LONDON — Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron and his predecessor
Nick Clegg are both at serious risk of losing their seats at the
Conservatives in Farron’s Westmorland and Lonsdale seat are
confident of pulling off a remarkable victory in Cumbria, while a
drop in Lib Dem support in Sheffield Hallam has Labour confident
that it can unseat Clegg, party sources have told Business
The Telegraph’s Ben
Riley-Smith reported last week that Cumbrian Tories are
working on a “take-out Tim” strategy to unseat the Lib Dem leader
and win back the Westmorland and Lonsdale seat the party lost in
Conservative sources have confirmed this to Business
Insider, claiming that Tory activists in Westmorland and Lonsdale
are “throwing lots of money and resources” at the seat amid
growing confidence that Theresa May can wrench it from Farron’s
“They are throwing the kitchen sink at it and having a lot of fun
up there,” the Conservative candidate told us.
Meanwhile, in Sheffield, the local Labour Party is confident of
unseating former deputy prime minister Clegg, who has been the MP
for Sheffield Hallam since 2005. Local Tories are wary of the
threat posed by Labour, too.
Clegg defeated Labour’s Oliver Coppard by 4.2% in 2015 but
Labour’s candidate this time around, Jared O’Mara, fancies his
chances of overturning this margin and winning the seat the Lib
Dems have held since 1997.
Labour sources believe many former-Conservative voters who backed
Clegg in 2015 to make sure Labour didn’t win the seat are not set
to vote tactically this time around, paving the way for Labour to
leapfrog the Lib Dems to victory.
Farron and Clegg losing their seats would undoubtedly be one of
the biggest stories of election night. The party has come into
the snap election pledging to double its number of seats in
Commons amid talk of a Lib Dem revival fuelled by Remain-voting
Brits who want to oppose Brexit. However, the party is yet to
surge in the polls, while YouGov research
published this week shows 68% of Brits want Brexit to happen,
including 23% that voted Remain in June.
Having initially been tipped for a resurgence, the Lib Dems
could be set to lose its two biggest names on June 8.
What would it take for Farron and Clegg to lose?
Clegg, who was David Cameron’s deputy in the coalition
government, has held Sheffield Hallam since 1997 but at the last
election received 13.4% less than he received in 2010. Clegg won
in 2015 but with a slim majority of 2,353. If the feeling
within the local Labour Party is right and floating voters who
backed Clegg in 2015 decide to cast their votes elsewhere, Labour
would be in a strong position to win Sheffield Hallam, assuming
its local vote holds up.
A loss for Farron would take something much more spectacular. The
Lib Dem leader won the Cumbrian seat in 2015 with a huge 18.5%
lead over Conservative candidate Ann Myatt, who was runner-up.
However, Conservative activists are quietly confident that a
campaign centred on the mandate Theresa May claims she requires
to negotiate Brexit will resonate with the 45% of residents who
are estimated to have voted Leave.
produced some figures into how Britain’s regions plan to vote
on June 8. We took these figures and fed them into Electoral
Calculus, an online tool for projecting general election results
using polling data. As the graphic below illustrates, Farron is
set to surrender his seat to the Conservatives, according to
these recent figures.