Nigel Farage did a noble thing yesterday in agreeing to stand down Brexit Party candidates in the 317 seats the Tories won in 2017. Unfortunately, it isn’t sufficient to safeguard Brexit. If he fields candidates in Labour seats, which is his current plan, he could still do enough damage to deprive Boris Johnson of a majority and put Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10.
How so? Take the 317 seats the Conservatives won in 2017. Don’t forget, the Tories are now down to 298 MPs, so they’ll need to win 25 more to secure a working majority of 323. But in reality the party will have to make more gains than that because it won’t hold all of those 298.
How many seats is it likely to lose? I think it’s a safe bet it won’t lose any where the Labour Party were in second place in 2017. But the same cannot be said of those seats where the Lib Dems and the SNP came second. According to my calculations, if there’s a 7.5 per cent swing away from the Tory incumbent in seats where the Lib Dems came second last time, and a 7.5 per cent swing to the SNP in those seats where the SNP came second, the Conservatives will lose 20 seats – ten to the Lib Dems and ten to the SNP.
Factoring in those losses, the Conservatives will therefore have to win 45 seats to gain a working majority. Let’s assume the party wins back all 19 of the seats it has lost since 2017, including Brecon and Radnorshire which is currently held by the Lib Dems. That leaves the party still needing to win 26 seats.
Where are those gains going to come from? (To read more, click here.)