Here is a table of English Labour constituencies in which the Brexit Party won more than 10 per cent of the vote in the 2019 general election…
…and its vote was bigger than the majority.
Barnsley Central: 11,223 votes 3,571 majority 30 per cent 2nd
Barnsley East: 11,112 3,217 29 2nd
Blaydon: 5,833 5,331 13
Chesterfield: 4,771 1,451 10
Doncaster Central: 6,842 2,278 17
Doncaster North: 8,294 2,370 20
Easington: 6,744 6,581 20
Hemsworth: 5,930 1,180 14
Houghton and Sunderland South: 6,115 3,115 16
Jarrow: 4,122 7,120 10
Kingston Upon Hull East: 5,764 1,239 18
Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle: 5,683 2,856
Makerfield: 5,817 4,740 13
Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford: 8,032 1,276 17
Rotherham: 6,125 3,121 17
Sheffield South East: 4,478 4,289 11
Stockton North: 3,907 1,027 10
Sunderland Central: 5,047 2,964 12
Washington and Sunderland West: 5,439 3,723 15
Wentworth and Deane: 7,019 2,165 17
- The seats marked in blue are ones in which if the Brexit Party vote is divided in half, that half is greater than the majority. They are this column’s eleven Tory targets (assuming present boundaries).
- There are constituencies in which the Brexit Party vote was more than ten per cent, but in which its vote was smaller than the majority: North Durham, North Tyneside, Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough, South Shields, St Helens North, St Helens South & Whiston, and Wigan. These aren’t listed above.
- Ten per cent is an arbitrary figure: we might gone up to 15 per cent or down to five: but one has to start somewhere.
- In short, the assumption in the seats marked blue is that the Conservatives can gain at the next election more than half the vote won by the Brexit Party in the last one.
- The key to these putative targets is the size of the Conservative vote in 2019. The size of the majority in those seven seats named above, but not listed in the table, was boosted by a Tory number relatively low to the Labour number (at least, compared to those seats in the table).
- To assume that the Tories scoop up only half of the 2019 Brexit Party vote in the table seats is arguably a conservative, small c, assumption. Were two thirds assumed instead, then Hull West & Hessle, where the Conservatives would fall 18 votes were they to take half the 2019 Brexit Party vote next time, would fall into the blue column.
- Brexit Party votes moving to the Conservatives would be extremely helpful to some Tory MPs in “Red Wall” seats – for example, to Nigel Fletcher in Don Valley, in which the Brexit Party won over 6000 votes and a 14 per cent share.
- Every single one of the seats in the table is in the eastern half of England; Tory competitiveness is lower, and Labour more entrenched, in the western half – and the Merseyside constituencies named above: St Helens North, St Helens South & Whiston, and Wigan.
- It may well, of course, be that all other things aren’t equal: for example, that the actual Tory vote falls next time – thus making this calculation useless.
In the Hartlepool by-election, the Conservative vote rose by 24 per cent, Labour’s vote fell by nine per cent: much of the blue rise will have come from the 10,000 or so 2019 Brexit Party voters.
But a precise estimate is impossible – not least because the turnout last week was 43 per cent, whereas in 2019 it was 58 per cent. Our bedrock assumption, as above, is that at the next election the Tories can take at least half the 2019 Brexit Party vote.
Finally, we’re using South Yorkshire in a rough and ready sense. The Hemsworth constituency, for example, is in the West Riding, as is the Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, but the centre of gravity of these seats is in South Yorkshire.