The four Brexit Party MEPs endorsing the Conservatives deserve so much respect. There is no realistic prospect of the Brexit Party gaining any seats. The Brexit Party, by standing down in Conservative held seats, have acknowledged that the Conservative Brexit proposition is the best mainstream option there is. The undeniable logic is, therefore, that all Brexiteers must move to ensure a Conservative majority.
Looking at the polls right now, it should be OK. However, this is our only chance so there is no room for complacency and we should prepare for the polls overstating the Conservative lead or narrowing over the next week. I have considered that 323 Conservative seats will be the bare minimum required to deliver Brexit. 316 seats or less and Labour should be able to cobble together a grand remain coalition.
This analysis uses the Politax model, but if you look at any other reputable model, Flavible Politics or Electoral Calculus they will show the same group of seats which will change hands at these types of levels. These seven seats are amongst the most marginal and which could go either way with the smallest of swings – for all these seats, according to the model, less than a 1% swing will be the difference between Conservative and Labour.
The Politax model predicts the number of votes each will receive – pretty simple to do of course once you’ve forecast the percentage of votes and estimated the turnout of course, but it just gives another dimension to the discussion.
The seven seats in question are: Ashfield, Bishop Auckland, Peterborough, Crewe and Nantwich, Penistone and Stocksbridge, Keighley and Ipswich. Remember this isn’t a prediction, it’s just a hypothesis of the types of Labour majorities we’re looking at in these seats if the Conservatives only get to 316 seats.
Labour 23131 Conservatives 22266
Labour majority 865
Labour 22980 Conservatives 22117
Labour majority 863
Penistone and Stocksbridge
Labour 21778 Conservatives 20949
Labour majority 829
Crewe and Nantwich
Labour 24759 Conservatives 24033
Labour majority 726
Labour 21915 Conservatives 21267
Labour majority 648
Labour 19869 Conservative 19800
Labour majority 69
Labour 20325 Conservative 20324
Labour majority 1
The model is multifactor takes into account the Yougov MRP and, to a lesser extent, the Best for Britain MRP and also the bookmakers, amongst other factors. It obviously isn’t going to predict the number of votes correctly, but it will be aligned, as I say, with Flavible and Electoral Calculus. So it will, of course, be wrong but if the other pollster models and bookmakers we have are remotely accurate, it shouldn’t be too far off.
The model also forecasts the number of Brexit Party votes are likely – again based on the same factors. All of these seats voted to leave – so even if the national picture is leaving the election on a knife-edge like this, the Conservatives might have the advantage. According to the model, the Brexit Party votes in these seats will be:
Penistone and Stocksbridge 6914
Crewe and Nantwich 7610
Bishop Auckland 6036
If the Conservatives, according to the model, take these seats, they will take the election and Brexit will be delivered. In every case, even with a huge margin for error, it would take a very small proportion of Brexit Party votes to tip the Conservatives over the line. We don’t need them all, we just need a small number. In Ashfield the model suggests we only need 2 people who are intending to vote for the Brexit Party to vote Conservative!
All that would be required, in these areas, for the Conservatives to win would be for the Brexit Party to bear in mind that there is a common remainer foe in the shape of the Labour Party. The message doesn’t need to be “don’t vote for the Brexit Party”. If people, on principle, want to vote for the Brexit Party then it’s their democratic right to do so. If you cannot vote Conservative, but don’t want to vote Labour, then vote for the Brexit Party. There will be people in these constituencies who are voting for the Brexit Party because they believe that the Brexit Party can win the seat and hold the Conservatives feet to the fire. It’s absolutely not the case and the Brexit Party would be failing the Brexit cause by making this point.
The message just needs to be that the Conservative Party are the only Brexit supporting party who can return an MP in these seats. If achieving Brexit is going to be a deciding factor in your choice it HAS to be the Conservative Party. If this message comes across to the voters in these constituencies it will be enough to tip them in the Conservatives favour.