One of the lesser talked about themes of this mad election is the unusually large number of big-name politicians who could feasibly lose their seats. A couple of ‘Portillo moments’ can be always be expected, but in three weeks’ time it is very possible that a dozen or so top MPs could be out. You might be surprised by some of those struggling to hold on.
Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander
In March Lord Ashcroft polled a series of Labour-held Scottish constituencies. Jim Murphy’s East Renfrewshire was the only one where Labour were still in first place, and he was only ahead by one percentage point. This week Ashcroft has Murphy 9 points behind the SNP, and 20 points behind his 2010 result.
Labour’s campaign chief Douglas Alexander trails by a staggering 11 points in Paisley & South Renfrewshire. The bookies’ favourite in both seats are now the SNP candidates, Kirsten Oswald and the 20 year old Mhairi Black respectively. If you think the Nats are bad now, imagine their reaction if they scalp the leader of Scottish Labour and Westminster Labour’s top strategist.
Esther McVey and Anna Soubry
One senior Conservative at the heart of the party’s ground war suggests that the two biggest Tory upsets could be Esther McVey and Anna Soubry. Employment minister McVey is a Labour hate figure second only to Iain Duncan Smith – graffiti saying “McVey murderer” recently appeared on a Job Centre in her Wirral West seat. Labour’s candidate Margaret Greenwood is not short of help trying to overturn the 2,000 majority. McVey is evens to hold on.
Soubry, meanwhile, went AWOL from her role as a Defence minister in the last few months as she tries to cling on to her paper-thin 390 majority in Broxtowe. Labour’s Nick Palmer, who used to be the MP for the seat, is running again and is 4/9 favourite to win it back.
Danny Alexander, Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell
Judging by the polls, the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Secretary is almost certain to lose his seat. According to Ashcroft, Danny Alexander is 29 points behind in Inverness. That’s less than half of what the SNP are on, so it looks like Drew Hendry is heading to Westminster. Two former Lib Dem leaders are also on the way out. Ming Campbell is 13 points behind the SNP in East Fife, while Charlie Kennedy is 15 adrift in Ross, Skye and Lochaber.
Lynne Featherstone, Tessa Munt, Lorely Burt, Annette Brooke, Jenny Willott, Jo Swinson
The Lib Dem wipeout looks especially bad for the party’s female representation, which is already shamefully low. These six top yellow women are all set to lose their seats if you believe the bookies. Lorely Burt has a majority of just 175 in Solihull, while Jenny Willott quit as a whip to defend her 4,000 lead in Cardiff Central. Lynne Featherstone, Home Office minister and the Lib Dems’ pound shop Harriet Harman, is facing a fight from Labour’s Catherine West in Hornsey and Wood Green.
UKIP are putting all their resources into Nigel Farage and South Thanet, which means candidates elsewhere are having to fend for themselves. According to Election Forecast, Mark Reckless will struggle to hold on to Rochester and Strood following his by-election win there last year. The saving grace for UKIP is that he is defending his 2,920 majority against the same Tory candidate, Kelly Tolhurst, who was not exactly impressive last time round.
Odds via bet2015.co.uk