Lib Dems in 1st or 2nd place in almost 300 seats across UK

One of the least known facts about the last parliament, and which deserved to be more widely publicised, was that the Lib Dems were either in first or second place in 250 constituencies across the UK – which made the media’s tired and almost exclusive concentration on Labour and the Tories for most of the last five years all the more irritating.

Well, for all the disappointment of last Thursday’s election results, the party has by one measure at least made a big stride forward, as Anthony Wells’ UK Polling Report makes clear:

The notional 2005 figures had the Lib Dems holding 62 seats and in second place in 188. Following the 2010 election the Lib Dems hold 57 seats, but are in second place in 242. On the 2005 notional figures the Lib Dems were within 10% of the winning party in 31 seats, now they are within 10% in 45 seats.

So there are now 299 seats in which the Lib Dems are either the incumbents or the challengers: that’s almost half the entire UK.

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This entry was posted in General Election and News.


  • Indeed. In Colne Valley we had Lab > Con > Lib Dem in 2005. Our Labour MP retiring levelled the playing field somewhat, and we ended up with Con > Lib Dem > Labour this time round. We had strong candidates from both Conservative and Lib Dem parties, although the Conservative being someone “off the telly” and an avid supporter of the local footie team probably didn’t hurt him either. It was a tough fight but we did much better than in 2005 and our Lib Dem candidate got re-elected for her local council seat where no doubt she will continue her hard work.

    The Conservative chap now better put his money where his mouth is & deliver on his promise to work with anyone from any party to get things done for our region – With Tories like that, I am quietly hopeful that our two parties can actually work something out together 🙂

  • Simon Titley 10th May '10 - 11:01am

    Another point worth making is that the Liberal Democrats were the only party to lose no deposits.

    The Tories lost two – Glasgow East (4.5%) and Na h-Eileanan an Iar (4.4%).

    Labour lost 5 (all tight Lib Dem vs. Con marginals): Eastbourne (4.8%), Somerton and Frome (4.4%), Newbury (4.3%), Cornwall North (4.2%), Westmorland and Lonsdale (2.3%).

    As you’d expect, all the minor parties lost deposits by the bucketful.

    More factoids here:

  • Here is the result from Somerton & Frome:

    David Heath Liberal Democrat 28,793 47.5 +3.8
    Annunziata Rees-Mogg Conservative 26,976 44.5 +1.9
    David Oakensen Labour 2,675 4.4 -6.4
    Barry Harding UK Independence Party 1,932 3.2 +1.3
    Niall Warry Independent Leave-the-EU Alliance 236 0.4 +0.4

    Three questions (and they are cumulative):

    (1) Can the Labour vote be squeezed any further?

    (2) What are the people who voted Labour in 2005 but Lib Dem in 2010 going to make of Nick selling out to the Tories?

    (3) What would happen if the 2010 Labour switchers went back to voting Labour?

  • I don’t like the idea of AV. It would be like Labour and Conservatives saying to the Lib Dems “Ok, we will let you join the big boys club” – I think people who want PR would like see smaller parties also getting a few seats.

  • AV would have given Labour an even bigger majority in 1997. It’s even worse than FPTP.

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