Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Lib Dems at Risk, Number Three: London and the South East
So for my third trick, let's look at the Lib Dems' likely losses in London and the South East. Here, they've got some massive majorities - but also some MPs who should be burnishing their CVs and furiously networking, because they're going to need a new job in May 2015 at the latest.
In London, the Lib Dems are probably toast in Kingston and Surbiton, Sutton and Cheam, Carshalton and Wallington - all of which they'll lose to the Conservatives. They'll also certainly lose Brent Central, and probably Hornsey and Wood Green, to Labour. So that's five losses here - three to the Tories, and two to Labour. Only Vince Cable in Twickenham, and Simon Hughes in Bermondsey, will be saved by their personal votes.
In the wider South East region, the Lib Dems have fewer seats to lose, but I fear Chris Huhne may lose his Eastleigh seat, Mike Hancock in Portsmouth South may be kicked out (both MPs have, of course, been afflicted by scandals of different sorts), and their surprising gain of Eastbourne in 2010 will be reversed. All three seats will go to the Conservatives - bringing their likely net gain today to six, and Labour's to two.
Overall, that gives us Lib Dem losses so far, even on the old boundaries, of nineteen so far and eight more today. That's 27 losses, by my maths, with one more post to go. It's not looking good, is it?
Later in the week: the English Midlands and the North.