 against in Leeds NW). Westmoreland should stay in line barring a shock, O&S and Ceredigion should be holds, and I think they’ll get 1-2 of Edinburgh W, E Dunbartonshire and NE Fife.

    So: 9, maybe? But possibly as low as 3-4 or as high as 12-14.

  5. I am very dubious about predicting a LIbDem/PC contest like Ceredigion without being on the ground in the constituency.

    It is clea that the LIBdems are failing to make progress in Wells. It has been pointed out to me that St. Ives in Cornwall is the only rural South-West seat in which the LIbDems are in with a chance.

  6. Probably true, yes. They’re competitive otherwise in just Bath and Cheltenham, which are decidedly non-rural.

  7. Scottyboy “I only joined the site recently”


    I seem to recall your SNP ramping around 6 months ago.

    It’s not a problem, but we are well used to people popping up the week of a GE and pretending to be impartial newbies. Heavens, even Paul Wray’s straw polls pop up every GE.

  8. Oh god, the horrid straw polls…

    And yeah, now you mention it, I recall him, too.

  9. To put it simply, if they hold any of thier seats, it’ll be portrayed as a miracle.

  10. Lib Dems, the dogs that haven’t barked this election. Most UNS projections show them losing seats… Think they’ll be lucky to get into double figures on 8%, which was their vote share in 2015, esp. since both main parties are polling roughly 5% higher than last time…

  11. Yeah, the Lib Dem problem is not their own vote share, but Labour and the Tories’. That being said, the Tories falling since the beginning of the campaign is a blessing for them. Not much of one, but still: they do better the worse the Tories do.

    The YouGov estimates (questionable) have them in contention in the following (seats that are toward the LDs, leaning or likely toward another party with LDs in second, or tossups with LDs in first or second; note that “lean” and “likely” don’t seem to be sued very consistently):

    Likely LD (3):
    Kingston & Surbiton

    Lean LD (3):
    Orkney & Shetland
    Westmoreland & Lonsdale

    Tossup (8):
    St Ives
    Oxford West & Abingdon
    Carshalton & Wallington
    North Norfolk
    Edinburgh West

    Lean Tory (2):
    Richmond Park
    North Cornwall

    Lean Labour (1):
    Sheffield Hallam

    Lean SNP (1):
    East Dunbartonshire

    Likely Labour (3):
    Bermondsey & Old Southwark
    Leeds North West

    Likely Tory (12):
    Sutton & Cheam
    Thornbury & Yate
    North Devon
    St Austell & Newquay
    Brecon & Radnorshire
    Hazel Grove

    Likely SNP (3):
    North East Fife
    Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross
    Ross, Skye & Lochaber

    I may have missed a few, but I think I got them all. If we assume the “likely” seats (maybe excepting Leeds NW, which seems a bit of an open question) all go to their “likely” parties and the leans do as well (again, maybe excepting Hallam, which, again, is a bit harder), I think a parliamentary LD party with the three “likely” LD seats, two of the three “leans,” and half the “tossups” is not totally unlikely. At this stage in the campaign, gains will almost certainly be off the Tories, if they come at all.

  12. Did you READ what I said, PT?

    No one is saying the Lib Dems will gain all or most or even the bulk of those 36 seats. I didn’t say that. Please use your ability to read to determine what I said.

    Good lord, man.

  13. well I suspect Labour/Green tactical vote will help them in places like Kingston and Surbiton but I can’t where else tbh.

  14. Here are my (final) Lib Dem predictions. There could be quite a few close contests, so picking a number is very tricky, but I’ll go with 10 seats (I’d be surprised with less than 6 or more than 13).

    Likely (4)
    Orkney & Shetland
    Edinburgh W

    Lean (4)
    E Dumbartsonshire
    Sheffield Hallam
    Leeds NW

    Tossup (5)
    NE Fife
    N Norfolk
    Richmond Park

    Unlikely but not impossible (6)
    St Ives

  15. I think it’ll be between 5-11. Currently prediction markets have:


    … So an average of 8 (7.5, actually).

  16. I think you’re more or less on the ball, though 9-12 is more the range I see.

  17. I think they’ll be left with less then the 9 they hold now and will lose 1 to 2 seats to Labour and 2 to 4 seats to the Conservatives.

  18. So, you think they’ll be on between 3 and 6 seats? Or are you predicting a gain or two?

  19. I think we will see…

    Southport-LOSS to the Tories.
    Carshalton & Wallington-LOSS to the Tories.
    Orkney & Shetland-HOLD by 500 odd votes.
    Sheffield, Hallam-LOSS to Labour
    Leeds North West-Narrow LOSS to Labour
    North Norfolk -LOSS to the Tories
    Richmond Park-Narrow LOSS to the Tories by 200 votes or so.
    Westmorland & Lonsdale-It should be a HOLD but if the Tories do really well it could be a humiliating LOSS.

  20. So, three seats?

    9-12 is my guess.

  21. I don’t see them losing Hallam, Leeds NW or W&L so they should have at least 5 seats plus the odd gain here and there

  22. The LibDems are considerably less than certainties, for various reasons, in all three of Sheffield Hallam, Leeds NW and Westmorland and Lonsdale.

    I would not like to predict either Ceredigion or Orkney and Shetland without havng local knowledge.

  23. I don’t think Paul D said they were certainties, just that he doesn’t predict it. Predictions in which I’d join, albeit less forthrightly.

  24. Have spent several hours helping the LDs up in Southport today (not my own patch). The remarkable thing is that if I hadn’t known better, I would have assumed that it was a LD/Lab marginal. In the whole time I was there I didn’t see a single Tory poster or flyer – and they’re supposed to be winning this seat (according to some pundits anyway)! Talk about shy Tories; they’re almost invisible here. The Tories seem to rely on direct communications from CCHQ and expensive wrap-arounds in the local rags.

    Experienced local LD activists I spoke to seem to be quietly confident of holding this seat now, though it’ll certainly be close again. Apparently the momentum in the last few days has been going our way, and we’re buoyed up by the awful weather forecast for tomorrow. Our polling day ground game is by all accounts vastly superior to theirs, which actually seems hardly to exist anymore. The only worry is that the strong and visible Labour campaign here may split the anti-Tory vote, but as I said there is quiet confidence here that the LDs will once again hang on in Southport.

  25. If they hold onto Southport, it’ll be the first of many miracles for the Libdems.

  26. I don’t think we’ll lose seats, net, but it’s not impossible if we have a bad night. I don’t think we’ll make particularly large gains either – I suspect 14 is about the upper end of possibilities, and 7 or 8 about the low end. I hope I’m wrong and we hit twenty, of course, but I doubt that’ll materialise!

  27. I think hitting 20 is about as likely as hitting zero. Both are on the extreme end for the LDs — maybe a 3% chance of each, at a maximum. Not impossible, but need a variety of factors to come together.

    Most likely, it’ll be between six and 15.

  28. One thing that I’ve noticed, having been a little bit active this time (for the LDs), is that the Tories hardly seem to exist any more on the ground, at least in this part of the world. Having spent three days in Southport, I can honestly say I didn’t see a single Tory poster (or any other sign of Tory activity), though plenty for LD and Labour. I acted as a teller earlier today – again no sign of any Tory counterpart. I’ve just spoken to a friend in Wirral South, which must also be a Tory target seat; again not a single Tory poster or sign of local activity anywhere.

    It seems to me that the Tory Party, in terms of activists on the ground, is not in a good way. They rely almost totally on the centrally run campaign with lots of targeted mail-shots (eg ‘letters’ from Theresa May) and phone calls, ads and wrap-arounds in the local press, and such like. Of course, it may be quite effective; we shall soon see.

    By the way, I get the impression here that Southport has been pretty well written off for the LDs. That could be premature. The local LDs have made a massive effort and are well dug in here, having won six of the last seven GEs and holding most of the council wards here, and are certainly not going to give it up without a huge fight. I think it could be very close.

  29. I’d be interested to see if there is data on whether local or national expectations are typically better (as in, the campaign central HQ vs the campaigners on the ground). I’ve heard that Tory central is not feeling good today but local campaigners are bullish. Now here, LD central giving up, locals quietly confident. Thoughts, anyone?

  30. I think the Lib Dems will lose at least five MPs but I could be wrong.

  31. Not too sure why you think LD Central Office have given up. As for Tory ‘campaigners on the ground’, as I said previously, they seem to be virtually non-existent, at least in this part of the world. OK, Merseyside is hardly a Tory stronghold, but you’d at least expect to see some sign of them in their target seats here (Southport, Wirral W, Wirral S). I’m also told they don’t seem to have much of a profile in Chester either, which I’m beginning to think Labour may hold, with increased student numbers there.

  32. MerseyLib: you said so! “I get the impression here that Southport has been pretty well written off for the LDs.”

  33. Sorry, I meant here on this forum!

  34. Oh! Understood. So the LD central office is also thinking Southport is in with a shout?

    And 14… would be good for the LDs. Though the last two exit polls were 2 above what the LDs got, though the one before was under by 9.

  35. Exit poll is truly surprising – I guess Corbyn has shattered expectation yet again.

  36. I am highly skeptical of the exit poll I have to say but we will see

    ALEX F:
    CON 324 LAB 251 LD 10 SNP 43. CON MAJ: NONE
    CON 364 LAB 211 LD 12 SNP 41. CON MAJ: 78
    CON c. 360 Lab c. 210 LD 9 SNP 43. CON MAJ: 70
    Con 348 Lab 225 LD 9 SNP 45. CON MAJ: 52
    CON: 370 LAB: 200 LD: 8 SNP 43. CON MAJ: 90
    Paul Krisnamurty (Betfair)
    CON 366 LABOUR 208 LD 6 SNP 47. CON MAJ: 82
    CON 384 Lab 190 LD 5
    CON 390 LAB 180 SNP 42 LDEM 12
    CON 368 Lab 213

    Final Con leads by pollster:
    BMG: +13
    ICM: +12
    ComRes: +10
    Panelbase: +8
    Opinium: +7
    TNS: +5
    YouGov: +7
    Survation: +1

  38. I don’t usually come on here and say ‘I told you so’ – but this is proof positive that ‘Merseylib’ was talking total nonsence in several posts re Southport, Mr Pitt:

    Cons Gain Southport

    Cons 18,541
    Lab 15,627
    LD 12,661
    UKIP 1,127

    Indeed that’s the worst result for the LDs in Southport in 50 years.

  39. Bye bye Clegg. The students have had their revenge.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.”

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

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

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

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