I made the point a few days ago that, for all the attention being rightly focused on Ukip, the Greens and the SNP, it’s nonetheless still the case that the Labour-Conservative battleground will determine the outcome of the election.
I thought I’d follow this up with an illustration of the size of the task facing Labour to – at the very least – become the largest party in the next parliament.
The party won 258 seats in 2010. Let’s assume for the sake of argument it holds all of these seats in 2015, with the exception of Bradford West, which it lost to George Galloway in the 2012 by-election. That gives us 257. But if we add in Corby, which Labour won from the Tories also at a by-election in 2012, that takes us back up to 258.
Now let’s decide on a figure for the total number of seats that would mean Labour is the largest party in the next parliament. As a bare minimum, I’m going to suggest 300. That’s six fewer seats than the Tories managed in 2010, but 300 feels like a useful and symbolic target.
To get to 300, Labour needs to win an additional 42 seats. Where might these come from?