Most people will scoff at the idea that the Liberal Democrats could win any new seats at next year’s general election. But, according to political punters, they have a few chances. Here are five of the most interesting possibilities:
1. Montgomeryshire. Conservative majority 1,184
In terms of the odds, this was the biggest shock result of the 2010 election, as the Tories wiped out a 7,000 Lib Dem majority. Perhaps this was not entirely unconnected to the identity of the sitting MP, Lembit Opik. Some are expecting a turnaround with a new candidate.
2. Watford. Conservative majority 1,425.
A desperately tight three way marginal; the Lib Dems easily retained the mayoralty last month. In Lord Ashcroft’s constituency specific polling, they were just 5 points behind the Tories.
3. Oxford West & Abingdon. Conservative majority 176.
Another relatively surprising loss in 2010, this seat will certainly still be a target for the Lib Dems, although the Ashcroft polling puts them 11 pts behind the Tories.
4. Ashfield. Labour majority 192.
It might seem extremely improbable that the Lib Dems could gain a Labour seat in the current circumstances but, if there is to be one, this could be it. The local party did an incredible job getting so close in 2010 and, based on the betting we’ve seen, have not given up hope here.
5. Maidstone & The Weald. Conservative majority 5,889
The least likely in our list, but Ladbrokes have seen money for the Lib Dems to oust sitting MP Helen Grant. She hasn’t been without her critics and the Lib Dem vote seems to have held up in local elections here.