Ladbrokes make it CON 5/6: Grieve 5/6
The news at the weekend that the Liberal Democrats have decided to stand aside in the Beaconsfield constituency at the general election in order to give the incumbent MP, Dominic Grieve, a clear run has inevitably set off a betting market which looks likely to be a big one.
Grieve, the former Attorney-General, has played a big part in opposing Johnson’s plans for Brexit for which he was booted out of the Conservative Party following the first of the six votes that went against Cummings/Johnson last month.
Grieve’s prominent role and legal expertise in the parliamentary opposition to the PM has inevitably led to him working closely with the Lib Dems and others who have been opposed to the way Number 10 has been approaching matters.
At the last general election Grieve held the seat with 65.3% of the vote while the Lib Dems were in third place on 7.9% which was about the same as their GB vote share.
A better figure to look at in determining the impact of the move is, I would suggest, is the 2010 General Election when they were near to 20%. That of course, was at time when the LD were polling at 20%+.
Another key number to look at it what happened in the constituency at the referendum and this went Remain by a split of 51 to 49.
Grieve has got a very high profile and has served in the constituency since 1997 and I guess is that he will have a reasonably large personal following.
That the Lib Dems are standing aside will send a message to LAB voters in the constituency and might encourage tactical votes for Grieve as a means of stopping the official CON candidate.
Given that Beaconsfield voted Remain in June 2016 and he’ll be the clear Anti-Brexit contender I would rate his chances of holding on at 50%+ but everything, of course, depends on the circumstances at the time.
My guess is that we might see a similar pattern of other Remain parties standing aside in seats where prominent former CON MPs seeking to hold on.