The May 2015 election result will go down in the record books

25 June 2015, Blog

Although the history books are yet to be written, the May 2015 election result will go down in the record books. It is arguably as important to the future shape of British politics as Tony blair’s landslide in 1997.

The election campaign itself was dominated by the Scottish question and for good reason – the results the SNP achieved are truly mind boggling. There used to be an old joke that there were more pandas in Edinburgh zoo than Tory MPs in Scotland. Well that joke needs updating as there are more pandas than Labour and Lib Dem MPs as well.

The collapse of the Lib Dems has set the former 3rd party of UK politics back by half a century and it is unclear how they can muster any kind of real comeback to be a significant presence in 2020.

The lack of a swing of any discernible amount to Labour from the Conservatives was the third dramatic element of the results and an unremarked factor of the results was the real growth of UKIP who finished 2nd in 100 constituencies but only have 1 MP to show for it.

The upshot of this, after years in which the electoral system was slanted to support Labour, is that it now helps the Tories more. With expected boundary changes ahead, the Tories will have a firm advantage going into 2020.

Professor John Curtice has laid bare the scale of labour’s challenge in 2020. Unless they recover in Scotland, very difficult given the sheer scale of the SNP majorities, labour’s new leader will require a 12.5% to win. That means winning seats like Kensington and Chigwell – true blue to the core.

But one final observation about how close run the election was. In the Tories 7 most marginal seats their combined majority was just 1793. So if 897 people had voted differently across these 7 seats there would have been the hung Parliament that so many of us were predicting. Small margins can make a big difference.



By James Turgoose, Director at JBP

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