If the results from this week’s local elections were repeated in a general election, the Conservatives would lose eight MPs, nearly a third of their seats in the region. After repeated setbacks over partygate, the cost-of-living crisis, and the failure of levelling up, the local elections saw the Conservatives lose ground in Yorkshire, including in key red wall constituencies gained in 2019.
It is worth noting that local polls cannot transpose directly onto national ones. Voters behave differently between the two: most notably a constituency can have a ward consistently represented by a party who has no hope at the general election, and so their voters will pick another party’s candidate at the general election.
However, these local polls can still show movement between general elections, which may precede a change of MP.
Voter behaviour in key red wall seats
In this election, Labour received more votes than the Conservatives in constituencies like Calder Valley (held by Craig Whittaker), Dewsbury (held by Mark Eastwood), and Wakefield. Not only would this undo the disastrous 2019 election, but would see the Tories losing seats like Pudsey, which they have held since 2010.
No elections were held in the marginal seats of Rother Valley or Don Valley, represented by Conservatives Alexander Stafford and Nick Fletcher respectively, other than the South Yorkshire mayoral election. Had there been, it is likely that Labour would have won a majority of votes here too, bearing in mind the swing across the region.
The local elections were also good for the Liberal Democrats. Not only did they win the most votes in their Yorkshire target seats of Conservative-held Harrogate and Knaresborough, and Labour-held Sheffield Hallam, they came 128 votes behind Labour in Conservative-held Morley and Outwood, offering the possibility that the seat may become a three-way marginal.
One notable result was in Keighley, currently represented by Robbie Moore. Here, the Conservatives’ share of the vote increased from 36 percent in 2021 to 40 percent in 2022, with Labour in second with 32 percent, and the Greens trailing at 18 percent. Should voters behave tactically in a general election, he may well also be at a risk of losing his seat.
What would happen if a general election were held today?
If a general election were held today, these MPs would certainly be at risk of losing their seats.
|2019 GE vote
|2021 locals vote
|2022 locals vote
|Harrogate and Knaresborough
|Lib Dem +1
|Penistone and Stocksbridge
|Morely and Outwood
Let’s see how things develop!