CONSERVATIVE seats in Devon could change hands at the next general election based on current voting trends, according to polling company YouGov.
Its new survey predicts the Conservatives would lose 26 of their 64 Liberal Democrat battleground seats in England, with deputy prime minister Dominic Raab and senior Tory Jeremy Hunt among those being voted out.
North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, who holds a near-15,000 majority, is also under threat. YouGov says the Lib Dems are currently predicted to win the seat for the first time since 2010.
There is better news for Devon’s other Conservative MPs, however, with Anne Marie Morris predicted to defend her Newton Abbot seat by a margin of 42–27 per cent over the Liberal Democrats.
Neighbouring Torbay and Totnes are set to stay blue if the election were to be held tomorrow, althoguh Kevin Foster and Anthony Mangnall woudl have reduced majorities of seven and four per cent respectively.
The survey comes after the Tories lost Tiverton and Honiton to the Lib Dems last month, a seat it had previously held in one form or another for almost a century. Richard Foord overturned Neil Parish’s 24,000 majority – the biggest ever in a by-election.
Despite this, the Conservatives still dominate Devon’s parliamentary seats, holding nine of the 12. Mr Foord is the only Lib Dem, while Labour have two seats – Exeter and Plymouth Sutton & Devonport.
At the next election, expected boundary changes will mean an extra Devon MP, including one with a constituency extending into Cornwall.
Patrick English, associate director of YouGov, said: “Although constituencies would fall to the Liberal Democrats all across the country […] perhaps the most striking losses come in the south west, where we estimate that the Conservative vote share is down by over 16 points on 2019.
“Here, of the 20 constituencies included in the definition, eight would go to the Liberal Democrats. That includes the Conservative “Celtic Fringe” seats, identified by YouGov earlier this month, of Wells, North Cornwall, St Ives, North Devon, and Taunton Deane.”
YouGov recently claimed East Devon is expected to turn independent if former candidate Claire Wright stood again. She fought the last three general elections but appeared to step away from politics last year after deciding not to seek re-election to Devon County Council.
The next general election has to take place by the end of January 2025.
However, it could be called earlier following the recent scrapping of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which required a two-thirds majority to vote in favour of holding a general election.
Now it it is up to the prime minister to decide when to ask the queen to dissolve parliament so an election can be held.