7 May 2005


The Guardian has a good report today by Alan Travis (here) that contradicts my claim (click here) that the Tories haven’t created too many marginal seats for the next general election: he writes that no fewer than 43 Labour MPs are now vulnerable to a swing against Labour of just 2.5 per cent next time around, 35 of whom have the Tories in second position. In this election 22 Labour MPs were vulnerable to a 2.5 per cent swing (ie they had majorities of less than 5 per cent), 19 of them Tory targets.

So that’s twice as many Labour MPs in marginals – true. But my point (which I should have expressed better) was that the Tories needed to create many, many more Labour-Tory marginals than they now have to have a hope of winning a parliamentary majority – unless, of course, they do a lot better next time than this.

Labour retained a quarter of the Tories’ prime target seats this time, and a similar performance in 2009 would still leave Labour as the largest party in the Commons, maybe even (depending on how the Lib Dems do) with a majority. At best, this is the Tories’ 1987: I think they’ve got 10 more years in the wilderness on current trends. Though of course, current trends are often misleading.

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