Opinion: With all constituencies declared, Labour has an overall majority

No, I didn’t just get in a muddle about what year we’re in.  But the collapse of Lords Reform has brought us, inevitably, to this point. Labour will win the next election with an overall majority.

Three years may be long enough for anything to happen. But consider this: it is hard to see the Conservative vote in 2015 being an increase on their 2010 showing. Since 2010 we’ve had the Euro crisis, George Osborne’s U-turn fest, a healthy reminder of the symbiotic relationship between the Murdoch empire and the Tory party and the longest recession in more than 50 years. Even the IMF is losing patience. Hard to see the Tories storming to victory. Also, governments in power hardly ever increase their share of the vote. As Andrew Rawnsley has noted: “[f]or Mr Cameron to better his last general election result in the contest of 2015, he must do something that no Conservative prime minister has achieved for nearly six decades.”

No matter, we can make a coalition with Labour. Er, not really. Even after the proposed boundary changes, Labour still has an in-built electoral advantage. This is a function of the way Labour’s vote is spread around the country and the lower turnout in their safe constituencies. The UK Polling Report website explains this issue in detail.

So, if boundary reform is out the window (as a trade for the House of Lords debacle), Labour has won in 2015. If Labour fights an election on the existing boundaries and gets 37% of the vote (the Tories’ ‘winning’ score in 2010), it can expect a 60-seat majority (it will get much more if, as expected, the Liberal Democrat vote collapses).  If Labour maintains its current poll lead it gets a hundred-seat majority (all of these projections from the UK Polling report swingometer).

Getting a hung parliament in 2010 required a perfect storm: a very unpopular Labour party, a relatively untrusted Tory party and a healthy, if mostly wasted, Liberal Democrat vote in the middle. With Labour able to secure a comfortable parliamentary majority on less than 40% of the vote, we can expect neither offers of coalition nor electoral reform. The classic conservative mistake is to fear change more than the threat that forces that change. Killing off Lords reform just killed off the Tories’ re-election chances.

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  • Yes the logic of this piece seems solid and reasoned; an interesting read. Three years is a long time however, and those famous unforseeable “Events” can happen at any time with equally unforeseeable consequences.

  • Geoffrey Payne 7th Aug '12 - 1:00pm

    However if the Scots vote for independence, then that will change the arithmetic completely. As Alex Salmond likes to say, there are more pandas than Tory MPs in Scotland.
    Which is why Labour are foolish to oppose HoL reform, and AV for that matter. They may not get the chance to implement their own policies either.

  • Who says boundary reforms are “out of the window”? Fewer constituencies – yes, but equalisation of constituencies is not something that can be argued so long as natural, geographic and historical factors are respected.

    The ‘kick them where it hurts’ contingent who may have voted Lib Dem in the past will go elsewhere, as will others taken in by the outpourings of bile from those who failed to curb Blair in the past. So assuming a sharp drop in the Lib Dem vote, what will happen to Lib Dem representation in parliament?

    1. Under FPTP, there is no direct link between votes cast and members elected, so a decrease in Lib Dem MPs may well be far less than the bile spewers predict.
    2. More Lib Dem marginals are at risk from Tory opponents than Labour, so a decrease in Lib Dem MPs is more likely to favour the Conservatives.

    That said the likely prognosis is that economic stagnation, if not recession, is likely to continue. Labour will get a modest majority, but be forced to continue with unpopular measures.

    This could lead to the Lib Dem nightmare of a repeat of the 2010 election result in 2020, however although the likelihood of hung parliaments has increased, overall majorities are much more likely.

  • I think the bigger point is that without significant movement towards economic recovery The Conservatives don’t actually deserve to win. Then if you err to the side of social liberalism you’ve got ask yourself do you really want the kind of society The Conservatives seem bent on creating if there was an improvement in the economy. For me the answer is no.

    Personally. I think the Lib Dems need to stop worrying about The Conservatives. That Party is split all over the place and all its leaders alienate its different wings in various ways. because they failed to elect a moderniser. Currently, they’re putting their totemic faith in Boris Johnson because he won the election for Mayor, But the reality is that it was close and he was up against Ken Livingstone. I suspect Oona King would have beaten him.

    Anyway, I think the Lib Dems can and wil l recover, but the party has to show what it stands for rather than just demonstrate how effecrive at delivering other peoples policies it can be.

  • Richard Dean 7th Aug '12 - 1:30pm

    I think this is nonsense. Everything can be spun. Say no more? The HoL fiasco can and is being made into a victory for democracy, common sense, and tradition over chaos. People will have forgotten the details by the time 2015 is here, and there will likely be some kind of financial trick to woo the electorate. LibDems will be painted as the party that matters only in the sense that it irritates, making ridiculous proposals and going into an obstrcutuve sulk when they’re rejected.

    When it’s a rock and a hard place, one has to get creative and bold, go to a different box. The way for the LbDems to survive may be to force a general election now!

  • Liberal Neil 7th Aug '12 - 2:06pm

    It’s far too early to be making predictions about what will happen in three years time. Look at how much has changed in the last two.

  • Robert Carruthers 7th Aug '12 - 2:09pm


    “Which is why the Lib-Dem’s will return to the table on boundary changes, as they ought to on principle alone.”

    On principle alone, the Lib Dems should tell the Tories to go swivel on their boundary changes.

    What is supposed to be principled about them breaking a clear agreement for a programme of government? I think this all stems from a real delusion of grandeur that the Tories are still harbouring: namely that somehow they don’t have to listen to what the Lib Dems think and can pretend they have a majority on their own.

    They are still so buried in this mindset that they don’t get it that they’ve torpedoed themselves for 2015.

  • Peter Watson 7th Aug '12 - 2:12pm

    “Who says boundary reforms are “out of the window”? Fewer constituencies – yes, but equalisation of constituencies is not something that can be argued so long as natural, geographic and historical factors are respected.”

    If I recall correctly, the Boundary Commission has always had a duty to regularly review boundaries with a view to equalising them, subject to natural, geographic, historical factors, etc. Recommendations would be presented for approval by parliament as the only body which is able to implement them. The Bill introduced to parliament by Clegg made numerical equalisation the only important factor, fixed the period between reviews as 5 years (in line with the new fixed term parliaments) and reduced the number of seats to 600. (It also included a referendum on AV.) This was the legislation that the coalition passed, so the Boundary Commission must now work under a new set of rules which gives 600 constituencies, and the importance of the factors you list is now downgraded.

    I believe that one problem is that the BC can now only propose schemes that involve 600 constituencies, so there can be no boundary equalisation at all until either parliament accepts one of its proposals with 600 constituencies (which is all that our MPs have left to vote against) or new legislation is introduced to override Clegg’s original bill. It is always possible that the recommended constituencies would offer clear benefits to other parties so that Lib Dem votes against would be irrelevant.

    P.S. This is cobbled together from what I’ve picked up over the last couple of days, so any corrections are welcomed.

  • Thank you Peter, I had not realised that the Boundary Commission is so circumscribed. I had only noticed that parliament has to ratify the proposals. I do not know how this happens, presumably there is an opportunity to object case by case (or even whole sale). Proposals that straddle Cornwall and Devon would be rejected in any case, Presumably some rational individual boundary modifications might be accepted, though I can see it might not be possible to implement anything.

    All I can see is that the discussion of the proposals stage would get intractably bogged down. I suppose that as an election draws near the Conservatives might finally concede a reduction of a very small number of constituencies, rather than see no change at all (thereby fulfilling the letter if not the spirit of the agreement).

  • Peter Watson 7th Aug '12 - 2:36pm

    “presumably there is an opportunity to object case by case (or even whole sale)”
    If I recall correctly, I think that Clegg’s bill also restricted this right to object. I’m not sure, but there were plenty of postings about it here on LibDemVoice at the time. To be honest, typing “boundary review” or anything similar into the search box on this page leads to a lot of LibDemVoice articles and postings that make sobering reading in light of recent events.

  • Malcolm Todd 7th Aug '12 - 2:53pm

    If I read the Acts correctly, parliament can only accept or reject the boundary commission reports put before them by the Secretary of State tout court. In theory, the Secretary of State can put forward the commissions’ reports “with amendments” — I don’t know whether that’s ever been done, and if it was done for anything other than strictly technical reasons, I should think it very likely that any party adversely affected could challenge that decision in the courts.

    There’d be little prospect of getting a revised law onto the books (allowing the boundary commissions to be more flexible) in this parliament, and no chance of doing so in time for it to be put into practice before the next election.

    In other words, if we reject the forthcoming proposals for the 600-seat boundaries, we’re left with the existing 650-seat boundaries and no basis for a different solution.

  • Charles Beaumont 7th Aug '12 - 4:14pm

    @Lee – “Labour are still untrusted on the economy”. I think this is changing fast, partly because of factors outside anyone’s control (Euro crisis) but also because Osborne (and Alexander) have firmly nailed their colours to the austerity-or-bust mast. Increasingly, consensus is building that this will not deliver a recovery. Paul Krugman is winning the argument and that means Osborne is losing it.

    @Geoffrey – very good point about Scotland. Must say I’d overlooked that. I imagine the debate about an English Parliament almost inevitably resurfaces if the original 650 constituencies are kept. And then it becomes in our long-term interest to have an independent Scotland.

  • Mark Randall 7th Aug '12 - 4:39pm

    Maybe this is an opportunity for Nick Clegg to put forward an amended proposal, one that puts clear water between the LibDems and the Tories AND appeals to Labour:

    Accepting that 650 seats may be too many, but 600 (especially if the boundaries are cooked by the Tories) is too few, why not propose that each County should have Constituencies containing as near to 100,000 people living within the boundary; so, for instance, Cornwall (535,000 population) would have 5 MPs instead of the current 6, Greater London would have 82 MPs instead of the current 73, South Yorkshire would have 13 MPs instead of 15 etc.

    This would be easy to explain (“you live in County X, your population is Y, so you have Z seats”), easy to implement and would have the added advantage that it might reduce the number of Tory Constituencies (sure they’d love that!); once implemented, this could be used as a precursor to another campaign to introduce PR (and the best form for this would be Area List) which, of course, is another LibDem dream.

  • Charles Beaumont 7th Aug '12 - 6:08pm

    @Mark – what I hope this post shows is that the Tories are the ones with the most to gain from PR. But they are a slow-learning bunch and it might take another 5 years in the wilderness facing a Labour govt elected on 39% to get them to figure that out. The Tories keep looking backwards to the glory days of the 80s and their huge majorities. But they seem to be ignoring that the world has moved on, meaning that their chances of governing with a majority are very low.

  • David Allen 7th Aug '12 - 6:19pm

    Mark Randall: Nice idea but:

    Labour will want to see the 650 seats retained, giving them the best advantage. If they can get that courtesy of the Lib Dems, without having to make their own fuss to get it, that will be absolutely ideal for them. So, they won’t support any other clever idea you or anyone else might come up with.

    The Tories won’t want to support anything that is less good for them than the scheme they themselves put forward, especially if it is what the LDs want to substitute for the scheme they originally said they would support. So, probably no chance of help there either.

    There is admittedly a danger, that when election time comes around and the pollsters point out the inbuilt bias towards Labour, we will get pilloried for letting it happen. This would be unfair, because the Tory scheme is so dreadful in terms of unnatural constantly varying constituencies that it never deserved to go through. However, life is unfair, and the pillorying will probably work.

    To avoid that trap, maybe we should put some sort of positive proposals forward, even if we know nobody else is going to like them. How about equal constituencies, but with 10% leeway to enable stable natural constituencies to be retained and avoid silly splits across county boundaries etc,, in place of the absurdly tight 5% leeway proposed by the Tories?

  • Tony Dawson 7th Aug '12 - 7:26pm

    Dave Allen is right that the detailed proposal for constituencies was a disgrace conjured without forethought – and Lib Dems were allowing it. Charles Beaumont is right about the Tories and PR. They have managed to hang on in Scotland precisely because of a policy which they disagreed with profoundly. Yet, in contrast, they have failed to register for years in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, even with faltering Lib Dem positions in these cities, because of FPTP in local government elections.

    I am confused about the editorial policy of this site. Is this really ‘balance’ to the plethora of sycophantic postings towards the Party Leadership, presenting an article which is so pedantically defeatist? Even a hardened pessimist within the Lib Dems knows that ‘events’ can make for many a slip over almost three years.

  • Peter Watson 7th Aug '12 - 7:58pm

    @Tony Dawson
    “Dave Allen is right that the detailed proposal for constituencies was a disgrace conjured without forethought – and Lib Dems were allowing it.”
    More than that – in public Lib Dems were leading the charge!

  • Charles Beaumont 7th Aug '12 - 7:59pm

    This isn’t meant to be “pedantically defeatist”. I don’t necessarily think the wrong choice was made by the leadership on boundaries, but I do think we need to be clear that this issue of coalitions is not evenly balanced – we are far more likely to find ourselves in coalition with the Tories than with Labour. I see very little recognition of that in wider party debates.

  • paul barker 7th Aug '12 - 8:04pm

    And yet labour have a steady lead of 5% with ICM (the gold standard among polling groups) in mid-term, in the middle of the worst recession for 80 years. Kinnock did better than that regularly & it got him nowhere.
    That is without thinking about labours problems with finances & entryism & the real possibility of economic recovery.
    A lot of outcomes are possible for the next election & we need to be open to all of them.

  • Also remember that, just as it is true that parties of government rarely increase their vote share at the next election, it’s also true that parties of opposition rarely poll higher at a GE than their projected national vote share at the preceeding mid-term (usually local) elections. For all the “usuallys” to be met implies both Labour and Tories polling in the high 30%s at most, and the LibDems at low 20%s or lower. If any of the three parties falls much below this then the balance needs to be made up by a surge in votes for the “others” – which you have to say, in the current climate and in the expectation that the economic downturn proves to be prolonged – isn’t an entirely unreasonable possibility.

  • paul barker

    The gold standard because they give you a result you want, although you seem to be gleeful that the Tories are doing pretty well and ignoring the LD languishing in the low-mid teens.

    Whether they are still the gold standard is a debate ongoing between psephologists as their approach to DK seems to favour parties such as your own where there has been a significant reduction in support since the last election

    It is much too early to call the last election but your blind optimism and complete failure in predictions seem less based on fact than many others.

    I predict a GE result for the LD at 12-15% based on current polling and the Local Elections. Of course we will not see if this is right until 2015 – unless the Coalition (I hesitate to use this as it is pushing the definition a bit) falls.

  • Ian

    Links please to support your assertions – statistically significant would be useful as well

    PS in the last post I meant ‘next’ instead of ‘last’ election

  • Ian Patterson 7th Aug '12 - 8:43pm

    The Boundary cum AV Bill was put on statue book because we agreed to the tories 50 seat cut against our 10% reduction (of 65). We deprived the 4 commissions of discretion to vary constituencies in line with population densities. Having happily held isle of wight as one seat twice, it is proposed to split it into two undrsized constuitencies. To put this fiasco behind us, the 4 commisions should have their descretion restored and based on last years’s census outcomes, rather than from 2001!

  • Mark Randall 7th Aug '12 - 8:49pm

    @David Allen – I know, that’s unfortunately the problem with any “logical” idea, it runs into a wall of political NIMBY-ism; that’s why the LibDems need to hold this sort of proposal up and say “if you want our support, this must be the first Bill in Parliament or else”.

    Even better, maybe the leadership (whoever’s in charge in 2015!) should say right now that they will NOT go into coalition with ANY party after the next GE, but instead will sign the equivalent of a “non-aggression agreement” with whichever party has the most seats, whereby the LibDems will agree to vote for any Bill that features in some form in their Agenda, but will not support any Bill that doesn’t – that way, they keep their independent stance in the HOC while helping the governing Party in areas of joint interest.

  • Even with a drastic fall in votes for Lib Dems, under FPTP, the number of MPs could be relatively little affected. Remember that there was an increase in % votes but a decrease in seats won. This means that for the Lib Dems there is plenty of ‘slack’ in the system. A lot of Lib Dem votes were ‘wasted’ in unwinnable seats. It is true that some of these votes could have deprived Labour of seats. Had Labour taken these seats then there could have been a choice of possible coalitions in 2010. However if there is a collapse of support for Lib Dems across the constituencies then it is clear that the prime beneficiaries would be the Tories as there are more seats where a Lib Dem MP’s main opponent is a Tory.

  • Martin Pierce 7th Aug '12 - 10:28pm

    Up until 2010, during my adult life I only experienced two sorts of government – 18 years of Thatcher with the chaos of Major at the back end, and 13 years of New Labour with the chaos of Brown at the back end. The last two years have given me no reason to change my mind that if they are the only choices and I can’t have a majority LD government, I’ll take Labour any day of the week. By the way I think you’ll find a Tory PM increased their showing vs the previous election 29 years ago (Mrs T in 1983 )

  • Not in terms of vote share, Martin – which is the point I was making. We all know the seats outturn in an FPTP election often doesn’t bear too much relation to the votes cast. The point is that Gvts rarely if ever attract extra votes a s a result of having been in office.

  • Malcolm Todd 7th Aug '12 - 11:52pm

    For once, Paul Barker’s got a point about the polls. Sure, ICM are the most favourable to both Tories and Lib Dems — but the others aren’t showing the sort of leads that an opposition party in a time of severe economic distress might hope for. Look at the Tories in 2009 — leads of 15–20%, rather than the 10–12% Labour have now. In 1990/91, Labour were regularly scoring around 20% leads as well. To be only this much ahead of this government in this economic climate means we may well have something much worse to fear than a Labour majority in 2015 — a triumphant Cameron majority govt.

  • Charles Beaumont 8th Aug '12 - 2:22am

    ” a triumphant Cameron majority govt.” for that to happen there has to be a significant number of people decide that they are so impressed with his performed since 2010 that they’d choose him over Gordon Brown, whom they supported in 2010. Just can’t see that happenning.

  • Malcolm Todd 8th Aug '12 - 8:45am

    “for that to happen there has to be a significant number of people [who] decide that they are so impressed with his perform[ance] since 2010 that they’d choose him over Gordon Brown, whom they supported in 2010.”

    No, not at all. They can do it by scooping up former Lib Dem and UKIP voters. And people switch votes for all sorts of complicated reasons: one thing you can be certain of is that there will be some voters switching from Labour to Tory (and vice versa) at every election.

    But remember, Labour got 29% at the last election — they don’t need to be pushed lower for the Tories to get a majority, even on current boundaries. This is a sort of wishful left thinking, equal and opposite to the widespread belief in the 1980s that if Scotland left the Union, Labour would “never” win a UK election again. Under Blair, of course, Labour won healthy majorities in England. Things change. The End of History repeatedly fails to arrive.

  • So, maybe the Tories will have learnt their lesson come next time.

  • Charles Beaumont 8th Aug '12 - 1:22pm

    @Malcolm (with thanks for correcting my hopeless iphone typing!): it’s not that I dont’ accept the principle of your argument – clearly it’s not a simple binary question of Labour up or Tories down. But what I question is the specifics of the circumstances in 2015. Do we really think the Tories will be well-placed to take votes from UKIP? Are there enough Lib Dem votes for them to take that will make much of a difference? Given the extremely serious economic situation I just can’t see the government making enough headway to make a serious difference to the underlying electoral maths by 2015.

    @Peter This post is about what I believe will happen in three years time (btw – I can count all the way to three). Not being clairvoyant or divine, doing so required speculation. If you don’t like speculation you should avoid reading articles that are obviously about future events which can be affected by a wide range of factors.

  • I think people and especially Tories misunderstand the UKIP vote. There are are lots of people who vote UkIP in local elections who don’t during general election . Not all them vote Conservative. Disgruntled Labour voters also often Vote UKIP because they have cornered the market in anti European sentiment and a sort of nationalism. Neither of these are as specific to natural Conservative voters as we’re lead to believe. UKIP attract some votes precisely because they are not a branch of the Conservative Party.

  • Paul McKeown 9th Aug '12 - 1:55pm


    “Which is why the Lib-Dem’s will return to the table on boundary changes, as they ought to on principle alone.”

    On the scale of probabilities, I would rate that about as less likely as seeing the Titanic steaming into New York.

    As far as the Lib Dems are concerned, why should they care which of Labour or Conservative win an election in an electoral system biased against the Lib Dems? You speak of principle, I think you should bear in mind that the principle the Lib Dems hold is that elections should deliver a number of MPs proportionate to a party’s popular support. The current system fails to do that; a Labour – Tory dogfight as to which mongrel gets the greater bias in its favour is a matter of scorn rather than principle.

  • “You speak of principle, I think you should bear in mind that the principle the Lib Dems hold is that elections should deliver a number of MPs proportionate to a party’s popular support. The current system fails to do that; a Labour – Tory dogfight as to which mongrel gets the greater bias in its favour is a matter of scorn rather than principle” writes Paul McKeown. No comment really, I just thought it deserved to be repeated.

  • Charles Beaumont 9th Aug '12 - 2:49pm

    “The current electorate fails to show any interest in this view”. That is very true, but the electorate shows little interest in lots of things that parliament spends time and energy on, and which are still important. And of course the currently electorate shows less and less interest in politics altogether. Some of us (getting moist? horrid thought) might argue that’s because we don’t have PR….

  • Sam Barnett-Cormack 10th Aug '12 - 12:05pm

    I feel that this Government has shown the British political class to be incapable of a true coalition – so any future hung parliament should be resolved through a supply-and-confidence agreement only, thus requiring compromise and multi-party support for any bill that the Government seeks to pass.

  • Very interesting article and comments. In any ordinary mid term time when Labour was so far ahead in the polls, I would be inclined to agree that their majority would already be in the bag. However, the nature of coalition politics, events within the wider political spectrum, and the economic backdrop may throw some curved balls into the numbers:

    – UKIP: as mentioned above, the ‘stickiness’ of the UKIP vote is in question. I note that on http://www.ukpollingreport.co.uk UKIP have scored double digits for the last couple of polls. I don’t believe they would score this in a general election, and I believe both Labour and the Tories will offer some form of EU referendum to attract this audience. Personally, from observing UKIP people and posters with almost no exceptions they are ex-Tories, with Labour voters I know thinking they are a single issue right wing party – so I think there is a bag of votes for the Tories there. I also think the Tories are suffering the most in the polls that they will ever do from UKIP at the moment.

    – Boundaries/HOL reform. Clegg turned on the inability of the Tories to deliver the agreement. The Tories have turned on Cameron and Tory forums are full of demands that Cameron ‘comes down hard’ on Clegg, and questioning why Cameron did not take to the airwaves and defend the Tory position. He’s not thick, and knew of the Clegg announcement well in advance. I’m sure there is a Clegg/Cameron plan to deliver credibility to Clegg as a leader by swapping an amended boundaries bill for an amended Lords reform bill. I am convinced that these are not dead – but let’s see. Boundaries would of course remove the in built 20-30 seat advantage for Labour.

    – Lib Dem supporters that left for Labour: will any come back if Clegg can show he has delivered boundary reform, and if the second coalition agreement (or whatever it’s called) has some common Tory/Lib dem elements that are badged up in big letters as “CLEGG’S POLICIES”? Let’s see – personally I think we are at the highpoint of Labour numbers being inflated by ex Lib Dems.

    – The Economy. This is the big one and it will go two ways. If the stagnation continues, it will be tough for the Tories and Lib Dems to shift the numbers any further than the above elements. However, if some economic data looks better, our fickle media may decide to go for the “green shoots” narrative. In any case I think Labour are at the height of any benefit they will get from the downturn – all those that can be convinced austerity doesn’t work have been convinced.

    We live in interesting political times!

  • MrOa,
    My comment about UKIP was based on observation of older voters. Obviously, most of UKIP’s supporter are Tories and tend to drift back during a general elections. But I think there is a big enough group of older labour voters who remember a time before the EU who sometimes vote UKIP in local elections and that this further distorts the appearance of UKIP’s significance to a potential Tory majority. Local election do throw up odd voting patterns, because they can be an outlet for a general mistrust of the our political leaders. But during a general election party loyalty, and just as importantly loathing of the opposition. kick s in.
    Personally, I would never vote UKIP, because I’m by and large in favour of the EU and support the Human Rights Act.

  • Hello Glenn,
    I’d love to see some data about UKIP voters as I think whether or not the recent upsurge is due to temporary Tories will be a key factor in the next election.

    Yougov doesn’t help (I think as the sample sizes are too low, at least the 2010 vote doesn’t make sense for anything other than Labour and the Tories):


    As I said I meet many UKIPers that used to be Tories, and the forums are busy with them. I can’t recall the same with former Labour party members – but then I may be getting a very biased sample.

    Corby will be interesting.



  • Charles Beaumont 13th Aug '12 - 2:25am

    More interesting comments. I’d be very surprised if there is still either a HoL lite or a Boundaries lite in the offing. I think both leaders will feel they have made their point and try to move on.

    I’m sure it’s right that the polling between the two big parties will get far closer in the next couple of years, but if they’re even then Labour wins anyway (on the old boundaries; even with reform they have an advantage). I expect Labour to go into the next election campaign with a small poll lead and that’ll see them through.

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