Tactical voting to hit Tories in next election

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Indy Politics

Tactical voting at the next general election could lose the Conservatives even more seats than in 1997, new figures will show today.

Tactical voting at the next general election could lose the Conservatives even more seats than in 1997, new figures will show today.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats could easily win extra seats if their supporters can be persuaded to overcome tribalism and repeat the voting behaviour of Romsey on a national level. In the Romsey by-election, the Liberal Democrats managed to win a safe Tory seat after the Labour vote practically collapsed.

New research shows that there are 127 constituencies where votes to the third-placed candidates, either Labour or Liberal Democrat, are greater than the majority of the winning Tory.

There are 12 seats in particular where such a slight shift in tactical voting could vote out the sitting Tory MP at the next general election, based on the results of the 1997 poll.

For example, in South Dorset, the Labour candidate could have won against the Tory MP Ian Bruce if 77 of the 9,936 Liberal Democrat voters had switched their support.

Similarly, in Teignbridge, Patrick Nicholls would have lost his seat in 1997 if only 282 of the 11,311 Labour supporters had voted for the Liberal Democrats.

Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham, who will publish the new figures today, said: "Liberal Democratic and Labour voters have an historic opportunity in the next election. We can go further than holding onto the 1997 seats.

"There are 12 Tory seats where if fewer than one in 10 of the voters who voted for the third-placed candidate had voted differently we could have seen seven more Labour MPs and five more Lib-Dem MPs. All it takes is for a couple of hundred voters to vote tactically and we can push back the Tories to the margins of British politics and continue the process of reform and renewal of our country.

"It is not for me to urge anyone how to cast their vote other than for my own party but British voters are smart enough to realise the power they have in their own hands at the next election to open a new chapter of British history."

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