Last updated 22 December 2020
It is just over a year since the Conservatives won a landslide victory under Boris Johnson. However, Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the election of Keir Starmer as Labour leader has significantly dented the Tories support in the polls in the months that have come since.
The next election is not due to take place until May 2 2024, but this could change as the government plans to scrap the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, which would allow them to call an election at a time of their choosing. So what would happen if a general election was held today?
Based on current polling, the Conservatives narrowly remain the largest party with their vote share down almost five percent on the last election. Labour would see a surge in support, up more than six percent, but falling just short of first place. The Liberal Democrats, trailing in third, would lose more than half of their 2019 support, whilst the Greens and the SNP make modest gains.
So how might such a result translate into seats at a general election?
Based on Flavible’s constituency model, such a result would leave the Conservatives as largest party for the fifth election in a row, but losing more than 80 seats and short of an overall majority by 82.
Labour would gain 75 seats but remain the second largest party with 277. Such an outcome for Labour would be outperform Jeremy Corbyn’s performance in 2017, when the party won 262 seats. For the Tories, the loss of seats would be comparable to the 98 lost by Gordon Brown’s Labour government in 2010.
Many of the gains made by Labour in this scenario include those lost by the party in the 2019 general election, including Darlington, High Peak, Kensington, Stroud, Stoke-on-Trent Central, Clwyd South, Workington, Wrexham, Peterborough and Gedling, as well as others like Shipley, Watford, Copeland, Wycombe, Hastings and Rye, Vale of Glamorgan, Reading West, and Chingford and Woodford Green – the constituency of former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith. However, several seats that Labour lost at the last election would remain in Tory hands, particularly Bishop Auckland, Redcar, Great Grimsby, Penistone and Stocksbridge and Ashfield.
In Scotland, the SNP would gain all but one seat, with Labour holding onto its only Scottish seat in Edinburgh South.
The Liberal Democrats would lose five of the 11 seats won in 2019, including all of their seats in Scotland. Plaid Cymru and the Green Party would make no further gains.
In such a situation, it would appear that the incumbent Conservative government would find it all but impossible to reach a majority in Parliament. An agreement with the DUP would take them to just 290.
Labour on the other hand could make it to Number 10 but would need SNP support to do so – something which could prove contentious if they demand a second referendum as the price of co-operation. Any arrangement without the SNP would leave Labour at least 30 seats short of a majority.
This projection should be taken with a pinch of salt, however, as boundary changes are due to be completed by the next general election, which may vary how many seats each party would win.