YESTERDAY came the news that three Remain-supporting parties have forged an electoral alliance for the coming general election. The agreement was struck under a ‘Unite to Remain’ banner. The Lib Dems, Greens, and Plaid Cymru are involved and they have signed an agreement which covers 49 seats in England and 11 in Wales.
The plan is modelled on the successful pact between Remain parties in Brecon & Radnorshire which resulted in the Lib Dems taking the seat in the by-election earlier this year. Before the poll, the Conservatives had held the seat with a healthy 8,000 majority. For the by-election, Plaid Cymru and the Greens withdrew from the competition; the Brexit Party and the Conservatives battled for the Leave vote, and the Lib Dems won the seat with a 1,400-vote margin. No wonder the Remain parties want to repeat this winning formula.
What can the Conservatives and the Brexit Party learn from this? Well, a close look at the data reveals that the facts are grim. Brecon & Radnorshire is a Leave constituency. It voted by 52 per cent to leave the EU in 2016. In the by-election, an almighty 10 per cent swing was needed to take the seat from the Conservatives. Surely it was safe for the Conservatives and for Leave? No, as it turned out. The situation looks even worse elsewhere.
The Conservatives hold another seven seats in Wales. SIX of these are held by slimmer margins than was Brecon & Radnorshire. FIVE will be taken from the Conservatives with a swing against them of only 5 per cent or below. That is five more seats lost for a Leave majority parliament, if like Brecon & Radnorshire, the Leave vote is split.
Then let’s look at the Labour-held seats in Wales. There are TEN seats which the Conservatives could take with a swing towards them of 7 per cent or less. EIGHT of these ten voted to leave the EU in 2016. So here we have another ten seats that could help build a Leave majority parliament – but only if the Leave vote is not split.
Finally, there are some Leave-supporting Welsh constituencies which do appear unwinnable for the Tories. Aren’t these the perfect targets for the Brexit Party to focus on, pile in and win?
All the data can be seen here. It is salutary viewing on a new website, The Leave Alliance.
But our Leave vote is currently split. Our leaders are trading insults. Things are not looking good for Leave supporters. Can our leaders please talk? Or if they can’t or won’t, Leave supporters must examine the data closely and campaign and vote tactically, accordingly.
Caroline ffiske will advise further on #Leave Alliance tactics in tomorrow’s TCW – why they are needed and the seats Leave voters need to target to ensure a Brexit/Leave-dominated Parliament.