Express & Star

Target seats visited by party leaders on day six of the campaign

The Prime Minister has spent time in Stoke-on-Trent North, which is ranked 103 on Labour’s target list.

Last updated
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Mark Meaney, works manager, and Conservative parliamentary candidate Jonathan Gullis (left) during a visit to a pottery factory in Stoke On Trent, Staffordshire

All three of the main party leaders have spent Tuesday visiting seats that could be crucial in deciding the outcome of the General Election.

Rishi Sunak toured a pottery factory in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, continuing the pattern of recent days for making campaign stops in Tory-held constituencies that are being targeted by either Labour or the Liberal Democrats.

The factory was in Stoke-on-Trent North, which is 103rd on Labour’s target list and the sort of seat Sir Keir Starmer would need to win to be on track for a comfortable majority in the next parliament.

The visit came 24 hours after Mr Sunak made campaign stops in constituencies of Harpenden & Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire (Lib Dem target number 51) and Chesham & Amersham in Buckinghamshire (Lib Dem target 76), while on Sunday he appeared in the London seat of Harrow East (Labour target 94).

Stoke-on-Trent North would fall to Labour on a swing in the share of the vote of 9.7 percentage points, while the Tories are defending a notional majority of 8,077.

POLITICS Election Visits
(PA Graphics)

This figure is described as “notional” because the 2024 General Election is being held using new constituency boundaries, which means the results cannot be compared directly with what happened at the last general election in 2019.

To measure how well the parties do at the 2024 election, and to determine which seats they need to win to form a government, a set of notional results for the 2019 election has been calculated to show what would have happened if that contest had taken place using the new boundaries.

Mr Sunak also spent Tuesday visiting a bowling club in Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, in the constituency of Hinckley & Bosworth: on paper, one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, ranking at 194 on the Liberal Democrats’ target list and number 380 on Labour’s list.

A swing to the Lib Dems of 23.3 points, or one to Labour of 25.3 points, would be needed for the seat to change hands – either of them requiring a huge shift in the share of the vote, but typical of the kind of swing seen at some recent by-elections.

General Election campaign 2024
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves pay a visit to the Rolls-Royce headquarters in Derby (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir’s first visit on Tuesday was to the Rolls-Royce headquarters in the constituency of Derby South – not a Labour target at this election, but instead a seat where the party is defending a notional majority of 6,019 and which is number 79 on the Conservatives’ list.

It is the first time since the campaign started that Sir Keir has visited a constituency that is not a Labour target and follows appearances on Monday in the Tory-held seats of Worthing East & Shoreham (Labour target 76) and Chipping Barnet (Labour target 37).

Later on Tuesday the Labour leader visited the Airbus factory in the constituency of Stevenage in Hertfordshire, which is a Labour target – ranked number 98 – and which the party would gain from the Conservatives on a swing of 9.0 percentage points.

(PA Graphics)

Meanwhile, the Cumbrian constituency of Westmorland & Lonsdale, which the Liberal Democrats held at the last general election, has undergone such a drastic boundary change that it is now classed as a seat the Conservatives would have won in 2019 with a notional majority of 5,140.

It is perhaps not a surprise, therefore, that Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has visited the seat so early in the campaign, appearing on Tuesday with Tim Farron, who won the seat – on its previous boundaries – for the Lib Dems in every election since 2005.

General Election campaign 2024
Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey falls into the water while paddleboarding on Lake Windermere (Peter Byrne/PA)

The pair mounted paddleboards for a somewhat haphazard journey on Lake Windermere, occasionally spending more time in the water than on its surface.

Westmorland & Lonsdale is the Lib Dems’ 15th top target at this election, based on the redrawn boundaries, with the party needing a swing of 4.8 percentage points to win the seat.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.