General Election

General Election 2024: Constituency betting guide to the 2024 UK election

Rishi Sunak waving
Which MPs will we be waving goodbye to after the 2024 General Election?

From Tories in trouble to unlikely Labour losers, politics betting expert Paul Krishnamurty outlines the constituencies that count in the 2024 UK General Election...

  • Which constituencies will decide the 2024 UK general election?

  • Paul Krishnamurty uncovers the seats that count in his essential guide

  • Keep up to speed with all the General Election betting news in our live blog

Betting for all 650 parliamentary seats is now live on the Betfair Exchange. The number which can be legitimately deemed as either likely to change hands, or competitive, is higher than any election in history. Perhaps up to 400. In this ongoing article, I will provide a brief analysis for 100 key seats, with some tips on the more attractively priced ones.The seats are split into 10 sections, starting with a batch that will very likely be won by Labour, should they win a majority. On the revised boundaries, Labour need to gain 124 seats to achieve that majority. Their target seats list can be found here, ranked in order of the swing required.

All of these ten are ranked below 124th. That's because no list of this nature ever works out perfectly, as swing differs depending on a range of factors. These ten were selected because they should probably be higher up the list, were that wider range of factors taken into consideration.

Given the very one-sided betting on a Labour Majority, they will be very short odds for all of these. Some bettors are happy to bet at very short odds, but we don't tip at that level on these pages. Beyond betting on the constituencies, it is well worth making a note of these in order to monitor the progress of the parties during the closing stretch of the campaign and on election night itself. If Labour starts falling behind in MRP projections for these seats, or losing them as results come in, that is a big signal that they are falling short of a majority.

Finally, before starting the list, below are three links to the projections discussed. YouGov, FT and Electoral Calculus will all update their numbers from those mentioned in the text between now and election day, so do check back. If you want to go in-depth for each seat, I recommend Electoral Calculus. Their demographic indicators have proven invaluable during this recent period of re-alignment. They use three measures to define each electorate - Economic, National and Social - and place them in 'seven tribes'. See here for the explanation.

*Note added 20th June. YouGov have published a new MRP and the results are considerably worse for the Conservatives than the numbers referenced in the first five batches of constituencies.

Electoral Calculus



Ten seats that could signal a Tory wipeout

The news just gets worse and worse for the Conservatives. Today's Ipsos poll has them down another 4% to 19% - their joint-lowest share in that firm's history. Furthermore, the same firm estimates tactical voting is twice the level of 1997, when the party suffered their worst ever result.

Do look further down the list as tactical voting is discussed regarding dozens of targets, particularly where the Lib Dems are the challengers. The following batch of ten, though, are at the extreme end of expectations. All are ranked in the Tories' 100 safest seats. There are several among that 100 which they are either likelier to hold or lose. These ten are the most exciting betting heats and, if losing any of them, the Tories are unlikely to reach 100.


Conservative Defence: 372

What clearer signal of how bad things could get for the Tories than the fact their mathematically safest seat is rated a toss-up? The latest YouGov MRP placed the Tories just 1% ahead of Reform and 3% of Labour. That is much closer than FT and EC, who have Labour in second. However the demographics of this East Coast seat - 72% Leave vote, under-educated - look ripe for Reform and if they are to surge late, this must be on their list. Reform were available at 10.09/1 today and those odds look way too big.


Conservative Defence: 361

Slightly further up the East Coast and almost as safe based on the starting numbers, this mixture of rural and industrial constituency also looks increasingly vulnerable. All three of our models still project a Tory win but the gap with Labour is down to 3% with YouGov and less than 1% with FT. Reform are in the low twenties. At odds-on, the Tories are a very risky and unappealing bet.


Conservative Defence: 348

Given the Tories are still rated clearly ahead with YouGov and FT, by 8% and 6% respectively, losing Gosport could very well signal a 'Canada 93' style meltdown. They must start clear favourites. Where it could be problematic is being on the South Coast, where the sewage scandal has often been a factor. The numbers don't particularly favour Reform but the online far-Right have often targeted relatively moderate MP Caroline Dineage.


Conservative Defence: 345

With tactical voting expected on an unprecedented scale, this normally ultra-safe Tory seat looks vulnerable. It also illustrates the unique difficulty for polling models. All of our three point to the Tories and only YouGov have the Greens competitive, in second place on 20%. Yet another MRP and constituency polling has projected they will win and it is clear they are the tactical, anti-Tory choice. There are plenty of Labour and Lib Dem voters for them to squeeze and what would be a truly stunning upset has now been backed below 3.02/1.


Conservative Defence: 340

Returning to the East Coast, where the Tories seem especially vulnerable to Reform. This electorate is much older, less educated and deprived than average. Our models are split, with YouGov giving the Tories an 8% advantage compared to narrow Labour wins with EC and FT. If Reform do improve down the closing stretch, it could become a three-horse race.


Conservative Defence: 318

Losing Bromsgrove - a wealthy suburb of Birmingham where Labour never even came close during their high point, the Blair years - would be a clear signal of a Tory wipeout. All three of our models still make them favourites but the margins are only between 1-6%, and the betting has tightened, with Labour trading down to 2.56/4. Sajid Javid is standing down.


Conservative Defence: 306

This could be a tremendous indicator of tactical voting, its scale and efficacy. Yesterday's FT reported that Labour have pulled resources out of around 80 Lib Dem target seats, particularly across the South West, with this being one. Yet Labour are the choice with both FT and EC. YouGov have the Lib Dems in second and, given the advice from tactical voting websites, that looks correct. They also have Reform on 23% so it could become a three-way marginal. Those two have both been matched at double-figure odds recently, which looks big value given the Tory share is low across all our models (32% highest).


Conservative Defence: 287

That Labour are projected to win by two of our three models is another illustration of Tory plight. They have never come close before and even lost a by-election in 2021 by 20%. This is a very wealthy seat - part of the stockbroker belt. Losing this might well signal that the Tories will finish behind the Lib Dems in terms of seats, and even end up with fewer than 50.


Conservative Defence: 284

Formerly the seat of Nadine Dorries, Labour claimed it in last year's by-election in what felt like an all-time low. They have of course fallen further nationally since and the reds are hot favourites, trading around 1.51/2, to retain it. All three of our models project Labour, by margins ranging from 1-10%. One word of warning. Labour's by-election share of 34% was very low compared to other such races and Dorries had reportedly been very unpopular. In normal times, this would be a very safe Tory seat so an odds-against win shouldn't be completely dismissed.

Ten good opportunities for Reform

The big story of this campaign has been the surge from Reform UK, as their right-wing opponents have crashed and after Nigel Farage decided to stand in Clacton. From a peak of 75.074/1, the odds about them winning seven seats or more have crashed to a low of 2.568/5.

Clacton is obviously their best chance of winning a seat, but where else might be on their radar? Check out the following ten.


Conservative Defence: 371

Clacton aside, it is safe to assume this is top of the Reform target list, since Richard Tice switched from Hartlepool to run here. Now they have surged to near-parity with the Tories nationally, our market has them vying for favouritism at 2.26/5 compared to 1.84/5. Our models disagree, with EC giving it to Reform by 3% from Labour, while YouGov and FT have the Tories comfortably ahead by 8 and 6%. Given Labour's proximity in these forecasts, they might be the value option at 22.021/1, especially as CON/REF hostilities deepen.


Conservative Defence: 291

Big disagreement again between our chosen models. The latest YouGov MRP had Reform up by 5% from Labour. Both FT and EC have Labour ahead by 7% and 5% respectively, with the Tories in second. Our exchange market also rates them clear favourites below 1.51/2 and is dismissive of the Tories at 17.016/1. Reform definitely have great potential here given the demographics - 72% Leave-voting, 95% white, very deprived and under-educated - and there are still plenty of Tory voters to squeeze.


Conservative Defence: 79

Another close betting heat between Reform and Labour. Whilst technically a Tory defence, defector Lee Anderson is the MP. Again the demographics suit Reform but this is part of the 'Red Wall' where Labour are generally surging. Our models disagree again, with EC and YouGov giving it narrowly to Reform, but FT rating Labour a huge 18% ahead of the Tories. It may boil down to whether Anderson is genuinely popular locally, or merely benefited from the Brexit/Boris wave of 2019.


Conservative Defence: 370

The third safest Conservative seat on paper was arguably UKIP pioneers. Former Tory MP Bob Spink quit during the 2005-10 Parliament, sat as a UKIP MP before running as an independent and faring well with 27%. The demographics are again perfect for Reform - 95% white, 73% Leave-voting, deprived, under-educated - but all three of our models still have them well below 30%. Don't be surprised if they move much further forward at the end of this campaign but they will have to remove a Tory incumbent in Rebecca Harris.


Conservative Defence: 330

Candidate selection could be critical in this Essex seat. Tory chair Richard Holden was controversially shoe-horned in uncontested and may well face a local backlash. It certainly looks a three-way marginal, with each of our models predicting a different party and Reform into 4.03/1. YouGov now have Reform marginally ahead of Labour, who are still ahead with EC. The Tories now look the outsider of three.


Conservative Defence: 346

Another fascinating three-way marginal if the latest YouGov MRP is to be believed. Their numbers have Reform just 0.1% behind the Tories, with Labour 3% down. A key factor could be the seat's position on the South Coast, where the sewage scandal has been a huge political issue. Labour's potential to grow looks limited here, presenting an opportunity for Reform to cash in on discontent at generous odds around 7.06/1.


Conservative Defence: 197

There has been discontent in this local Conservative association for a couple of years now, with reports they were struggling to find willing candidates given the local mood on the Kent coast. That hasn't deterred Damian Collins seeking a fifth term but the latest YouGov MRP has him in third, trailing Reform by 5%. All three of our models give this to Labour as it stands and they definitely start hot favourites.


Conservative Defence: 271

Our three models all rate this as principally between Tory and Labour, with only YouGov backing the former by a small margin. However my local knowledge of this seat is that the Tory candidate Andrew Rosindell is exceptionally unpopular and under a cloud, so a right-wing electorate may well switch in large numbers to Reform, who are currently trading around 7.06/1 to win the seat. Both YouGov and FT have them at 20% already, without that factored in. Labour usually struggle in Essex, too.


Conservative Defence: 316

Another coastal constituency where the Tories look vulnerable and the demographics offer potential for Reform. All three models project them in third place but YouGov now have them within 4% of Labour, while FT have them within 6% of the Tories in the lead. Odds around 6.05/1 for the insurgent party could well crash in the closing stretch, as the Tories look very opposable across the 'Sea Wall'.


Labour Defence: 371

A particularly fascinating contest, due to recent history. Hartlepool was a top UKIP target for years. They won 28% when finishing second in 2015 and Reform leader Richard Tice finished third for the Brexit Party with 26% in 2019. That probably saved Labour, given that Tories would then win a 2021 by-election by a huge 23% margin without Tice on the ballot. However his defection to Boston and Skegness speaks volumes about his lack of confidence this time, and Labour's good performance in the recent council elections means they start hot favourites.

Will these ten Tory leader candidates hold their seats?

Following on from yesterday's batch regarding senior Tories in trouble, next we look at ten leading candidates to succeed Rishi Sunak. On reflection, Suella Braverman should have been in this batch as she must be rated heavily odds-on to win Fareham and Waterlooville and is also trading much shorter for party leader than many of these.

Next Conservative Leader Odds


Conservative Defence: 367

When betting on Next Tory leader, we must remain alive to the possibility of a genuine 'Canada 93' style meltdown, where only a dozen or so MPs survive. In that case, the Environment Secretary must come into the argument at odds around 50.049/1. He's held numerous important Cabinet roles and his safe is one of the very safest. YouGov rate him 9% up on Labour, 11% on Reform. Technically, given the uncertainty, especially about a Reform surge, that isn't safe. But if Barclay loses, there will be very few Tory MPs.

CLACTON (Nigel Farage)

Conservative Defence: 364

You may ask, why is Nigel Farage in this section despite running for Reform, in the 13th safest Conservative seat? Well, his transparent plan all along has been to usurp or takeover the Conservatives. Reform is a limited company, not a conventional party, which he could wind up at any time. There is a very high chance he will defect to the Conservatives if elected to Parliament at the eighth time of asking. He's currently available to back at 9.417/2 to be next leader.

As for Clacton, this hand-plcked seat has the perfect demographics for Reform. It was the only seat won by UKIP at a general election. The latest YouGov MRP rates them 20% ahead. The only danger would be a ruinously split right-wing vote, with the Conservatives, UKIP plus the original Reform candidate, Tony Mack, who is running as an Independent also on the ballot. In that scenario, Labour could plausibly come through the middle at odds around 8.88/1.


Conservative Defence: 362

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins appeared to be in one the safest seats but the new YouGov numbers have her losing narrowly to Reform. The electorate of this market town is relatively very old, under-educated, deprived. If the Reform surge is real and/or gathers further steam, they could certainly take this seat and its notable that they appear to be taking votes from Labour too. Odds of 8.07/1 appeal at least as a trade.


Conservative Defence: 359

Yet another signal of the peril facing the Tories is that this new constituency, formed entirely from an extremely safe seat, is regarded a toss-up. YouGov have the Tories less than 4% up and, based on earlier numbers, EC and FT only had the lead at 6%. The candidate, Danny Kruger, is a defacto leader of the nascent, hard-Right 'National Conservatives'. If holding on, odds of 44.043/1 for the leadership will appeal.

TONBRIDGE (Tom Tugendhat)

Conservative Defence: 356

Tugendhat escapes the highly vulnerable Guildford for this apparently 'safe' seat. YouGov have him 13% ahead of Labour but note, this is very different from the FT (3%) and EC (6%) numbers. Formerly an army officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tugendhat looks sure to be the standard bearer of the moderate wing of the party and his odds have duly crashed to single figures.

BRAINTREE (James Cleverly)

Conservative Defence: 354

The Home Secretary, formerly Foreign Secretary, has the perfect profile for the job but is locked in an increasingly perilous three-horse race. YouGov now score it CON 34/LAB 31/REF 22. This constituency voted for Labour in 1997 and 2001, and Essex looks fertile territory for Reform. With the Tory campaign in meltdown, Cleverly could well be in trouble.

WITHAM (Priti Patel)

Conservative Defence: 353

Dame Priti Patel faces a similar three-way fight in nearby Witham, but the YouGov numbers are slightly more favourable at 36/28/20. As a longstanding, prominent Brexiteer, on the authoritarian Right of the party, she has a better chance than most of resisting the Reform surge, and is a personal friend of both Farage and Rupert Murdoch. Also having been out of the Cabinet for some time, Patel presumably has made more time for constituency work. Her odds have fallen rapidly to 8.615/2 and she remains my number one pick for next leader.

NORTH WEST ESSEX (Kemi Badenoch)

Conservative Defence: 307

Currently trading at 4.1 to be next leader, Badenoch has been favourite for some time and her seat appears to be even safer than the rankings suggest. YouGov rate the Tories 16% of Labour here and her case is massively helped by the resignation of the Reform candidate (although he will still be on the ballot).

CHICHESTER (Gillian Keegan)

Conservative Defence: 273

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan would be a big contender for the leadership if surviving, but the odds are increasingly against it. Chichester has always voted Conservative and was considered a three-way marginal at the beginning of the campaign. The latest YouGov numbers, however, have the Lib Dems 12% up, with Reform up and Labour markedly down. The trend makes logical sense and the yellows must be fancied.


Conservative Defence: 238

Penny Mordaunt is the most vulnerable of the leading Tory candidates, with Labour trading around 1.454/9 to win this constituency. The MRP projections differ wildly. EC and FT have Labour 14-15% ahead but YouGov just 3%. Models can't realistically take into account local factors or incumbency bias, though. Popular among a wider segment of the public than other MPs due to her role in the Coronation, and specifically in this naval constituency given her history as a naval reservist, Mordaunt may be underestimated. If you're looking for odds-against bets on Tory wins, this is one to strongly consider.

Ten senior Tories in danger of a Portillo moment

It has become a ritual of general elections since 1997 to speculate about 'Portillo Moments' but it would be remiss to not explain what that means to younger readers. Following Labour's 1997 landslide, the defeat of then Defence Secretary Michael Portillo in Enfield Southgate was voted as the third greatest TV moment of all-time. He subsequently pursued a TV career for which I would guess he is now better known.

The parallels with that election are obvious. As things stand, numerous high-profile Tories will lose their seat. The following ten are definitely vulnerable.


Conservative Defence: 116

In order of swing on the Conservative Defence list, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is the most vulnerable. Hunt actually said that he could provide a 'Portillo Moment' recently. Formerly MP for South West Surrey, he runs in this new seat comprising of part of that seat and three other competitive CON/LIB races. The electorate is very wealthy, educated and voted to Remain. A textbook 'Blue Wall' seat.

As usual, the key will be how much the Lib Dems can squeeze the Labour vote and how well Reform fare. All our projections point to the Lib Dems - in YouGov's case by a vast 15% margin. I wouldn't rule Hunt out at odds of 3.55/2, though. His profile is perfect for this electorate and, unlike many of his colleagues, isn't damaged by any recent scandals or major controversies. There are better Lib Dem targets to back.


Conservative Defence: 126

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps is one of the most recognisable Tories of the past 14 years. Labour are rated around 90% likely to unseat him according to our Exchange odds and it is very hard to see him surviving. This electorate is much younger than average, which is always bad news for the Tories, and the models project defeat by margins ranging from 11% (EC) to 18% (YouGov).


Conservative Defence: 185

Defeat for this famous, Marmite character would perfectly fit the 'Portillo Moment' tag and all three models project it, by margins ranging from 5-10%. Exchange odds give Labour a 75% chance of victory. This is a new constituency, including 55% of Mogg's former seat and 45% from the more Labour-inclined Kingswood. If Mogg-backers are searching for hope, it may lie in his consistent support for Brexit and hard Right causes, which in theory might squeeze Reform - which he absolutely must.


Conservative Defence: 209

Science Minister Michelle Donelan moves from Chippenham to what is, on paper, a slightly safer, new seat in Wiltshire, which incorporates much of her former constituency. The Lib Dems will again be the main opposition but, whereas they used to hold Chippenham and are strong favourites to regain it, they never came close in Devizes. All three models have her ahead, by between 2-6%, but that is hardly safe given the trajectory of this campaign. There is also a substantial Labour vote around 18% which may switch tactically against her.


Conservative Defence: 246

Theresa Coffey was briefly Deputy PM to Liz Truss and has represented what has always been a safe Tory seat since 2010. That Suffolk Coastal is now seen as highly marginal reflects the dire position of the party. On the model numbers, she has a chance as Labour's lead is only two points with FT and EC, while YouGov have the Tories 2% up. However Reform (20% with FT) are a major threat and could even plausibly win the seat. Coffey was the Environment Secretary presiding over the sewage scandal and widely criticised for her performance. Not a good look in a coastal constituency. I've backed Reform at 50.049/1.


Conservative Defence: 277

If re-elected, Robert Jenrick will be a frontline candidate for the Tory leadership, but it is far from clear he will make it. In recent days, he's been stressing sympathy with Reform voters, showing he understands who will determine this constituency. EC have Labour five points up but the other two models are basically tied, while FT show Reform on 18%. They have since been backed into single-figure odds. Whilst generally a safe Tory seat, Newark did elect a Labour MP in their 1997 landslide victory, which they are currently forecast to exceed.


Conservative Defence: 312

Few defeats would raise bigger cheers from non-Tory voters than former Home Secretary and likely leadership candidate Suella Braverman. It looks a big ask, however, to unseat her. These constituency boundaries have changed, making it now the 61st safest Tory seat, requiring a 22% swing. There are enough Labour and Lib Dem voters (around 45% combined) to do it if they co-ordinate tactically, but the choice is far from obvious. Only one of the three models has the Lib Dems in second, yet they are the recommendation from the tactical voting site.


Conservative Defence: 328

It speaks volumes about the potential for a Tory wipeout that Deputy PM Oliver Dowden is in real danger of losing their 35th safest seat. Two of our three models predict Labour, albeit by a whisker, with YouGov preferring the Tories by a comfortable 6%. A relatively younger and diverse electorate bodes ill for them but extremely high house prices are a big positive. Once again, Reform's performance (18% with FT), will be critical.


Conservative Defence: 343

Party leaders tend to get an extra bounce in their own constituencies and no modern Prime Minister has lost their seat. Nevertheless, Rishi Sunak is far from safe. As his personal ratings have fallen to new lows during the campaign, Labour have been backed into 3.052/1 to pull off a truly momentous upset. Sunak is rated ahead on all three models by between 5-9%, but Reform have potential here (17% with FT). Plus, based on the dealignment theory and recent local results such as the York/North Yorkshire Mayoral race, the swing against the Tories may be among the biggest in this part of England.


Conservative Defence: 360

The 13th safest Conservative seat is held by Sunak's predecessor. Losing this would normally be unthinkable but having the uniquely derided name of Liz Truss on the ballot may mean this should be much higher up the list. EC even predict a 2% Labour victory, compared to 4% and 10% with FT and YouGov. Reform also have great potential here. They can't be completely ruled out with a late surge, although likelier is they would hand it to Labour, who have been gambled into 3.259/4 for a win that would surely produce a reaction equal to Portillo's defeat in 97.

Ten Lib Dem targets which could propel them to second place

If gaining the previous ten constituencies would take the Lib Dems to easily their best result since 2010, the next target is to gain their best seats tally of the modern era. They are currently available to back at 4.47/2 to win Most Seats Without Labour. With the Tories now frequently polling sub-20%, it is certainly plausible.

Realistically, it requires winning at least 65 seats - an improvement of 57. The following ten are ones we would expect to form part of that tally, and which they might win despite falling short of the overall target.


Lib Dem target: 43

Somerset is another key battleground for the Lib Dems. Prior to their collapse in 2015, they held several seats here facing the Conservatives, and were adept at squeezing Labour's vote share. Last July, they stormed to victory in the Somerton and Frome by-election, winning twice as many votes as the Tories. The Labour vote collapsed to just 2.6%.

That constituency has been abolished with part of it merged into these new boundaries. If our three models are even vaguely close to the Tory vote share (all below 30%), the Lib Dems should win it easily. Labour achieving anything like the 27% projected by YouGov seems fantastical, especially since tactical voting websites are recommending the Lib Dems. Available at around even money at the time of writing, that looks a very solid bet.


Lib Dem target: 44

The market has already taken a strong view on the Lib Dems here. Again, a South-West seat (on the outskirts of Bristol), which they held until 2015. The tactical voting option is very obvious given the history and projections of Labour winning 15-21% look overstated. The highest Tory estimate of 34% won't be nearly enough.


Lib Dem target: 47

The Lib Dems held this seat from 1992-2015, and even went close in 2017 despite a dire national result. Granted, much of that was likely owed to the same candidate, Nick Harvey, but if they are to seriously challenge the Tories nationally, they must win seats like this. The Tories' big problem is Reform, projected up to 16% (EC), whereas Labour's projected tally (13-19%) is likelier to vote tactically. YouGov already have the Lib Dems on 42%.


Lib Dem target: 49

Tunbridge Wells has only ever elected Conservative MPs but, with former Minister Greg Clark standing down, this Kent seat becomes a three-way marginal. On paper, at least. Despite Labour being projected to win around 20%, the market dismisses their chances at odds of 22.021/1, with the Lib Dems trading at odds-on. Two of our three projections put the yellows in front before any squeeze on that Labour share, which is likelier to happen now tactical voting websites have recommended them.


Lib Dem target: 52

Another Somerset constituency which used to be solidly Lib Dem, which swung big to the Tories in 2015, but is now heavily odds-on to flip back. All three of our projections favour the yellows, but the deficit ranges from 1% with FT to 14% with YouGov. The former has Labour on a suspiciously high 18% - a tally they haven't managed in Yeovil since 1979 and which implies no tactical voting.


Lib Dem target: 54

We return to rural Oxfordshire, where the Lib Dems are campaigning hard and expected to benefit from a co-ordinated tactical voting campaign. This is a new constituency, formed from four which are all either already Lib Dem or strong LD/Labour targets. The electorate is young, wealthy, educated and voted for Remain. Fertile territory and already in the Lib Dem column from all three projections, before any tactical squeeze on Labour. A confident gain.


Lib Dem target: 57

Another key test of whether the Lib Dems can regain their former strongholds. They held this seat from 1992-2015 and are tipped to regain it by all three projections, albeit narrowly. The Labour shares (14-20%) are higher than anything they've managed here since 1951. The Tories will also likely be badly hampered by Reform here, whose share ranges from 12-17%.


Lib Dem target: 75

The Conservatives are heavily odds-on at 1.42/5 to retain Maidenhead but the upset should not be ruled out. Back in 2005, this was part of a failed Lib Dem 'decapitation strategy' of senior Tories. The MP in question was Theresa May, but the respected former PM is standing down this time and her party may now lose a substantial personal vote. Without her, this may be just as marginal as other Berkshire targets higher up the target list. All three projections point to the Tories, but appear to understate tactical voting potential and overstate Labour. Combined, they are on course to win 50%.


Lib Dem target: 76

A couple of weeks ago, I recommended Chesham and Amersham in our Election Live blog, as an indicator of how Lib Dem gains and the potential for tactically squeezing Labour were underestimated, as demonstrated in a stunning by-election three years ago, long before the Tory national vote share had collapsed. There's a wide differential between our projections, with FT showing a 2% Tory win to a 9% defeat with EC. The key once again is the Labour share, which Sarah Green is expected to squeeze as she did so effectively in 2021.


Lib Dem target: 79

Another seat where the projections differ, apparently based on the Labour share and potential for tactical voting. There is unlikely to be much confusion for tactically-inclined non-Tories, given that the Lib Dems held the seat from 1997-2015. The Labour vote did hold up in those days, but the 22% in FT's projection looks absurdly high. Expect the Tories to be squeezed by Reform too, who could plausibly finish second with a late surge. Note how far down the Lib Dem target list this seat is. If winning this many, they should be the second party in Parliament.

Ten Lib Dem targets that would signal a good performance

The Liberal Democrats won just 11 seats at the 2019 election and suffered particularly badly from the redrawing of constituency boundaries, losing three of them! This time, however, they are generally projected to win around 50, with Over 40.5 Seats currently trading at just 1.271/4. This despite still polling consistently below 15%. Why? Well, their targets are overwhelmingly held by the crisis-ridden Conservatives - 43 of the top-50 on their target list.

In the case of a smaller party like the Lib Dems, there is always a danger in reading too much into these lists, because they tend to start a long way behind, and may not necessarily be the 'real opposition'. In at least three of those 43, Labour are expected to win. So this batch will analyse ten winnable targets which one would expect them to gain, if they are to reach that 41 target and beyond.


Lib Dem target: 21

First, what should be a fairly easy gain - winning this should take them up to around 25 seats in total. When trying to identify a Lib Dem gain, look for two things. Are they well ahead of Labour, and do they have history here? They won this seat by large margins when Phil Willis was the MP from 1997, and lost it when he retired in 2010. According to our three projections, their lead ranges from 3% (EC) to 16% (YouGov), but all have Labour on at least 14%. Expect that share to collapse, as tactical voting re-emerges. Labour never bettered 8.5% during the Willis era.


Lib Dem target: 26

Next a seat with an interesting history. From winning it as a three-way marginal in 1997, the Lib Dems had squeezed Labour down below 10% by 2010. But then Chris Huhne MP was jailed, setting up an infamous by-election which arguably changed the course of history. They held on but the nascent UKIP finishing second, usurping the Tories. All elections since produced easy Tory wins, but clearly a large chunk of their vote is Reform-friendly. Already the clear opposition, the Lib Dems can probably win this with 35% and on the highest estimate (EC), are already on 44% with plenty of Labour voters left to squeeze.


Lib Dem target: 27

This constituency looks ripe for anti-tactical voting, like much of rural Oxfordshire, where a concerted effort is underway. All three of our projections give it to the Lib Dems narrowly, with the Tories on 30% at best and Labour on 20% at worst. If this seat doesn't go yellow, expect a disappointing night as there are many tougher, yet similar, targets on their radar.


Lib Dem target: 29

A similar story in this new constituency, as Surrey is a key battleground. Labour generally starts in third and is expected to be squeezed by the Lib Dems. All three of our projections have the yellows ahead, ranging from 3-6%, but with Labour on 16%. Anything less than a comfortable win will be a bad signal.


Lib Dem target: 33

Always keep an eye on where the Lib Dems are spending their limited resources to gain a clue where they are competitive. A boatful of activists managed to gatecrash a Rishi Sunak photo-op here and the PM's presence in true blue Oxfordshire speaks volumes in itself. Expect Ed Davey's message about water pollution to cut through here, aid tactical voting, and defy close projections.


Lib Dem target: 34

Newbury will be a key indicator of Lib Dem success. A seat they did hold back in their heyday, but which the Tories regained in 2005 - when they were still struggling in opposition. A wealthy, rural seat which, in normal times, votes Conservative. All our projections have it as highly marginal, with only FT preferring the Tories by a miniscule margin. Squeezing the Labour share will once again be key. The models have them around 15%, but this was only around 6% when the Lib Dems were last competitive here.


Lib Dem target: 35

Also in Berkshire, the models project almost identical numbers in Wokingham. A key difference, though, is the Lib Dems have never won or come close in this very wealthy seat. That may owe something to veteran MP and sometimes Tory leadership candidate John Redwood, who has represented Wokingham since 1987, but who is retiring. Perhaps that offers a clue.


Lib Dem target: 38

When the Best for Britain campaigning group issue their tactical voting recommendations today, this will be one of the most interesting seats. It could be a three-way marginal, and both YouGov and FT project the Tories winning narrowly with a low share. EC, however, have the Lib Dems a clear 9% ahead. If merely a fifth of Labour's 22%+ share defects, they become hot favourites. A younger than average, highly educated electorate spells bad news for the Tories.


Lib Dem target: 39

Similar comments here. The demographics are slightly more favourable to the Tories, but the high-end of their projections is 36%. The Lib Dems and Labour combined share adds up to around 50% so the tactical voting potential is clear. So is the choice, based on the wards. As with Berkshire, how the Lib Dems fare in several Cambridgeshire marginals is key to their overall performance.


Lib Dem target: 40

If Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Surrey and Berkshire are the key battlegrounds for the Lib Dems to perform well, a great performance (up to and beyond 50 seats) will require re-establishing a foothold in their former heartlands of the South West. Where a combination of their time in coalition with the Tories, and Brexit, damaged them badly. Tactical voting will again be critical, with Labour projected around 20%. The tactical choice is however, obvious based on history. This new seat includes the famously liberal Totnes.

Ten constituencies where the Tories could stem the tidal wave

The overall position for the Conservatives in this election may be grim and apparently worsening but, unless we really are looking at a 'Canada 93' style wipeout, there will be some ways to back them and win. Let's assume the line estimating they win around 100 seats is roughly correct. Well, in that scenario, they won't simply win their safest 100 seats. Elections never work like that.

Rather there will be seats deemed, on paper, to be much safer, that are saved, for a variety of reasons. The following ten, for example are ranked below 100 on their defensive list. It is perfectly possible that the Tories outperform current polls by a few percentage points, overturning what are now estimated to be small deficits, or extending small leads. Given the general climate, decent odds should be available about each of them. Backing these makes a lot more sense than backing a Tory comeback on the nationwide markets.

One more quick note to reiterate that the projections quoted were made by the polling models at the start of the campaign. They likely overestimate the Tories by a point or two given what has happened since.


Labour target 126

One might assume the 15th most vulnerable Tory seat is gone, especially since Labour have reportedly scaled back campaigning in targets where the majority is below 3000. Former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith has a mere 1604 votes in hand. But the picture is confused by ousted Labour candidate Faiza Shaheen running as an independent. Having campaigned hard for years, she is presumed to have a local following. By the lowest estimate, with ElectoralCalculus, Labour are 19% ahead. Plausibly Shaheen could wipe out that deficit and IDS may be able to add a couple of extra points due to long-term incumbency. Plus this long-term Brexiteer may be less vulnerable to Reform.


Conservative Defence 63:

The electoral dynamics in Scotland are fundamentally different in Scotland to the rest of the country, so don't be surprised if the Tories hold their own in seats they already hold. Scots also have a declining, unpopular incumbent in the SNP. Every recent election has been set against the backdrop of independence and tactical voting has come into play. Will Unionists do so again, or will the urge to remove a Tory government prevail? The estimates for this seat are typically trappy. FT split CON/SNP/LAB by just five points and EC have the difference at six. All three, however, have the Tories slightly ahead and with incumbent John Lamont standing for a sixth time here, local support could push him over the line.


Conservative Defence 124:

This is a new constituency, formed from the previous Monmouth and Newport East constituencies. The Tory candidate, David TC Davies was MP for Monmouth, so could benefit from incumbency. The party may also fare better in Wales, because Labour run the Welsh Assembly, and their leader Vaughan Gething is currently mired in a scandal. Our three projections differ considerably, with FT putting Labour 12% ahead but EC preferring the Conservatives by 3%.


Conservative Defence 139:

Some small relief here for the Tories in that Reform aren't standing. When YouGov and FT made these projections, the Reform share mostly covered their deficit. Without them, EC have the Tories within 6% and in Guy Opperheim, they have a four-term incumbent. Hexham has never elected a Labour MP. They came extremely close in their previous best year of 1997, losing by 222 votes, leaving Hexham as the Tories' only seat in the North-East.


Conservative Defence 160:

Again, the Tories will be hoping incumbency enables their candidate to outperform their dire polling. Chris Philp was first elected in 2015 and on our three projections, is within 8% of Labour. Also, it won't be a huge surprise if Labour underperform in and around London, having performed so much better there than the national trend in 2019 and 2017. 'De-alignment' isn't a factor on anything like the scale in seats with the opposite demographics.


Conservative Defence 162:

Based on our three projections, this should be much further down the Conservative defence list. Indeed, all three project Joy Morrissey to win a second term. The reason for its position is that former MP Dominic Grieve ran as an Independent in 2019, in protest at Brexit. This is an extremely wealthy constituency, with an average house price of £670,000.


Conservative Defence 206:

Next another outer London seat where the Tories are at least within range of holding on - our three projections have a deficit ranging from 1-5%. They won the neighbouring Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, and their vote held up very well in Hillingdon council elections at the same time they were in freefall elsewhere. David Simmonds will hope for an incumbency boost.


Conservative Defence 249:

Mims Davies is one of the lesser known government ministers but she may well find herself as one of the most senior Tories after this election. Formerly MP for Mid Sussex, her case has been massively helped here by Reform failing to put up a candidate. She was already ahead on our three projections with Reform in the race. Lose this, and the Tories are looking at a Canada 93 style wipeout.


Conservative Defence 261:

Andrew Mitchell is bidding for a seventh term in this wealthy suburb of Birmingham. Based on the projections, the race is very close, but the Lib Dem candidate could confuse matters. John Sweeney - a former BBC journalist, most recently doing heroic work in Ukraine - is not sparing either side, railing against Mitchell over the Rwanda policy and Labour over their performance at Birmingham City Council. He's visiting every pub in the constituency and getting traction. Mitchell's personal vote could get him over the line in a confusing race.


Conservative Defence 268:

No incumbency factor here but perhaps a family tie can help the Tories. Aphra Brandreth is the daughter of Giles - the TV presenter who represented City of Chester during the 1990s. The race is projected to be close regardless, with YouGov showing a Tory win by 5% compared to smaller Labour wins with EC and FT. This is a very wealthy, educated electorate, which voted to Remain in the EU, so de-alignment may not be such a factor here.

Ten constituencies Labour must win for a majority


Labour target 126

Colchester hasn't elected a Labour MP since the 1940s, but it wasn't always a safe Conservative seat either. The Lib Dems held it until 2015 but Labour have since usurped them as the main opposition. The electorate is much younger than the national average and better educated, due to the University of Essex. The Labour advantage ranges here from 21% with YouGov to 8% with FT, and it looks a fairly straightforward gain.


Labour target 130

This is a new constituency including and around Wakefield, Yorkshire. The swing from CON-LAB has been higher than average in this county, as seen in the recent York and North Yorkshire Mayoral Election. Electoral Calculus define this electorate as 'Centrists' and estimate they would have voted Conservative in the last three elections. Our three projections point to an easy Labour gain, by margins ranging from 14% to 18%.


Labour target 131

The MP in this constituency, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke, has been publicly warning for months of the looming Tory catastrophe, and is perfectly positioned in this 'Red Wall' seat to know. Clarke gained the seat narrowly in the 2017 and retained it by a huge 24% margin in the 'Brexit election' of 2019. (This electorate voted Leave by 65-35.) The estimated Labour advantage now ranges from 15% to 25%, with FT projecting the higher number.


Labour target 134

Another heavily pro-Brexit area (71/29 according to the EC calculation) provides this new constituency. Without that on the ballot, a huge swing to Labour is projected. FT estimate a 24% swing, which would put Labour the same percentage ahead, while the lowest of our three estimates, with YouGov, projects a 17% winning margin. This probably isn't surprising, given very high levels of deprivation. 'Levelling Up' hasn't materialised here.


Labour target 137

Keir Starmer has been campaigning in Basingstoke, which may have raised a few eyebrows among election veterans. Labour has never won this Hampshire seat and yet are widely forecast to do so easily this time, by margins ranging from 11% with FT to 15% with EC. It is notably younger and wealthier than the national average, which quite dramatically demonstrates the recent re-alignment.


Labour target 142

Another enormous swing looks on the cards here. The Tories won Telford by 25% in 2019, yet are projected to lose by up to 24% (EC). That is less surprising than the likes of Basingstoke, though, as Labour did hold the seat until 2015. Only in the 2019 election did it swing heavily against them - doubtless related to the fact this was a 67-33 Leave seat in the EU referendum.


Labour target 148

Another new constituency - this time with median demographic indicators. According to the notional numbers from past elections, it once again fits the Brexit/re-alignment trends. Labour would have been the winners in 2015 (when losing big nationally), before the Conservatives moved ahead after Brexit (62% voted Leave). This time, our three projections range from a 12% Labour advantage (YouGov) to 20% (FT).


Labour target 151

The post-Brexit theme continues in this ex-mining area. Solidly Labour since 1929, Bassetlaw voted by a 68/32 margin to leave the EU and subsequently swung by a huge 18.5% from LAB-CON in 2019. Without that totemic issue on the ballot, it is projected to swing by an even bigger margin back to its roots. Once again FT project the largest 'dealignment swing' with a 21% Labour lead, compared to 14% with YouGov. Either way, it doesn't look competitive.


Labour target 156

Though far away from the 'Red Wall', this Essex seat also fits the Brexit trends. Thurrock voted to Leave by 71/29 although that is where similarities end. This seat is much younger and ethnically diverse, and swung to the Tories much earlier, in 2010. It is clearly projected to return to Labour by a margin ranging from 16% with YouGov, to 22% with EC.


Labour target 158

High-profile former army officer and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer is widely projected to lose here, despite a large armed services population. Whilst on the SW coast, the dynamics are similar to much of the Red Wall. A 67-33 vote for Leave, high levels of deprivation. Mercer first won it in 2015 and vastly expanded his majority in 2019. YouGov project he will lose it by a 12% margin, while EC and FT estimate a 20% Labour advantage.


Note the consistent differences between our three sets of projections. In the areas where re-alignment was most stark - where electorates are older, less ethnically diverse, with fewer graduates - FT shows the higher swings, YouGov the lowest. In the areas where the reverse is true - Basingstoke or Colchester, for example - YouGov show the higher swings, FT lower. I am more inclined to trust the FT numbers, given clear evidence of 'dealignment' in recent local and by-elections.

Now read our latest on the 2024 UK General Election


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