UPDATED: Full list of Lib Dems standing in our held seats and top 50 targets

We’re 18 months from the May 2015 election so I thought it’d be useful to keep a running check on how candidate selection is going in our held and key target seats…

I published a first draft of this list at the start of October, and asked readers to help me update it – many thanks to those of you who commented here, on Twitter, via Facebook and by email and text. Here’s the latest version of the list of (re-)selections in our held seats and the top 50 targets for the party — however, I realise we’ve just gone through AGM season so please do let me know of updates to this list.

It’s a snapshot of how the party’s doing in getting people in place in the battleground seats that will determine the extent of Lib Dem influence in the next parliament:

Held seats: 31/57 MPs re-selected or candidates selected where MPs retiring (40%); 7/57 MPs retiring (12%) – 3 potential successors selected.

Top targets from Labour: 8/23 candidates selected (35%).

Top targets from Tories: 14/27 candidates selected (52%).

With 18 months to the next election, the Lib Dems have candidates in place in 22 of our top 50 targets – almost half. Realistically, seats currently held by the Tories are more likely prospects for the party. However, there remain 13 Tory seats in the overall top 50 where the party has neither selected a candidate nor yet advertised for one. Remarkably, this appears to include the Lib Dems No. 1 target (at least on paper): Camborne and Redruth, where Julia Goldsworthy was defeated by just 66 votes. If there’s one thing we know about winning seats, it’s the importance of selecting a credible candidate good and early.

How are we doing on the female:male candidate selection? Well, despite the party’s success in all three incumbent seat vacancies to date choosing women candidates, the overall picture in our held and our top 50 targets seats is less promising. To date, the Lib Dems will have eight women standing in our 57 currently held seats (a further four selections are due to take place where MPs have announced their retirement). And in the 21 of the top 50 targets which have so far selected candidates, eight (38%) are women.

Held seats:
Number of women currently expected to be standing in 2015: 8/57 (14%)

Top 50 target seats:
Number of women currently selected in 2015: 8/50 (16%)
Number of men currently selected in 2015: 14/50 (28%)

The lists below are my best understanding of the current situation. Please do let me know if you can help me update it.

Here’s the full list of the 57 MPs elected as Liberal Democrats in May 2010:

    Danny Alexander, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey – RESELECTED
    Norman Baker, Lewes
    Alan Beith, Berwick-upon-Tweed – RETIRING. Julie Pörksen selected
    Gordon Birtwistle, Burnley – RESELECTED
    Tom Brake, Carshalton and Wallington – RESELECTED
    Annette Brooke, Mid Dorset and North Poole – RETIRING. Vikki Slade selected
    Jeremy Browne, Taunton – RESELECTED
    Malcolm Bruce, Gordon – RETIRING, selection in process.
    Paul Burstow, Sutton and Cheam – RESELECTED
    Lorely Burt, Solihull – RESELECTED
    Vincent Cable, Twickenham – RESELECTED
    Menzies Campbell, North East Fife – RETIRING, selection in process.
    Alistair Carmichael, Orkney and Shetland
    Nick Clegg, Sheffield Hallam – RESELECTED
    Michael Crockart, Edinburgh West
    Edward Davey, Kingston and Surbiton – RESELECTED
    Tim Farron, Westmorland and Lonsdale – RESELECTED
    Lynne Featherstone, Hornsey and Wood Green – RESELECTED
    Don Foster, Bath
    Andrew George, St Ives
    Stephen Gilbert, St Austell & Newquay
    Duncan Hames, Chippenham – RESELECTED
    Mike Hancock, Portsmouth South
    Nick Harvey, North Devon
    David Heath, Somerton and Frome – RETIRING
    John Hemming, Birmingham Yardley
    Martin Horwood, Cheltenham – RESELECTED
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark and Bermondsey – RESELECTED
    Chris Huhne, Eastleigh – NB: Mike Thornton
    Mark Hunter, Cheadle
    Julian Huppert, Cambridge RESELECTED
    Charles Kennedy, Ross, Skye and Lochaber – RESELECTED
    Norman Lamb, North Norfolk
    David Laws, Yeovil
    John Leech, Manchester Withington – RESELECTED
    Stephen Lloyd, Eastbourne
    Michael Moore, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
    Greg Mulholland, Leeds North West – RESELECTED
    Tessa Munt, Wells
    John Pugh, Southport
    Alan Reid, Argyll and Bute
    Dan Rogerson, North Cornwall
    Bob Russell, Colchester – RESELECTED
    Adrian Sanders, Torbay – RESELECTED
    Robert Smith, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine – RESELECTED
    Andrew Stunell, Hazel Grove – RETIRING. Lisa Smart selected.
    Ian Swales, Redcar
    Jo Swinson, East Dunbartonshire – RESELECTED
    Sarah Teather, Brent Central – RETIRING
    John Thurso, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
    David Ward, Bradford East – RESELECTED
    Steve Webb, Thornbury & Yate
    Simon Wright, Norwich South
    Mark Williams, Ceredigion – RESELECTED
    Roger Williams, Brecon and Radnorshire
    Stephen Williams, Bristol West – RESELECTED
    Jenny Willott, Cardiff Central – RESELECTED

And here are the party’s top 50 targets (as listed by UK Polling Report):

    1. Camborne and Redruth (Con, maj: 66) Swing required 0.08%
    2. Oldham East and Saddleworth (Lab, maj: 103) Swing required 0.12% Richard Marbrow selected
    3. Oxford West and Abingdon (Con, maj: 176) Swing required 0.16% Layla Moran selected
    4. Ashfield (Lab, maj: 192) Swing required 0.2% Jason Zadrozny selected
    5. Sheffield Central (Lab, maj: 165) Swing required 0.2% Selection in process
    6. Edinburgh South (Lab, maj: 316) Swing required 0.36%
    7. Truro and Falmouth (Con, maj: 435) Swing required 0.45% Simon Rix selected
    8. Newton Abbot (Con, maj: 523) Swing required 0.55% Richard Younger-Ross selected
    9. Chesterfield (Lab, maj: 549) Swing required 0.6% Julia Cambridge selected
    10. Swansea West (Lab, maj: 504) Swing required 0.71%
    11. Hull North (Lab, maj: 641) Swing required 0.96% Mike Ross selected
    12. Rochdale (Lab, maj: 889) Swing required 0.97% Selection in process
    13. Harrogate and Knaresborough (Con, maj: 1039) Swing required 0.98% Helen Flynn selected
    14. Watford (Con, maj: 1425) Swing required 1.29%
    15. Hampstead and Kilburn (Lab, maj: 42) Swing required 1.51% Maajid Nawaz selected
    16. Montgomeryshire (Con, maj: 1184) Swing required 1.75% Jane Dodds selected
    17. Edinburgh North and Leith (Lab, maj: 1724) Swing required 1.82%
    18. St Albans (Con, maj: 2305) Swing required 2.19% Sandy Walkington selected
    19. Newport East (Lab, maj: 1650) Swing required 2.39%
    20. Weston-Super-Mare (Con, maj: 2691) Swing required 2.56% Mike Bell selected
    21. Hereford and Herefordshire South (Con, maj: 2481) Swing required 2.57% Lucy Hurds selected
    22. Devon West and Torridge (Con, maj: 2957) Swing required 2.68%
    23. Winchester (Con, maj: 3048) Swing required 2.73% Jackie Porter selected
    24. Northampton North (Con, maj: 1936) Swing required 3.09%
    25. Cornwall South East (Con, maj: 3220) Swing required 3.25% Phil Hutty selected
    26. Bristol North West (Con, maj: 3274) Swing required 3.25%
    27. Durham, City of (Lab, maj: 3067) Swing required 3.32%
    28. Dorset West (Con, maj: 3923) Swing required 3.42% Ros Kayes selected
    29. Richmond Park (Con, maj: 4091) Swing required 3.45% Robin Meltzer selected
    30. York Outer (Con, maj: 3688) Swing required 3.46% Nick Emmerson selected
    31. Streatham (Lab, maj: 3259) Swing required 3.48%
    32. Derby North (Lab, maj: 613) Swing required 3.65% Lucy Care selected
    33. Pontypridd (Lab, maj: 2785) Swing required 3.8% Mike Powell selected
    34. Newcastle upon Tyne North (Lab, maj: 3414) Swing required 3.89%
    35. Aberdeen South (Lab, maj: 3506) Swing required 4.07%
    36. Islington South and Finsbury (Lab, maj: 3569) Swing required 4.1% Terry Stacy selected
    37. Birmingham Hall Green (Lab, maj: 3799) Swing required 4.16% Selection in process
    38. Romsey and Southampton North (Con, maj: 4156) Swing required 4.25%
    39. Colne Valley (Con, maj: 4837) Swing required 4.37%
    40. Oxford East (Lab, maj: 4581) Swing required 4.44% Selection in process
    41. Bosworth (Con, maj: 5032) Swing required 4.64% Michael Mullaney selected
    42. Chelmsford (Con, maj: 5110) Swing required 4.68%
    43. Bristol South (Lab, maj: 4734) Swing required 4.9%
    44. Totnes (Con, maj: 4927) Swing required 5.15%
    45. Cambridgeshire South East (Con, maj: 5946) Swing required 5.17%
    46. Ealing Central and Acton (Con, maj: 3716) Swing required 5.2% Jon Ball selected
    47. Warrington South (Con, maj: 1553) Swing required 5.45%
    48. Wrexham (Lab, maj: 3658) Swing required 5.55%
    49. Dunfermline and Fife West (Lab, maj: 5470) Swing required 5.59%
    50. Tewkesbury (Con, maj: 6310) Swing required 5.85%

For the record, these are the 13 seats we lost in May 2010 (all feature above, in the top 50 targets):

    Romsey (Sandra Gidley, 2000-10)
    Falmouth and Camborne (Julia Goldsworthy, 2005-10)
    Oxford West and Abingdon (Evan Harris, 1997-2010)
    Chesterfield (Paul Holmes, 2001-10)
    Richmond Park (Susan Kramer, 2005-10)
    Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik, 1997-2010)
    Dunfermline and West Fife (Willie Rennie, 2006-10)
    Rochdale (Paul Rowen, 2005-10)
    Newton Abbot (Richard Younger-Ross, 2001-10)
    Winchester (Mark Oaten, 1997-2010: retired)
    Hereford & S. Herefordshire (Paul Keetch 1997-2010: retired)
    Harrogate and Knaresborough (Phil Willis, 1997-2010: retired)
    Cornwall South East (Colin Breed, 1997-2010: retired)

The party publishes information on the overall diversity of candidates selected so far (though note this includes all candidates, in seats both winnable as well as those which, alas, aren’t)…

Parliamentary Candidates standing for 2015 General Election

Figures valid as of 01/07/2013 (to be updated every 6 months when selections start)

The total number of candidates currently selected – 38

Total number of selected women – 12 (32%)

Total number of selected candidates identifying as Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority (BAME) – 1 (3%)

Total number of selected candidates identifying as LGBT – 1 (3%)

Total number of selected candidate who identify as disabled – 1 (3%)

Total number of candidates aged
18-24 – 0 (0%)
25-34 – 6 (16%)
35-44 – 11 (29%)
45-54 – 10 (26%)
55+ – 8 (21%)

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News and Selection news.


  • “If there’s one thing we know about winning seats, it’s the importance of selecting a credible candidate good and early.” – so writes Stephen Tall.

    Irony ???

  • David Ward, Bradford East – RESELECTED

    So has David Ward been allowed back into the parliamentary party?
    He was suspended.
    Or is he on probation?
    Is he allowed to be a Liberal Democrat candidate so long as he does not upset any rich funders of the party leadership?

  • Cllr Simon Rix selected in Truro and Falmouth.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Dec '13 - 11:08am

    What about number of candidates who came from a working class background? I’m only really interested in the person’s policies anyway, but if we are going to split the public up into underrepresented groups then we shouldn’t leave one big one out of it.


  • North East Fife selection process is underway.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Dec ’13 – 11:08am
    What about number of candidates who came from a working class background?

    Well Eddie, my guess is NIL, but I would be delighted to be proved wrong.

    Always difficult to assign class without full information. A good indicator would be the schools attended by the candidates. It would be interesting to know how many of the selected Liberal Democrat candidates on the list went to private or fee-paying schools. ? How many went to state schools?

    Not many state comprehensives or even grammar schools represented in Clegg’s choice of ministers.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Dec '13 - 11:54am

    John Tilley, the comprehensive or grammar school test was the one that immediately sprung to my mind too. I’m not a big identity politics person, but having positive discrimination and not including the poor is just furthering discrimination against this group. We shouldn’t have privileged people in parliament lining up the austerity axe against the poor outside.

  • I went to a fee paying school. I have a postgraduate degree from a good university. Still working a minimum wage job. Still scrimping and scraping to find rent and food money. Would never be able to afford the time money or energy to get selected never mind elected.

    What school you attended is by no means an infallible indicator.

  • 30% women is actually not bad given how many incumbents are men. But we had a higher proportion of women candidates (including those replacing retiring men) for the seats we lost last time.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Dec '13 - 12:44pm

    Good point Jennie, it would be better to just rely on honesty. I’m really not comfortable with discriminating against people because of their background, rich or poor, gender or whatever, I’m just saying excluding the poor from diversity measures is a form of negative discrimination. The party should try to ensure we don’t discriminate against any groups.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Dec '13 - 12:45pm

    Any underrepresented groups I mean, that should be a non controversial point.

  • Steve Griffiths 14th Dec '13 - 2:02pm


    “What school you attended is by no means an infallible indicator.”

    No it isn’t, but it makes for better policy and decision making to have candidates, MPs and councillors from many backgrounds, especially those that have experiences of living in social housing, state education and on low incomes. My comments here are the same as those I made on LDV, at:

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-which-side-are-we-on-37311.html and at https://www.libdemvoice.org/john-major-class-warrior-37139.html

    As we seem to have fewer MPs and candidates these days from such backgrounds, our policy making is poorer and the Lib Dems look more and more out of touch with the lives of ordinary people. It begins with candidate selection.

  • paul barker 14th Dec '13 - 4:02pm

    Surely for Liberals the only way to decide which class someone “belongs to” is to ask them. If someone thinks they are working class they are. We dont use “objective” tests to determine gender or sexuality so why apply them to Class identity ?
    Wealth/Income/Poverty can be measured , Identity is subjective.

  • Richard Marbrow 15th Dec '13 - 12:02am

    Hi there John Tilley, your guess of NIL is wrong.

    I went to a comprehensive (de Ferrers in Burton on Trent if you want to look it up) and went through Liverpool University on a full grant in the 1990’s when they were not easy to get.

    My degree isn’t even a politics one.

    Feel free to carry on with the sweeping generalisations based on no evidence though, it is great fun for those of us on the list to be castigated based on ignorance.

  • Richard Marbrow 15th Dec ’13 – 12:02am
    Hi there John Tilley, your guess of NIL is wrong.

    Hi Richard Marbrow, I am delighted to be proved wrong.
    If you check back – I said I would be.
    Nobody was being “castigated” as you put it. Quite the opposite. If we can compile a list of Liberal Democrats candidates from similar backgrounds to yours it can only be good for the party.
    Indeed if we could demonstrate that we had a higher percentage of candidates from non-privileged backgrounds than say The Labour Party I think it would be a very useful card to play.
    What do you reckon the percentage might be?
    Are there others reading this who could join the list?

  • paul barker 14th Dec ’13 – 4:02pm
    Surely for Liberals the only way to decide which class someone “belongs to” is to ask them. If someone thinks they are working class they are. We dont use “objective” tests to determine gender or sexuality so why apply them to Class identity ?
    Wealth/Income/Poverty can be measured , Identity is subjective.

    Paul Barker, I actually agree with most of the point I think you are making here. In other contexts I would be making this point myself. especially because of my own experience which is working-class parents and childhood but lucky enough to now have most of the benefits of middle-class status. My “identity” as far as I am concerned is still working-class. Although my children are clearly middle-class.

    I would part company with you on saying that self-classification is the “only” thing that should be important for Liberals or even that is necessarily accurate.
    There are objective tests of class and statisticians and others use them all the time. It is a live political issue and not one which we should shy away from. For example, there is a statement out in the media today about grammar schools being “stuffed with middle class children”.

    Self described identity is one thing. Statistical accuracy is another. How could we measure for example social mobility if we did not se some form of objective measure?

  • I do not aways agree with Eddie Sammon, but I am with him 100% when he writes –

    Eddie Sammon 14th Dec ’13 – 11:54am
    … having positive discrimination and not including the poor is just furthering discrimination against this group. We shouldn’t have privileged people in parliament lining up the austerity axe against the poor outside.

    By way of contrast I am afraid I am a little sceptical of the claim by Jennie when she writes –
    Jennie 14th Dec ’13 – 12:19pm
    “I went to a fee paying school. I have a postgraduate degree from a good university. Still working a minimum wage job. Still scrimping and scraping to find rent and food money.”

    But maybe that is because I do not have a university degree at all. Maybe I am just jealous that she had the chance to spend all that time getting a postgraduate degree from a good university. Maybe I am jealous that she got to a good university (perhaps because of the privileges she had at a fee-paying school).

    I am guessing that I am considerably older than Jennie and that direct comparisons between our circumstances may not be helpful.
    Her definition of “scrimping and scraping” might be very different from mine.
    I know of many people who think they are “scrimping”, or struggling to get by, whose income is considerably larger than mine ever was, even before I retired.
    There is a danger here that I start to sound like the Monty Python sketch – “You were lucky, we used to live in a cardboard box, we used to dream of postgraduate degrees ” etc etc.

  • jenny barnes 15th Dec '13 - 8:48am

    It all depends on whether you’re using a definition of class that is based on the relationship between you and the means of production : You either own the means of production – upper; ensure the working class do as they are told – middle; or neither – working or destitute…
    Trade union leaders and “working class” mps by this definition would be middle.
    or you use some fancy Bourdieu related method of habitus , income, parents income, taste, schools etc…
    or self identification – which is often laughable., or the latest stats office version.

  • jenny barnes 15th Dec ’13 – 8:48am
    … or the latest stats office version.

    This is of course the version that is used by public authorities in the UK for all sorts of planning and budgeting decisions.
    We are not involved in some arcane discussion here. All sorts of very important government, local council, NHS etc decisions are informed by the ONS definitions of class and social background.

    Many Liberal Democrats traditionally are shy of mentioning class, perhaps because of their own middle-class background.
    But you cannot pretend that it does not exist . It is a hugely important element in UK politics and still despite all the changes in the past hundred years informs the way a very large proportion of the population votes.
    Why do we continue to give the Labour Party a free gift of millions of votes?

  • Chelmsford and Cambs SE are both in progress.

  • I’m finding it see the difference between the politics of envy and categorisation by social background in this discussion. Even the measures used by statisticians are inherently subjective depending on the source material.

    There is even an infamous crude tool which attempted to pigeonhole people into largely class-determined categories – experian’s mosaic.

    In my view, I think some MP’s display their working-class roots through their affinity with the values of working class communities. Often, this comes across when you read their views in hansard as many MPs appear to dwell on their backgrounds during parliamentary debates.

  • Shirley Campbell 16th Dec '13 - 3:49am

    Nick Harvey was reselected to stand in North Devon, a fact, WHATEVER,WHATEVER!

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Dec '13 - 7:51am

    Thanks John. I don’t want to mislead, I’m really not a “leftie” and I try not to be a “tory”. My point is that it is inexcusable to put up additional artificial barriers on the poor getting into parliament and a pragmatic cost of this might be less support for the poor in law. This is not only wrong for bleeding heart purposes, but also for stability.

    It would be interesting to see what research was available to compare legislator background with support for the poor – not to encourage discrimination, but to discourage the present seemingly increasing discrimination against the poor getting into parliament.

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Dec ’13 – 7:51am
    Thanks John. I don’t want to mislead, I’m really not a “leftie”

    Nothing wrong with being a “leftie”, Eddie. There are a lot of us about.

    Try –

  • Mike Falchikov 17th Dec '13 - 5:44pm

    Not sure if he’s been formally reselected yet, but a pretty firm bet that Mike Crockart will stand again for
    Edinburgh West.

  • Jonathan Brown 17th Dec '13 - 9:08pm

    It sure would be interesting to add the names of the incumbents in target seats to this list. Extra work for someone I know, but hey…

  • A lot of that info is here already, Jonathan, both those reselected and those standing down. Most of them have come out of the woodwork now, so you should be able to work it out yourself.

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