It’s time for another refresh of my anatomy of the Liberal Democrat party.
I first updated my list of six species a couple of months ago. Since then things have if anything got worse for the Lib Dems, and several MPs need to be reshuffled around the categories.
As before, I’ve assessed the chances of survival for a Lib Dem MP in each of the party’s current constituencies. I’ve coloured the seats according to which party I predict will win them at the election. I’ve had to use a pink-ish colour for the SNP, as yellow doesn’t show up well on this blog. The name is that of the current Lib Dem MP. An asterisk denotes a new Lib Dem candidate.
1. The doomed
I had 14 MPs in this category last time. Now there are 17. These are the MPs who have no chance of surviving. I’m including Portsmouth South, which is now technically an independent seat, but which I still think the Lib Dems will fail to retake.
Solihull (Lorely Burt)
Dorset Mid & Poole North (Vikki Slade*)
Norwich South (Simon Wright)
Bradford East (David Ward)
Wells (Tessa Munt)
St Austell & Newquay (Stephen Gilbert)
Brent Central (tbc*)
St Ives (Andrew George)
Somerton & Frome (David Rendel*)
Burnley (Gordon Birtwistle)
Manchester Withington (John Leech)
Gordon (Christine Jardine*)
Portsmouth South (Gerald Vernon-Jackson*)
Chippenham (Duncan Hames)
Dunbartonshire East (Jo Swinson)
Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott)
Redcar (Josh Mason*)
2. The condemned
This category has gone down to 12, but only because three seats have moved into the category above. These are people I’m judging to be in severe danger of losing their seat. I’m currently predicting only Mark Hunter to hold his seat in Cheadle.
Berwick-upon-Tweed (Julie Porksen*)
Cornwall North (Dan Rogerson)
Birmingham Yardley (John Hemming)
Cheadle (Mark Hunter)
Edinburgh West (Michael Crockart)
Taunton Deane (Rachel Gilmour*)
Argyll & Bute (Alan Reid)
West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine (Robert Smith)
Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross (John Thurso)
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey (Danny Alexander)
Cambridge (Julian Huppert)
Hornsey & Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone)
3. The dicey
From here on, I’m predicting no more seats to change hands. But the MPs in this category are not safe, and could fall prey to tactical voting or a massive swing to another party. I’ve increased this category by two, as Ceredigion is now a possible (though not probable) gain for Plaid Cymru, and Charles Kennedy could fall to the SNP surge.
Eastbourne (Stephen Lloyd)
Brecon & Radnorshire (Roger Williams)
Torbay (Adrian Sanders)
Cheltenham (Martin Horwood)
Carshalton & Wallington (Tom Brake)
Devon North (Nick Harvey)
Bermondsey & Old Southwark (Simon Hughes)
Fife North East (Tim Brett*)
Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk (Michael Moore)
Southport (John Pugh)
Bristol West (Stephen Williams)
Sheffield Hallam (Nick Clegg)
Ceredigion (Mark Williams)
Ross, Skye & Lochaber (Charles Kennedy)
4. The dependables
These are MPs who should all be re-elected, but whose majorities aren’t quite large enough to take victory totally for granted.
Hazel Grove (Lisa Smart*)
Bath (Steve Bradley*)
Colchester (Bob Russell)
Thornbury & Yate (Steve Webb)
Kingston & Surbiton (Ed Davey)
Lewes (Norman Baker)
Twickenham (Vince Cable)
5. The untouchables
Everyone in this category is safe. Their re-election is (barring some personal calamity or freak arithmetical occurrence) guaranteed.
Leeds North West (Greg Mulholland)
Orkney & Shetland (Alistair Carmichael)
Norfolk North (Norman Lamb)
Westmorland & Lonsdale (Tim Farron)
Yeovil (David Laws)
6. The trend-defiers
I’m sticking with my prediction that these two MPs will hold out against the tide, despite both having small majorities. Paul Burstow will survive even though he is defending a majority of just 1,608, thanks in part to local support and a weak Tory opposition. Mike Thornton won Eastleigh in the 2013 by-election and ought to hold on in 2015, again thanks to a strong local organisation.
Sutton & Cheam (Paul Burstow)
Eastleigh (Mike Thornton)
I’m still predicting 28 Liberal Democrat seats to change hands, leaving the party with a total of 29 MPs in the new parliament. This is above what many others are forecasting, but would see the party’s presence in the House of Commons more or less halved in size. The only truly safe Scottish seat is now Orkney & Shetland.