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  • The data on this website is accurate as of 19 June 2024. Find the general election results here.

    Safest seats in the UK, 2019 and now

    9 April 2024
    Amidst all the talk of a Labour landslide of more than 400 seats and senior government ministers potentially losing their seats - not least Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt - we take a look at the other end of the spectrum: the safest seats in the UK.

    As we move towards a general election (most likely in Autumn), budding candidates of all parties will be frantically campaigning to become your next local MP. Alongside them are the hundreds of current MPs, whose job future is currently undetermined.

    For these MPs and candidates, the next few months are set to be filled with endless doorknocking, constant fundraising, and tireless campaigning. To do this, they will give up much of their time and often thousands of pounds of their own money. And all of this is done with the great uncertainty of elections; the goal of becoming/remaining an MP may not be reached, and they may be jobless.

    However, perhaps just as interesting, even if not as ‘exciting’, are those for whom none of this is the case. Across the UK are many ‘safe’ seats, in which the election is a foregone conclusion and the winner is practically decided. These candidates will still be campaigning and out on the doorstep, but they will not have the trepidation of not knowing the result, and their need for endless campaigning and fundraising is not there.

    Of the 650 seats contested in the 2019 general election, 22% of winning candidates won by a margin of 10% or less and almost half won by a margin of less than 20%. In this context, the Conservative party are currently polling at a 20% lower vote share than their 2019 result (when they won 44% of the vote), bringing all of these seats now in jeopardy under a uniform national swing in votes.

    However, in the 2019 general election, 38 of the seats were won by a very large margin of 50% or more. Of these, 25 were Labour seats, generally concentrated in London and the North West. Meanwhile, the other 13 were made up of Conservative seats, mainly in the East of England.

    Top 10 safest seats in the 2019 election

    Seat Winning margin in 2019 election
    Liverpool, Walton Labour by 75%
    Knowsley Labour by 73%
    Bootle Labour by 70%
    Liverpool, Riverside Labour by 70%
    Liverpool, West Derby Labour by 68%
    Manchester, Gorton Labour by 68%
    Birmingham, Ladywood Labour by 68%
    Tottenham Labour by 64%
    Walthamstow Labour by 64%
    Birmingham, Hodge Hill Labour by 64%

    Unsurprisingly, given Labour current successes in the polls, the safest seats look set to continue being Labour according to YouGov’s recent MRP poll. In fact, Labour are predicted to win 80% and 79% in Liverpool Riverside and Liverpool Walton respectively by a margin of 72.5%.

    Of the seats the Tories are predicted to win, Maldon is to be the safest seat, followed by New Forest West, but only by margins of 17%.

    Safest seat by party (2024 prediction)

    Party Seat Predicted winning margin in 2024
    Labour Liverpool Riverside 72%
    Lib Dems Twickenham 46%
    Plaid Cymru Dwyfor Meirionnydd 26%
    Conservatives Maldon 17%
    SNP North Ayrshire and Arran 16%
    Greens Brighton Pavilion 11%

    Interestingly, these safest seats are the most representative seats. This is because, under the first-past-the-post electoral system, the candidate who receives the most votes wins all the spoils - even if they were to only win less half or even a third of the votes, as was the case with Chris Hazzard in County Down, Northern Ireland. As a result, everyone who has not voted for the winning candidate receives no direct representation of their choice in parliament. Thus, the more people who voted for the winning candidate, the more ‘proportional’ the representation of those constituents is.

    So, in the run up to the election, as candidates frantically race around in search of a few extra votes, think of those for whom that is not an issue.

    ThisVoteCounts, 9 April 2024