General Election 2019: How the parties fared in 2017 and what could decide Southwark’s three seats

Katherine Johnston (05 December, 2019)

Bermondsey and Old Southwark is a target seat for the Lib Dems


It was all looking so good for the Lib Dems in Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

Back in September, when the Labour MP Neil Coyle was facing an uncertain trigger ballot result, the bookies said Humaira Ali was odds-on favourite to retake the seat in an early election.

Three months later, Labour have taken over as favourites, at 4/6.

In 2017, YouGov’s MRP model accurately predicted 93 per cent of election results in the 2017 poll.

It now predicts the Tories would win 359 seats, gaining an extra 42, becoming their best performance since 1987.

Labour may lose 51 – its worst performance since 1983. They expect all Southwark’s Labour MPs will hold their seemingly unshakeable seats.

In 2017, Coyle almost tripled his majority, against Simon Hughes.  Helen Hayes held her seat with 39,093 votes with the Conservatives coming in second with just over 10,000.

Harriet Harman also held a strong lead, with 44,665 votes compared to the Tories trailing at 7,349.

With a week to go, can the Lib Dems salvage their campaign? The commitment to Revoke Article 50 will go down well with ultra-Remainers, but is failing to sweep up the middle ground.

The Remain alliance hope gains in the European election will put them on a similar course; assuming it’s all about Brexit. But it’s also about their leaders, their party divisions, local grievances and some of the most radical manifestos we’ve seen in a long time.

It seems obvious Labour’s promised huge investment into public services is going to be a winner. The real question is how close the competition will be.

In Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Ali has to sweep up all those voters who supported Hughes but defected to Labour in 2015 and again in 2017.

Does she have the oomph needed? If voters aren’t convinced about Ali, will leader Jo Swinson persuade them?

Both Camberwell and Peckham and Dulwich and West Norwood had the Tories second in 2017. Can they repeat and consolidate or will they haemorrhage centrist voters to the Lib Dems?

What happens to Tories who can’t stand Boris, and Labour voters frustrated by Corbyn, or Lib Dems unsure about Swinson?

In all constituencies there is a sizeable minority who voted Leave. Will they go Tory or Brexit Party? Or even Labour?

The Greens and Lib Dems say they can’t give each other a free run in every seat, hence no one standing aside in Harman’s. In reality it’s practically impossible either party could take it.

But maybe, in Dulwich and West Norwood Jonathan Bartley, who has exposure as the party’s co-leader, could overtake the Tories for second place.

He has exposure, a strong track record in opposition on Lambeth council, and the Green’s policy on giving estates a ballot on regeneration is a strong pitch.

Either way, it looks like Southwark will stay red. Maybe.


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