How self-employed backlash could decimate the Tory majority at a future election

Patrick Scott
How self-employed backlash could decimate the Tory majority at a future election

The Conservatives' majority could be decimated in the next General Election if faced with a backlash from self-employed voters.

There are 11 Tory seats at risk of being lost to other parties due to the high proportion of self-employed people living there - enough to rob the party of their majority in Parliament.

Map - Self-Employment vs General Election

Chancellor Philip Hammond increased National Insurance payments for the self-employed by two per cent in yesterday's Budget – which the Tories promised repeatedly they would not do.

According to Telegraph analysis, this could be a decision that the Prime Minister regrets, with 11 Conservative seats depending heavily on the votes of self-employed people.

The smallest Tory majority in a seat where the self-employed command a large proportion of the electorate is Gower, where Byron Davies has a slender majority of 0.1 per cent. 

One in five people are self-employed in Gower, leaving Davies vulnerable to a backlash from those angry at his party's u-turn.

The 11 Conservative constituencies most at risk from a self-employment backlash

In St Ives, a constituency won by the Conservatives from the Lib Dems in 2015, some 38.3 per cent are self-employed.

This is the highest level of self-employment for any constituency in Britain, according to the ONS.

Losing 11 seats in Parliament would leave Theresa May with a remaining 319 Conservative MPs - six short of an absolute majority of 325. David Cameron managed to secure 331 in the 2015 General Election.

Conservative Party seats at risk of self-employed voters

Of the 11 seats at risk, five had the Lib Dems in second place in 2015, while Labour was in second in four of them and both the SNP and UKIP were second in one.

In total there are 101 constituencies where more than one fifth of the working population are self-employed. The Conservatives won 67 of these seats at the last General Election.

They are predominately located in the south of England with self-employment rates in Cornwall and Sussex - two counties which are traditionally bastions of Conservative support - being particularly high.

The Prime Minister's spokesperson has refused four times to refuse to rule out a review of the Government's controversial plans to hike national insurance, which would affect some self-employed people in the Class 4 NIC category.

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