Dominic Raab among Brexiteers at risk of losing seats due to tactical voting, latest polling analysis reveals

Andrew Woodcock
Reuters

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab heads a list of senior Brexit figureheads who could lose their seats in a pro-EU backlash in Thursday’s election, according to new analysis of polling.

The analysis shows that many senior Brexiteers are highly vulnerable to tactical voting by opponents of EU withdrawal in their own constituencies.

Pollsters YouGov used the MRP model which correctly predicted the result of the 2017 general election to assess the state of the battle at constituency level for The Times on the basis of polls covering more than 105,000 voters over the past seven days.

It found that Mr Raab has less than a two-point advantage over Liberal Democrats in the Remain-backing constituency of Esher and Walton in normally true-blue Surrey, which he won with a 39 per cent majority in 2017. The analysis suggests that if a quarter of Labour’s eight per cent vote in the seat vote tactically, they could deliver victory for Lib Dem Monica Harding.

Brexit-backing environment secretary Theresa Villiers is trailing Labour by four points in ultra-marginal Chipping Barnet, which backed Remain by 59-41 in 2016, the analysis found.

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith is just three points ahead of his Labour rival in Chingford and Woodford Green, which he has held since its creation in 1997 by majorities of as much as 30 points but which narrowly voted to stay in the EU. With Lib Dems polling at eight per cent in the seat, decisions on tactical voting could decide the result.

A more distant - but tantalisingly close - prospect for Remainers hoping to claim Brexit scalps was Boris Johnson’s own seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, where the prime minister’s tally of 49 per cent is exactly matched by the combined total of pro-EU rivals, with Labour on 40, Lib Dems six and Greens three.

In Wokingham, veteran eurosceptic Sir John Redwood is under threat from former Tory minister Phillip Lee, now standing as a Liberal Democrat and within five points of overturning the 31-point Conservative majority from 2017 in a seat which voted 57 per cent Remain in the referendum.

European Research Group chair Steve Baker’s 12-point lead from in Wycombe has been halved to an advantage of six over Labour, and YouGov found he was highly vulnerable to tactical voting, with the constituency recording 11 per cent support for Lib Dems and three per cent for Greens.

And in Shipley, right-wing eurosceptic Philip Davies leads his Labour rival by a margin of 48-43, with Lib Dems polling six per cent and Greens two, making tactical votes potentially crucial.

(Rui Viera/PA)

The MRP analysis suggested that the efforts of prominent Lib Dem defectors Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna and Sam Gyimah to make breakthroughs in London seats were unlikely to bear fruit as a result of deep splits in the anti-Tory vote.

In Finchley and Golders Green, Ms Berger was placed at just 27 per cent to incumbent Tory Mike Freer’s 50, with Labour on 23 per cent. In the Cities of London and Westminster, Mr Umunna on 32 per cent was pushing his Tory rival on 38 per cent hard, but will need tactical votes from some of the 25 per cent currently planning to back Labour.

And in Kensington, Mr Gyimah was trailing in third, with Labour’s Emma Dent Coad looking set to improve on her 2017 victory on 38 per cent to Tories’ 36 and Lib Dems’ 21.

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