Labour leading Tories in 125 target seats in England and Wales, new poll shows

Elliot Chappell
©️ Jakub Junek/

Labour is significantly ahead of the Conservatives in 125 constituencies in England and Wales that Keir Starmer’s party needs to win at the next general election, according to a new poll published by the Fabian Society.

The opposition party led the Tories by nine percentage points in the target seats, the research found, with Labour on 43% and the Conservatives on 34%. At the last election, support for the Tories in the seats stood at 49% and 37% for Labour.

The swing towards Labour would result in the party gaining around 100 target seats at a general election and returning around 300 MPs, the research suggested, and Andrew Harrop described the poll as a “great Christmas present” for Labour.

“Labour has a really solid foundation to build on in the seats it needs to win in England and Wales. It is particularly encouraging to see voters in places without a Labour MP for many years turning to the party,” the Fabian Society general secretary said.

668 people living in the 125 target seats responded as part of a larger nationwide poll weighted to be representative of adults. The 125 seats comprise 58 constituencies that Labour has held at some point during its 11 years in opposition, and 67 seats the party lost in 2010 or before or has never held at all.

The poll reported Labour’s lead in the seats it lost in 2015, 2017 or 2019 as ten points (Labour on 44% and the Tories on 34%). The Labour lead in seats it has not held recently was nine points (Labour on 43% and the Tories on 34%) and the research found that the swing since the last election is higher in seats that party has not recently held (11 points).

According the Fabian Society, polling data on recently-lost ‘Red Wall’ constituencies excludes Labour target seats that the party has not held for years, where the party is doing best, and so understates recent progress made by Starmer’s party.

Harrop added: “These constituencies often get overlooked when we talk about the recently lost ‘Red Wall’ seats. Labour can now mount a challenge in places that were last competitive when Tony Blair was Prime Minister.

“But there is no room for complacency. The results for marginal seats in this poll show that support for the Conservatives has crashed in the wake of Boris Johnson’s scandals. But too few swing seat voters are confident that Labour has changed for the better.

“There is still a lot of convincing to do before the next election. Labour must keep working hard to convince the electorate that the party is ready to lead, at a time when the Tories have proved incapable.”

30% told researchers that the party was moving in the right direction, 29% said it was going in the wrong direction and 41% said they did not know. The country-wide results was: “right direction” 27%, “wrong direction” 28%, “don’t know” 45%.

95 of the 125 target seats included in the poll are made up of towns and villages, with many in the North, Midlands and Wales, and not usually adjacent to what the Labour-affiliated organisation described as “core cities”.

Below is the full list of the 125 target seats.

Recently Labour-held constituencies (58): Ashfield, Barrow and Furness, Birmingham, Northfield, Bishop Auckland, Blackpool South, Blyth Valley, Bolsover, Bolton North East, Bolton West, Bridgend, Burnley, Bury North, Bury South, Clwyd South, Colne Valley, Copeland, Crewe and Nantwich, Darlington, Delyn, Derby North, Dewsbury, Don Valley, Gedling, Great Grimsby, Heywood and Middleton, High Peak, Hyndburn, Ipswich, Keighley, Kensington, Leigh, Lincoln, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Morley and Outwood, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, North West Durham, Penistone and Stocksbridge, Peterborough, Redcar, Rother Valley, Scunthorpe, Sedgefield, Southampton, Itchen, Stockton South, Stoke-On-Trent Central, Stoke-On-Trent North, Stroud, Telford, Vale Of Clwyd, Wakefield, Warrington South, West Bromwich East, West Bromwich West, Wolverhampton North East, Wolverhampton South West, Workington, Wrexham and Ynys Mon.

Never, rarely and not recently Labour-held seats (67): Aberconwy, Altrincham and Sale West, Arfon, Basingstoke, Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Bournemouth East, Bournemouth West, Bromley and Chislehurst, Broxtowe, Calder Valley, Camborne and Redruth, Carlisle, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Chingford and Woodford Green, Chipping Barnet, Cities Of London and Westminster, Clwyd West, Colchester, Corby, Crawley, Croydon South, Dover, East Worthing and Shoreham, Erewash, Filton and Bradley Stoke, Finchley and Golders Green, Gloucester, Harrow East, Hastings and Rye, Hendon, Hexham, Kingswood, Loughborough, Macclesfield, Milton Keynes North, Milton Keynes South, Monmouth, Morecambe and Lunesdale, Northampton North, Northampton South, Norwich North, Pendle, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Pudsey, Reading West, Rossendale and Darwen, Rushcliffe, Scarborough and Whitby, Shipley, Shrewsbury and Atcham, South Ribble, South Swindon, South Thanet, Southport, Stevenage, Thurrock, Truro and Falmouth, Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Vale Of Glamorgan, Watford, Welwyn Hatfield, Wimbledon, Worcester, Wycombe and York Outer.

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