- There are 46 Parliamentary constituencies in the East Midlands. Currently the Conservatives hold 33, and Labour 13.
- Unusually, there aren’t that many Conservative targets here (unless there’s a truly astonishing landslide next month) as the is already in such a strong position. The list of realistic prospects is little changed from two years ago.
- It may be a long shot to talk about Labour gains but there are three constituencies in the region where they face majorities under 2,000, so we’ve included them just in case.
- The Liberal Democrats were within a few hundred votes of two seats here in 2010, but they disappeared from contention two years ago. Barring an actual miracle it’s very unlikely that they’ll get anywhere, and we have not listed any targets.
Welcome back to our series on the election battlegrounds! As in 2015, we’ll be taking a region-by-region look at the seats which could change hands and offering our suggested lists of target seats for each party.
These lists aren’t predictions of gains: rather, they’re just seats which we think could be competitive. They might be official party targets, have a small majority, or be subject to other factors which could leave them open to change.
Amongst the resources we’ll be using to steer us through these murky waters are Electoral Calculus, UK Polling Report, Number Cruncher Politics, and Election Polling, whilst all Leave vote share estimations are from Chris Hanretty’s very helpful constituency-by-constituency charts. We’re also keeping an eye on the work of many other pollsters, psephologists, and analysts, some of whom our assistant editor has collated onto a Twitter list.
Battleground Rating: 3/10
Targets by party:
(NB These are our own suggestions of potential attack seats for each party – including those officially designated as targets and others where the incumbent has a relatively small majority, or local factors are at play which may open the seat to change.)
Bassetlaw: This would be a reach – the Labour incumbent, John Mann, is a relatively high-profile MP and has very publicly disowned Jeremy Corbyn. He’s also one of the doughty handful of Labour MPs to back Leave, which may weaken the power of Theresa May’s strong Brexit positioning and the ability of the Tory candidate to win over UKIPs substantial bloc of 2015 voters. The lack of a UKIP candidate this time may also boost Mann’s vote, as it gives voters who just won’t vote Tory fewer options. Talked of as a possible scalp, but Electoral Calculus only give the Conservatives a four-in-ten chance here.
Gedling: Vernon Coaker, who has previously held the Shadow Defence and Northern Irish briefs, added more than 1,000 votes to his majority last time but it still stands just under 3,000 in a seat which had a Conservative majority of over 10,600 in 1992. This seat is estimated to have gone 56 per cent Leave and UKIP took almost 7,000 votes at the last election, so their unwinding may help put the Tories over the line. Electoral Calculus tips a Tory gain with 56 per cent probability.
Mansfield: A much bigger ask, a lot will hinge on the Conservatives winning a big chunk of the almost 12,000 voters who backed UKIP in 2015. This is the sort of seat where Theresa May’s tough line on Brexit is meant to resonate: more than seven voters in ten voted against EU membership (est.). Electoral Calculus has this on a knife-edge, headlining with a Conservative win but with Labour ahead by a nose in the odds.
North East Derbyshire: UKIP’s surge at the last election meant the Conservatives only crawled forward here, cutting Labour’s vote from about 2,500 to just under 1,900. The seat is estimated to have gone 62 per cent Leave, so if the Tory candidate can woo even half of UKIP’s 7,600 voters from last time that would put them comfortably over the line. Electoral Calculus is confident of a Tory gain.
Nottingham South: Prior to the UKIP surge and the Lib Dem collapse, this was a competitive prospect for the Tories: after 2010 the Labour majority stood at just 1,772. Now it’s much more formidable at just under 7,000, and even if the Conservative somehow took every one of UKIP’s 4,900 voters from last time it wouldn’t be enough in this Remain-leaning (est.) seat. Electoral Calculus think the Tories will put on votes but Labour will hold their ground and thus the seat.
Derby North: Amanda Solloway won this seat for the Tories by the razor-thin margin of 41 votes two years ago, so if Labour are going to gain anywhere it’s here. This constituency is estimated to have voted Leave, so Solloway must hope that the Prime Minister’s firm stance on Brexit wins over some of UKIP’s 6,500 2015 voters. Despite Labour’s recent rally in the polls Electoral Calculus still doesn’t think they’re in a position to make gains and predicts a Tory hold.
Lincoln: Karl McCartney added a few hundred to his majority last time, but it still stands at a slender 1,443. As usual, a lot will depend on how UKIP’s vote at the last election (5,700) breaks this time in a decidedly Leave seat. As in much more marginal Derby North, Electoral Calculus thinks the Conservatives will hang on.