In Depth

General Election 2019: the marginal seats up for grabs

Some big-name MPs are facing uncertain futures

With the general election now less than two weeks away and the biggest poll of the campaign complete, some key figures look set to disappear from the Commons by the end of the year.

Here are some of the constituencies to keep an eye on come election night.

Anna Soubry (Independent) - Broxtowe

A vocal anti-Brexit campaigner, former cabinet minister Soubry stepped down from the Conservative Party in February to form Change UK. In June, after six of the party’s 11 MPs left the group, she was announced as party leader.

Soubry has been MP for Broxtowe, in Nottinghamshire, since 2010, but won the seat by just 863 votes in 2017. As a Change UK candidate, she is now polling third in the constituency, behind the Conservatives and Labour.

Dominic Grieve (Independent) - Beaconsfield

Another former big beast of the Conservative Party, Grieve has served as attorney general and chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee. However, he had the Tory whip removed in September, along with 20 other rebel tory MPs, after voting against the government in order to prevent a no-deal exit on 31 October.

Grieve won a majority of 24,534 in his Buckinghamshire constituency in 2017, but has fallen out of favour with his local Conservative Association, as evidenced by a video of him addressing an angry group of local Tories earlier this year. He is now standing in the seat as an independent, but is lagging behind the Conservative’s candidate in the polls.

Zac Goldsmith (Conservatives) - Richmond Park

The only cabinet minister whose seat appears to be under threat, Environment Minister Goldsmith narrowly won the Richmond Park seat in 2017 by 45 votes. The seat had been claimed by the Liberal Democrats by just 1,872 votes in a by-election the previous year.

Goldsmith is a committed Brexiteer, but Richmond voted 69.3% to remain in the EU - which suggests that YouGov figures indicating he will lose this time round may prove to be accurate.

Chuka Umunna (Lib Dems) - Cities of London and Westminster

Umunna left the Labour Party in February to join the newly formed Change UK, but in June crossed over to the Lib Dems.

He previously held the seat for Streatham, but is now standing in a Conservative-held seat in London where the majority is currently 3,148. According to YouGov's polling, Umunna looks likely to fall short.

Luciana Berger (Lib Dems) - Finchley and Golders Green

Another defector from Labour, Berger resigned from the party in February, citing the leadership’s failure to address alleged anti-Semetism, and joined Change UK before later switching to the Lib Dems. 

Berger is standing in a seat that currently has a 1,657 Tory majority, but which voted to remain in the EU. However, polling suggests that like Umunna, she may fail in her bid to take the seat for their party.

David Gauke (Independent) - South West Hertfordshire

A Conservative cabinet minister as recently as July, Gauke resigned from the party in July 2019 following the Tory leadership election, saying he could not serve under Boris Johnson unless the new prime minister dropped his no-deal Brexit agenda.

Gauke held a comfortable majority of nearly 20,000 as a Conservative, but as an independent looks unlikely to be able to overcome voters’ loyalty to his former party.

Gareth Snell (Labour Party) - Stoke-on-Trent Central

Polling suggests that the shadow health secretary may lose his seat even though it has never been held by a Conservative MP. Snell had a 2,620 majority in 2017, but YouGov figures have him on course to lose this time in a major coup for the Tories.

Mary Creagh (Labour Party) - Wakefield

Another Labour MP whose seat looks tight, despite the Tories not having won in Wakefield since 1931. Creagh supports Remain, despite her constituents voting 66.4% to leave in 2016, and YouGov suggests that could cost her at the upcoming election.

Rosie Duffield (Labour Party) - Canterbury

When Duffield won Canterbury in 2017, a seat held by Tories since the 1850s, her victory was cited as a key example of Labour’s impressive performance. But she is defending a majority of just 187 votes in the upcoming vote, leading the Lib Dem candidate for the seat to stand down to avoid splitting the pro-Remain vote. 

However, it seems Lib Dem HQ did not get the memo, with the party selecting a second candidate to oppose Duffield - setting the scene for the possible loss of the seat to the Tories.

Tom Watson (Labour) - West Bromwich East

Watson will definitely be absent from the Commons following the December election, after announcing earlier this month that he is stepping down as Labour deputy leader and will not be running again as an MP.

His successor in his West Bromwich East constituency may not be heading for Parliament either. Labour has held the Midlands seat since it was created in 1974 and Watson had built up an 8,000 vote lead over the Conservatives, but YouGov has the seat on a 9% Tory swing.


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