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Large increase Liberal Democrat vote

May 10, 2005 7:17 PM

The recent general election saw a good result for the Liberal Democrats in both Southampton seats. In Southampton Itchen the Liberal Democrat vote increased from 6195 to 9162 an increase of nearly 50%. Overall Liberal Democrat the share of the vote increased by 6.2% while Labour's vote decreased by 6.2%. This increase in support was even above the national average increase in Liberal Democrat support of 3.8% and far exceeded the 1.7% increase for the south east of England.

The conservative vote share in Southampton Itchen decreased again for the second general election in a row this time by 0.5%. By contrast this was the second general election in a row that the Liberal Democrat vote increased; it was up 3.3% in 2001 and 6.2% this time.

Across the country the Liberal Democrats were the only main party to make gains in all parts of the country. No other party has the geographical spread or the balanced representation between city, urban, suburban and rural seats that the liberal Democrats now have. This was a good election result Liberal Democrats for many other reasons :-

  • The Liberal Democrats now have MPs, or run the council, in every major British city, meaning more coverage in the regional media based in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester. The combined population of these five cities is 2.8 million. The Tories have no MPs in these cities.
  • Seats have been gained in urban areas such as Cardiff and Manchester Withington, in rural areas such as Taunton and in suburban constituencies such as Leeds North West. These have been as far North as Inverness, as far West as Ceredigion, as far East as Cambridge and as far South as Falmouth & Cambourne.
  • Liberal Democrats have gained Conservative seats, such as Solihull and Westmorland & Lonsdale, as well as Labour seats. Many seats, such as Bristol West, were Conservative held in the 1990s before becoming Labour held in 1997.
  • Liberal Democrats have gained votes in every region, and are now in second place in votes in Scotland, the North East, the South East and the South West. In Scotland and North East Liberal Democrats are second to Labour and in the South Liberal Democrats are second to the Conservatives.
  • The Liberal Democrats have secured a strong platform for future growth, with over 160 second places. Combined with 62 wins this provides strong potential for future gains, as well as the potential to realise more gains from third place, as happened in Falmouth & Cambourne and Leeds North West.
  • For every eight voters who have stopped voting for Labour since 2001, seven have voted Lib Dem.
  • Most Lib Dem MPs have increased their majorities.

In contrast this is a result is bad for the Conservatives

  • The Conservatives have had their third worst share of the vote in over 150 years.
  • The Conservatives do not have an MP in any major British city outside London.
  • The Conservatives gained virtually no seats outside the south of England. In the whole of the north of England there were only three Conservative gains - Scarborough & Whitby, Lancaster & Wyre and Shipley. In Scotland they held on with one seat
  • The Conservative vote share of 33% is only 0.5% better than 2001. At this rate of increase the Conservatives will match John Major's 1992 vote share in 2085

And finally for Labour well losing 100 seats from your majority is hardly a ringing endorsement of 8 years of government.