London Daily

Focus on the big picture.
Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

Liberal Democrats eye blue wall seats in wake of Tory turmoil

Liberal Democrats eye blue wall seats in wake of Tory turmoil

It can be hard for the Liberal Democrats to make themselves heard at the best of times, but recently the party has been particularly unlucky.

For two years running the Lib Dems have been unable to gather in person for their annual conference, while other parties' events went ahead - robbing them of a guaranteed moment in the media spotlight.

The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 and the death of the Queen this year left them with little choice but to cancel the biggest event in their calendar.

This weekend, party leader Sir Ed Davey is touring Lib Dem target seats and will make a speech in London in an attempt to renew his offer to voters.

But languishing a distant third in opinion polls and with only 14 MPs, where does the party sit after months of political turmoil at Westminster?


Beyond the blue wall?


Party insiders point to a run of by-election wins and bold policy pitches as proof the Lib Dems are able to punch above their political weight.

A surprise victory in the Conservative seat of Chesham and Amersham in June 2021 was followed by wins in other Tory strongholds - North Shropshire later that year and Tiverton and Honiton in June.

The Liberal Democrats hope to replicate this across the so-called 'blue wall' of Conservative-held seats with more affluent and higher educated populations that voted largely to remain in the EU.

Top of the list is Wimbledon, where the party lost by just 628 votes in 2019. The Lib Dems report plenty of anti-Conservative sentiment on the doorstep in the leafy south London enclave which returned a Labour MP in 1997 but has been held by the Tories since 2005.

One campaigner was told by a life-long Conservative voter they regretted supporting the party in 2019 and were "ready for change", summing up similar sentiment from others.

But conscious of becoming pigeon-holed as a political refuge for liberal Conservative voters fed up with the direction under Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and now Rishi Sunak, the Lib Dems are keen to stress their electoral ambitions extend beyond the south of England.

In Greater Manchester, for example, the party is looking to build on second place finishes in 2019 in Cheadle and Hazel Grove, where it recently took control of Stockport Borough Council in this year's local elections.

Common among the party's target seats is a high proportion of home ownership, leaving voters in these areas exposed to the impact of recent interest rate rises.

Recent polling conducted on the party's behalf suggested a majority of Conservative voters blamed the government for rising mortgages, compounding the Lib Dems' message that the blue wall is being "hit hardest" by the knock-on effects of an increase in interest rates.

In the aftermath of the tax-cutting mini-budget delivered by Kwasi Kwarteng in September, a poll found two thirds (68%) of people who had voted Conservatives in 2019 said the government would be to blame if mortgage bills subsequently increased.

That poll of 2,240 adults aged 18+ was conducted by Savanta ComRes between 30 September and 2 October.

Sir Ed Davey is expected to make a call for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage to be better protected in a speech to party activists in London on Sunday.

Lib Dems hope the move will influence the political debate around an issue facing millions of voters in a similar way to the party's calls for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies and an energy price freeze this winter.

Similarly, the party hopes to capitalise on a sense of frustration among voters that key public services are "broken", as one senior party figure put it, with their call for guaranteed GP appointments within a week in England.


Weak points?


Eye-catching policies may gain the Lib Dems some attention and allow them to punch above their political weight, but their prospects at the next election may have as much if not more to do with the fortunes of their opponents as it does their own offering.

Senior Lib Dems considered the Conservatives to be vulnerable on the economy while Boris Johnson was prime minister and sought to "hammer home" the impact of the rising cost of living.

The turmoil that marked Liz Truss's time in No 10 may have fuelled their attacks on government incompetence, but will the same tactics work against the new man in charge?

The Lib Dems claim not to be fazed by Rishi Sunak as prime minister, citing what they see as his slowness to act as chancellor on the cost of living crisis and controversy around Suella Braverman's re-appointment as home secretary as potential weak points.

Labour's lead in opinion polls has widened as popularity plummeted for the Conservatives, but the Lib Dems' standing has remained largely stagnant.

Some in the party argue that anti-Conservative sentiment can only be a good thing for the Lib Dems and increase the party's chances of unseating Tory MPs at the next election.

Furthermore, insiders claim Labour's apparent popularity among voters helps the party too, removing the 2019 "fear factor" of a Jeremy Corbyn government which may have prevented some Conservative voters switching to the Lib Dems in blue wall seats.

Jo Swinson was the last Liberal Democrat leader to fight a general election


Sir John Curtice, president of the British Polling Council, said the Liberal Democrats would "probably pick up Labour voters in places where they're second".

But he added that the economy was "never ever their strong point" and voters may struggle to identify the party's position on major issues.

"I'm just not sure enough people know what the hell they stand for," Sir John said.

That may not worry the Lib Dems as much as it might.

At the 2019 general election the then party leader Jo Swinson touted herself as the UK's next prime minister and talked of winning "hundreds of seats".

Her successor is unlikely to make a similar pitch, instead seeking to make the most of hostility towards the Conservatives and argue that electing Liberal Democrat MPs in seats where Labour is unlikely to win is the only way to remove them from government.


Sir Ed Davey celebrates his party's win in the Chesham and Amersham while breaking down a model blue wall


Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Farmers break through police barriers in Brussels.
You Are So Beautiful
London's Iconic British Telecom Tower Sold To Become Hotel
Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Ukraine Arrests Father-Son Duo In Lockbit Cybercrime Bust
An old French tune (by Georges Brassens) Pomplamoose ft. John Schroeder
US Offers $15 Million For Info On Leaders Of Cybercrime Group Lockbit
Sattahip Motor Show 20
Russia Claims UK Cultural Agency Spied for Ukraine
SONATE AU CLAIR DE LUNE - Moonlight sonata
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
A kiss to build a dream on
Alexei Navalny: UK sanctions Russian prison chiefs after activist's death
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
German economy is in 'troubled waters' - ministry
Mean Blues
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
La Chansonnette
New video
Pattaya Addicts
Tucker Carlson says Boris Johnson wants "a million dollars, in Bitcoin or cash, from Tucker Carlson to talk about Ukraine.
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
Russia is rebuilding capacity to destabilize European countries, new UK report warns
Dream a little dream of me
EU Commission wants anti-drone defenses at Brussels HQ
Unchained Melody sung like you've NEVER heard!
Von der Leyen’s 2nd-term pitch: More military might, less climate talk
Dave Brubeck - Take Five
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Sofie)
Prince William Urges End to Gaza Conflict
Rondo Alla Turca
UK court to hear Assange's final appeal against extradition to the US, where he faces charges related to his journalistic work—the publication of a classified video in 2010 that exposed US war crimes against humanity.
Kiss of fire
About 50-60% kids either chose to be YouTuber or influencer
Tom Jones - I´ll Never Fall In Love Again 1967, 1989, 2001
A viral video of Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce lying on a Canberra footpath is celebrated by his media mates.
Israel Cachao López - Guajira Clásica
European Countries React to Navalny's Death by Summoning Russian Diplomats
Edward Maya - Stereo Love (feat. Vika Jigulina) (Extended Mix)
Israel has gone ‘beyond self-defence’ in Gaza, says Labour’s Streeting
Strauss - Radetzky March - Karajan
English farmers to be offered ‘largest ever’ grant scheme amid food security concerns
La vie en rose
Cameron government knew Post Office ditched Horizon IT investigation
The Temptations - My Girl (Smokey Robinson Tribute) 2006 Kennedy Cent
EU Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict
Orlando Cachaito Lopez Redencion
EU Vows To Hold Putin "Accountable" After Meeting Alexei Navalny's Wife
Edith Piaf - NON, JE NE REGRETTE RIEN
EU Launches Probe Into TikTok Over Child Protection Under Digital Content Law
RADETZKY MARCH-2008-Wien, New Year Concert
The EU Initiates Naval Mission to Defend Red Sea Trade Routes
Only you (And you alone)
EU and UK Announce Joint Effort on Migration
Strangers In The Night
Brazil's Lula Likens Gaza Operation to Holocaust, Israel Says "Red Line" Crossed
Charles Aznavour - La Boheme
Ministers Confirm Proposal to Prohibit Mobile Phone Usage in English Schools
Summer time
Microsoft-backed OpenAI valued at $80bn after company completes deal
Sting and Stevie Wonder - Fragile (from Sting's 60th birthday concert)
‘Alexei would want to tell Russia not to give up fighting’
Aux Champs Elysees
Rwandan Footballer's Dismissal Sparks Concerns Over UK Asylum Plan
Stand By Me - Ben E. King (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Whisky Challenges China's Baijiu Market During New Year Celebrations
La Mer (Beyond the Sea) – Avalon Jazz Band
Avdiivka - Symbol Of Ukrainian Resistance Now In Control Of Russian Troops
She
Putin Critic Alexei Navalny's "Killers" Refusing To Hand Over Body, Say Allies
Nathalie Song by Enzo Petrachi Stjepan Hauser Cello
"Historic Step": Zelensky Signs Security Pact With Germany
Shape of My Heart - Sting (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
"Historic Step": Zelensky Signs Security Pact With Germany
Radiohead - Creep
20 Tech Giants Sign Effort To Fight AI Election Interference Across Globe
Quizás,Quizás,Quizás - Andrea Bocelli - Jennifer Lopez
Joe Biden Accuses Putin of Causing Navalny's Death
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Multi-Couples
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
Pentatonix Havana
Tucker Carlson grocery shopping in Russia. This is so interesting.
Paula Cole - Autumn Leaves
Julian Assange's Wife Warns of His Death if Extradited to US
Oscar Benton Bensonhurst Blues
‘A lot higher than we expected’: Russian arms production worries Europe’s war planners
OH NANANA vs ABUSADAMENTE
Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption Rights
Nina Simone - ”I Put A Spell On You”. Vezi aici cum cântă Jeremy Ragsd
Hungarian Foreign Minister: Europeans will lose Europe, the Union's policy must change drastically
NIGHTWISH - The Phantom Of The Opera
In Britain Homeowners are receiving CPO’s (Compulsory Purchase Orders) so their homes can be redistributed to migrants
Motorshow 2016 Tanjay Negros Oriental
Microsoft says it caught hackers from China, Russia and Iran using its AI tools
Monica Bellucci - Ti Amo
Influencers Exploit X Platform for Profit Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean Milena The Voice France 2018
Former Dutch PM And Wife Die "Together Hand In Hand" Via Duo Euthanasia
Michael Buble (Help Me Make It Through The Night) feat Loren Allred
Memories Canon In D - Maroon 5 (Boyce Avenue piano acoustic cover)
Matteo Simoni - Marina
Maroon 5 - One More Night
Maroon 5 - Memories
Mark Knopfler - Brothers In Arms (Berlin 2007 Live)
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - Romeo And Juliet (Real Live Roadrunni
Marina, Marina - The LUCKY DUCKIES intimist live concert at Guimarães
Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On Mauranne The Voice France 2016
Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet - Joslin - Henri Mancini, Nino Rota
LoLa & Hauser - Love Story
Linkin Park Jay-Z - Numb Encore (Live 8 2005)
Hallelujah Mennel Ibtissem, The Voice France Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love
Leonard Cohen & Natasha Rostova - Dance me to the end of love
La casa de papel - Bella Ciao
La Camisa Negra
L'italiano (Toto Cutugno) - The Gypsy Queens
Juanes - La Camisa Negra
Jonathan and Charlotte - Britain's Got Talent 2012 Live Semi Final - U
John Powell - Assassin's Tango
Joe Cocker - You Can Leave Your Hat On (LIVE in Dortmund)
Joe Cocker - Unchain My Heart 2002 Live
Joe Cocker - A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Jay Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind LIVE
Jason Mraz - Im Yours (live)
Jarrod Radnich - Bohemian Rhapsody - Virtuosic Piano Solo
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
James Blunt - You're Beautiful & Bonfire Heart (Live at The Nobel Peac)
If You Go Away - Helen Merrill & Stan Getz (Tribute to Virna Lisi)
I'LL BE MISSING YOU
I Say a Little Prayer
Hotel California ( Eagles ) 1994 Live
Historia de un amor - Luz Casal. Vezi interpretarea Biancăi Sumanariu
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover) on Spot
Heart - Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin - Kennedy Center Honors
HAVANA by Camila Cabello Zumba Pre Cooldown TML Crew Kramer Pastra
HAUSER and Señorita - I Will Always Love You
HAUSER - Waka Waka
HAUSER - Sway
HAUSER - Lambada
HAUSER - Historia de un Amor
HAUSER - Despacito
Great Pretender
Georgia May Foote & Giovanni Pernice Samba to 'Volare' - Strictly Come
Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues
GIPSY KINGS VOLARE Penelope Cruz
Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song
French Latino - Historia de un Amor
For A Few Dollars More The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live)
Flashdance • What a Feeling • Irene Cara
Filip Rudan - “Someone You Loved” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sez
Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
Enya - Only Time
Enrique Iglesias - Bailando (English Version) ft. Sean Paul
Enrique Iglesias - Bailamos
Elena Yerevan Historia de un amor
Ed Sheeran - Shape of You (Official Music Video)
Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony [with Andrea Bocelli]
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)
Easy On Me - Adele (Boyce Avenue 90’s style piano acoustic cover) on S
ERA - Ameno
ELENA YEREVAN- Cancion Del Mariachi-IN STUDIO-2017 DPR
Dust In The Wind - Kansas (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Despacito x Shape Of You - Pentatonix
Deep Purple - Child In Time - Live (1970)
David Foster When A Man Loves A WomanIt's A Mans World (SealMichael Bo
Dance me to the end of Love ( Pi-Air Design )
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. L.V.) [Official Music Video]
Conquest Of Paradise (Vangelis), played on Böhm Emporio organ
Cielito Lindo
Chico & The Gypsies - Bamboleo
Canción Del Mariachi - Antonio Banderas, Los Lobos • Desperado
Camila Cabello - Havana (Audio) ft. Young Thug
Camila Cabello - Havana ( cover by J.Fla )
California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas José Feliciano (Boyce Ave
Buster Benton - Money Is The Name of The Game
Hallelujah Pentatonix
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (Official Music Video)
Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door Emilia The Voice Kids France
Besame Mucho - Cesaria Evora
Ben E. King - Stand by Me Sax Cover Alexandra Ilieva Thomann
Bella Ciao
Bella Ciao - INSTRUMENTAL
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
Bad Romance - Vintage 1920's Gatsby Style Lady Gaga Cover ft. Ariana Savalas & Sarah Reich(1)
BELLA CIAO 2020 - KARAOKE ITALIANO
BAMBOLEO - Gipsy Kings • Antonio Banderas, Katya Virshilas
BAILANDO (original)
Awesome Ukrainian yodeler - SOFIA SHKIDCHENKO (with English subtitles)
Avicii - The Nights
Atom - The Great Gig in the Sky
Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Official Ly
Antonio Banderas - Cancion del Mariachi (Desperado)
André Rieu - Zorba's Dance (Sirtaki)
André Rieu - Can't Help Falling In Love
André Rieu & Mirusia - Ave Maria
Andrew Reyes Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down The Voice 2020 (
Andreas Kümmert Whiter Shade Of Pale The Voice of Germany 2013 Showd
And I Love You So
All About That Bass - Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Alan Walker - Faded (Piano Cover)
Ain't No Sunshine -- Bill Withers (cover by Canen 12 y.o.)
African music
Adriana Vidović - “Creep” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
Adriana Vidović - “Believer” Nokaut 3 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
A Fistful of Dollars - The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Tuva
4 Beautiful Soundtracks Relaxing Piano [10min]
2CELLOS - Whole Lotta Love vs. Beethoven 5th Symphony [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
2CELLOS - Smooth Criminal (Live at Suntory Hall, Tokyo)
2CELLOS - Smells Like Teen Spirit [Live at Sydney Opera House]
2CELLOS - Despacito [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
13 Year Old Girl Playing Il Silenzio (The Silence) - André Rieu
094.All About That Bass
00 - SADNESS PART 1
(Ghost) Riders In the Sky (American Outlaws Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams (Boyce Avenue ft. Conn
What a wonderful world
Moon river
×