UK Target Seats, Part 1: London

The UK general election is only six weeks away, so it’s time to make lists of target seats for each party. In the past, news organizations (and indeed the parties themselves) would just look at what seats were relatively close in the last election (with the parties perhaps making slight regional adjustments in terms of priority and predicted swing) and go by that list. This time around, it’s a bit more complicated. In Scotland, much of the campaign will likely focus on the Independence versus Unionism argument. Even more than than that, Brexit complicates everything everywhere. For my target lists, I’ll be using both the 2015 results and Leave percentages. I may also use referendum results in Scotland and UKIP numbers (because they’ve recently been collapsing is the polls in favor of the Tories). Oh, and I’m only doing the lists for the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. Normally I’d do them for all the major parties. However, Labour will be lucky to gain any seat anywhere and the SNP is pretty much destined to only hold steady or lose seats. For now, we begin with London.


This is where the parties stand in London after 2015 (except for Richmond Park):


#1 Ilford North – 0.6% swing from Labour required, 53.3% Leave

Of all the Conservatives’ target seats in London, this is the best chance because it has it all; a tiny swing needed to flip it, a majority Leave vote, a decent UKIP number (8.9%) from which to siphon support, and Labour as the main opponent.

#2 Enfield North – 1.2% swing from Labour required, 49.2% Leave

Th only reason that this seat is second is that it barely voted for Remain. It had a 9% UKIP vote for the Tories to pad from, though, so I’d be shocked if it didn’t flip.

#3 Brentford and Isleworth – 0.4% swing from Labour required, 43.3 Leave

Despite how close this seat was last time, it’s a bit too low on Leave votes to put it at the top of the list. It’s still in the 40s, though, so that along with the tiny margin makes it the second best Remain-voting Tory target. They can also poach a few points from UKIP (5.6%), but only a few.

#4 Harrow West – 2.4% swing from Labour required, 45.1% Leave

There isn’t much to take from UKIP here, but the Leave number is good for London

#5 Ealing Central and Acton – 0.3% swing from Labour required, 29.2% Leave

This one is going to be very interesting. The razor-thin Labour margin in 2015 merits this place on the list, but the seat went over 70% for Remain. Moreover, the Greens have pledged to not run a candidate. That should make up for any votes taken from UKIP’s 3.8%.

#6 Eltham – 3.1% swing from Labour required, 52.4% Leave

This is a seat that’s been fool’s gold for the Tories. They haven’t held it since they lost it in 1997. However, I think that their fortunes are about to change. The swing needed is fairly substantial for what they’re likely to get in London, but the seat voted Leave and there’s a juicy 15% UKIP vote to poach.

#7 Hampstead and Kilburn – 1.1% swing from Labour required, 23.7% Leave

The Leave number is horrendous, but this seat was very close last time. It’s pretty wealthy, so it’s not going to like Corbynism very much. If there’s a decent swing to the Conservatives in London (or a LibDem surge that takes more from Labour), then this one should fall.

#8 Carshalton and Wallington – 1.6% swing from LibDems required, 56.3% Leave

This one is a real mixed bag. Polling says that the LibDems are surging in London, but this is a very Leave-friendly area for the capital. Also, UKIP got almost 15% here in 2015, so there’s a lot of vote for the Tories to steal. Honestly, this one is a shot in the dark, but I think the Conservatives have a good chance despite the Liberal surge.

#9 Richmond Park – 2.3% swing from Liberal Democrats required (by-election), 28.7% Leave

This is the one that should be an easy pickup, but might not be. The Tories only lost this seat in a by-election because of low turnout, the LibDems focusing all of their activists on it, and the stupidity of Zac Goldsmith for triggering the election in the first place (then running as an Independent). Even with the LibDems surging in London, this should be higher on this list. Why isn’t it, you ask? It isn’t because the Tories are being a bit dense and putting Goldsmith back up again as their candidate. It’s pretty dumb, but he still has a decent shot.

#10 Westminster North – 2.5% swing from Labour required, 33.7% Leave

As with two previous seats, the Leave number is horrible. Still, The margin isn’t bad at all. This, like Hampstead, is mostly rich areas of Inner London. With a LibDem recovery to just 2010 numbers, this seat could easily go blue.

#11 Dagenham and Rainham – 8.5% swing from Labour required, 70.3% Leave

UKIP actually came second here in 2015 (29.8%), but they should collapse here just as much as they are in the rest of the country. As you can see, this is probably the most pro-Brexit part of London. It’s very white and very poor. The BNP actually used to have some councillors here. I’m putting it this far down because of the swing required, but the votes are definitely there for a Tory win.

#12 Tooting – 2.7% swing from Labour required, 25.6% Leave

This is London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s former constituency. This area has a lot of Muslims (especially South Asian ones), and I gather that they were none too pleased by Brexit. There was a by-election that Labour won handily to replace Kahn (as it happens, with another, unrelated, Kahn). There’s not much of a UKIP vote to count on, either. Still, it was close enough in 2015 to warrant inclusion.

#13 Hammersmith – 6.8% swing from Labour required, 31.3% Leave

This is still relatively wealthy Inner London, but it has a middle-class component to it and a large Polish community. Labour got just over 50% here in 2015. However, a drop in their vote plus a LibDem surge among Remoaners in London could see the Conservatives come out the other side with a win.

#14 Erith and Thamesmead – 11.2% swing from Labour required, 54.6% Leave

Like Dagenham and Rainham, this is another mostly poor area filled with housing estates (public housing) and crumbling industry. Unlike Dagenham, it has a very large West African minority. That’s probably why it voted so much less for Leave despite being across the river from BNP-land. This one would be a stretch for Team Blue. There’s a lot of UKIP vote to take from, though (17.3%), so with a drop in Labour as well it could be done.

#15 Feltham and Heston – 11.6% swing from Labour required,  55.9% Leave

This seat has a lot of poor whites and a big South Asian (I think mostly Muslim) minority. The big industry is nearby Heathrow Airport, which is the main reason that there are poorer areas in West London in the first place. UKIP got 12.6% in 2015, so the Tories have good room to grow before they even start digging into Labour vote totals.

#16 Barking – 20.7% swing from Labour required, 60% Leave

Like Dagenham, this one is on the north side of the Thames and was an area of BNP (and now UKIP) strength. Like Erith and Thamesmead, it has a very large West African minority. UKIP got 22.2% in 2015 compared to the Tories’ 16.3% and Labour’s 57.7%. That may seem like an impossible hill to climb, but the Brexit result makes it possible.


#1 Bermondsey and Old Southwark – 4.4% swing from Labour required, 26.1% Leave

This one is almost a lock, frankly. The LibDems are surging in London, especially Inner London. Even though in the past they’ve been heavily reliant on well-liked local personalities for some seats, that’s not a problem in this seat. That’s because Sir Simon Hughes, who held this constituency from 1983 until the party collapsed around the country in 2015, is standing again this year. He should have little to no problem taking it back.

#2 Twickenham – 1.6% swing from Conservatives required, 33.3% Leave

The Tories should do very well this year, but I think it’s going to be very hard to hold this seat. That’s because, just like in Bermondsey, the popular former Liberal Democrat MP is running again. Vince Cable, who was Business secretary in the Coalition government, is returning to run again (impressive, considering that he’s 73). If the Tories perform well they could hold this one, but my money is on Cable.

#3 Kingston and Surbiton – 2.8% swing from Conservatives required, 40.8% Leave

Yet another longtime Lib Dem is trying to get his old seat back, and this time it’s Ed Davey. Davey was the Energy and Climate Minister for the Coalition, and he’s pretty popular in this area. Given that and the LibDem London surge, he should be able to snag this seat back from the Tories.

#4 Hornsey and Wood Green – 9.6% swing from Labour required, 18.2% Leave

Team Orange isn’t running an old favorite here, but they should still have a pretty good chance of retaking another one of their 2015 losses. In particular, the fact that the seat voted over 80% (!) Remain should be of much help to their Remoaner-focused campaign.

#5 Sutton and Cheam – 3.9% swing from Conservatives required, 51.3% Leave

That Leave number is going to make it very hard to take this one from the Tories. UKIP getting 10.7% in 2015 doesn’t help, either. Still, the needed swing was small enough that I had to include it.

#6 Wimbledon – 19.7% swing from Conservatives required, 27.3% Leave

This is on here due to the Brexit numbers. I highly doubt this will fall, but if the Tories crater in heavily Remain areas, it could theoretically go orange.

#7 Islington South and Finsbury – 20% swing from Labour required, 26.2% Leave

These last two are just seats that are worth them trying in because they had decent numbers before 2015 and there’s a high Remain vote. Losing a seat in islington would be quite embarrassing for Corbyn.

#8 Lewisham West and Penge – 21.4% swing from Labour required, 34.6% Leave

It’s a testament, both to how badly the LibDems did in 2015 and how well they’ve recovered in London, that I’m putting on this list a seat where they came in 5th place (!) last time.

Credit to wikipedia for the pictures. Please sound off in the comments if you have an opinion on which region I should do this for next.

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  • jncca April 29, 2017 at 2:15 am

    Thanks for this!

    24, CA-6. Part Obama, Part May, Part Christian Democrat.

    • Son_of_the_South April 29, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      You’re welcome! Which region do you want next?

      24, R, TN-09
      Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

      • BostonPatriot April 30, 2017 at 12:51 am

        I’ll always vote for Scotland but objectively speaking the North East might be interesting.

        • Son_of_the_South April 30, 2017 at 1:03 am

          North East it is! I’m saving Scotland for later because it requires referendum numbers.

          24, R, TN-09
          Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

        • Greyhound April 30, 2017 at 4:04 am

          Eh, the Northeast might still be a bridge too far for the Tories. Its just so far left of the nation (even with good Leave #s) as a whole that its kind of hard to accurately measure. We’re talking about a region that elected like 2/27 Tories . . . in 1983. There’s a reason I’ve been using “Tories might break into Tyneside” as a shorthand for “I can’t believe how amazing this poll is for them”.

          R, 27, CA-18. Anti-Anti-Trump

          • Son_of_the_South April 30, 2017 at 10:58 am

            Well, there are a few good targets there this time around.

            24, R, TN-09
            Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

      • Red Oaks April 30, 2017 at 10:12 am

        I would like to see the West Midlands. It is historically one of the most balanced areas between the two major parties but it was the most pro-leave region last year.

        MI-03: Tired of Presidency; Focused more on downballot races; Chris Afendoulis for State Senate

        • Son_of_the_South April 30, 2017 at 1:06 pm

          Given that there are only a few targets in the East Midlands, I think I’ll do the Midlands as one diary.

          24, R, TN-09
          Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

  • Upstater22 April 29, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I think there’s a bit of a danger in looking too much into the Brexit vote. The polls are showing a pretty big swing to Conservatives as well as showing that Conservatives are hanging on to their voters regardless of their Brexit vote. With the swing we are seeing, the 0.5% margin needed to be overcome in Ealing Central should be a slam dunk, even though it is 70% Remain.

    Per the guy over at Electoral Calculus, the polling isn’t showing a huge swing of Remain voters going over to the LibDems.

    I guess the only caveat is that they of course expect a uniform swing, but I can envision a situation where London Remainers would be more apt to switch their vote to LD than rural Remainers (ie, it would be more likely for LDs to pick up one of their old London Remain seats such as Twickenham than it would be to pick up one of their old South West Remain seats like Bath).

    Conservative, because facts are more important than feelings

    • VastBlightKingConspiracy April 29, 2017 at 10:46 am

      They’re predicting 422 seats for the Tories. That would be the best Tory performance…ever.

      I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Republican.

      • GOPTarHeel April 29, 2017 at 11:17 am

        No, the Labour Party dropped to under 60 seats in the 1930s.

        R/NC. Waiting for a non-ossified establishment or sane populists. Not optimistic.

      • Son_of_the_South April 29, 2017 at 1:13 pm

        Stanley Baldwin got 470 seats (and 55% of the PV) in 1931.

        24, R, TN-09
        Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

        • GOPTarHeel April 29, 2017 at 1:33 pm

          Winning an election in the 1925-30 period really was a poisoned chalice.

          R/NC. Waiting for a non-ossified establishment or sane populists. Not optimistic.

        • Jon April 29, 2017 at 1:53 pm

          However, dispite that large number of seats for the Tories won in 1931; MacDonald (National Labour which only won 13 seats) remained the Prime Minister until 1935!

          45, M, MO-02

          • VastBlightKingConspiracy April 29, 2017 at 8:03 pm

            Amazingly, the cabinet had a roughly even National Labour/Conservative split. 9 National Labour, 11 Conservative. Which meant that almost every National Labour MP got to be a cabinet member!

            I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Republican.

          • Greyhound April 29, 2017 at 8:46 pm

            Yeah, because it was a National Unity government formed by MacDonald to fight the Great Depression, but the broader Labor party disapproved of MacDonald’s decision to form it (seeing the Depression as an opportunity to push for full Socialism), so it was basically a coalition of Moderates & Conservatives voting for the Tories and a handful of national Labor members. Its like if the SPD in 1983 formed a coalition with Thatcher instead of the Liberals.

            R, 27, CA-18. Anti-Anti-Trump

    • Son_of_the_South April 29, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Given the recent polling in Wales and Scotland (and the regional breakdowns of England) I’m expecting there to NOT be a uniform swing. Also, polls have consistently shown a UKIP collapse to the Tories, so I’m taking that into account.

      24, R, TN-09
      Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

  • MosheM May 2, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks SOTS!

    I know too little about the UK to comment.
    I’m planning on being in Hackney next week.

    29, M, R, NY-10

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