Here is a breakdown of the most marginal seats as campaigning begins:
Dudley North: In 2017, Ian Austin MP of the Labour party beat Les Jones of the Conservatives by a majority of just 22 votes, which is no more than 0.1%. The constituency voted 71% in favour of Leave which creates an opportunity for the Tories to capitalise. The Tories increased the share of their votes by 15.6% in the previous election, while Labour only managed a 4.7% increase. This time, Mr Austin is standing as an Independent in Dudley North, with Labour fielding a new candidate so that could also help the Tories to gain this seat. The Spectator stated that Mr Austin is standing as a Labour candidate but this is not true. Mr Austin quit the Labour party in February 2019.
Kensington: In the previous election, Emma Dent Coad MP of the Labour party beat the Conservatives by a majority of just 20 votes. The Grenfell tragedy will play a significant role in the outcome of this constituency. Sam Gyimah, former Tory, is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate who could further complicate matters for both Labour and Conservatives. The constituency voted 69% in favour of remain during the 2016 referendum. It is also important to note that Labour gained an increase of 11% of the votes in the 2017 Election from 2015. Due to a new Conservative candidate, a former Tory standing as a Lib Dem candidate, and public anger towards Grenfell, Labour have a good chance at regaining this seat.
Stirling: Stephen Kerr MP of the Conservative party beat the SNP with a small majority of 148 votes. The Conservatives also increased the share of their votes in 2017 by 14% from 2015. However, the constituency voted to remain in the 2016 referendum, with a majority of 68%. Perhaps with the increase in demand for Scottish Independence and the constituency being in favour of remain; the SNP may be able to win this seat.
Hastings and Rye: Amber Rudd MP, former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and member of the Conservative party, managed to beat Labour with a majority of just 346 votes. It is also important to note that while Ms Rudd was able to gain an increase of 2% of the votes, Labour managed an increase of 11% in 2017 compared to the 2015 General Election. The constituency also voted to Leave but not by a significant amount, with only 56% of constituents voting to leave the EU. Ms Rudd will not be standing as a candidate in this election so that may also have an impact on how constituents choose to vote. Will the Brexit party be able to capitalise on this or will Labour be able to persuade the constituents of a second referendum? Rob Lee, the leader of the Conservative group on Hastings council, will stand as a candidate instead of Ms Rudd.
Chipping Barnet: Conservative MP Theresa Villiers beat Labour back in 2017 with a majority of 353 votes. She lost 2% of votes from 2015, compared to Labour’s Emma Whysall, who saw an increase of 11.5%. The constituency also voted 59% in favour of remain in the EU referendum. Perhaps Labour is able to persuade constituents of a second referendum or can the Tories regain the seat with their message of a Hard Brexit? This is a race between two parties and Labour may be able to edge a win.
Thurrock: Jackie Doyle-Price MP of the Conservative party beat Labour with a majority of just over 300, which makes her position vulnerable. If the Brexit party choose to contest this seat, then this may split the votes as the constituency voted 70% in favour of Leave during the 2016 EU referendum. Due to the spotlight on Brexit and less exposure on domestic policies, this is an opportunity for parties in favour of Brexit.
Preseli Pembrokeshire: Stephen Crabb, former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Conservative MP, beat Labour with a majority of 314 votes in 2017 but only with an increase of 3% in the share of the votes, compared to Labour’s 14.5% increase from 2015. The constituency also voted 55% in favour of leave. With a growing appetite for Welsh independence and the close encounter in the 2016 EU referendum, this is again an opportunity for Labour and other smaller parties to take advantage of.
Calder Valley: Craig Whitaker MP of the Conservative party won this seat in 2017 with a majority of 609 votes. He was able to increase the shares of his votes by 2.5% from 2015, compared to Labour, which increased by 10%. The constituency also voted 53% in favour of Leave which was a close result. This is a two party race: can Labour win or will the Tories be able to hold on to the seat?
Putney: In this election, there is no doubt that we will see some big name casualties and one of them may be Justine Greening MP. She managed to beat Labour in 2017 by a majority of 1,554 votes, with a loss of 10% share of the votes from 2015. However, Labour managed to gain an 11% increase from 2015 in the 2017 General Election. The constituency also voted a significant 72% in favour of remain, which will no doubt be a good sign for Labour and the Lib Dems as they try to win over voters. I am not sure the Conservatives are able to regain this seat, especially when their campaign is focused on Brexit and the constituency is heavily in favour of remain.
Harrow East: Bob Blackman MP of the Conservative party beat Labour in 2017 by a majority of 1,757, with 0.1% loss of votes from 2015, compare to Labour’s 5% gain. The constituency also voted 52% in favour of remain, which is not a significant amount. This will also be between the two main parties which could be up for grabs.
Canterbury: in 2017, Rosie Duffield MP of the Labour party won with a majority of 187 votes, with a significant 20% increase in voting shares from 2015. The constituency also voted 55% in favour of remain in the 2016 EU referendum. Can she keep her position or will the Tories be able to steal this constituency? There are also quite a few arguments around student voters, which will also have an impact on the outcome.
Peterborough: in the 2019 by-election, Labour MP Lisa Forbes managed to beat the Brexit party by a majority of 683 votes. The seat belonged to the Conservatives previously, when Fiona Onasanya was the Labour candidate. The constituency also voted 61% in favour of leave, which also puts Labour at risk. I believe the Brexit party will have the opportunity to win this seat but they will have to compete with the Conservatives in order to persuade constituents of their Brexit policy.
North East Fife: In the 2017 General Election, Stephen Gethins MP from the SNP managed to beat the Liberal Democrats by just two votes. The SNP actually lost 8% share of their votes from the 2015 Election. The Liberal Democrats increased the share of their votes by 1.5% and so did the Conservatives, with a significant 7.8% increase. In the 2016 European Union referendum, the constituency voted 63.7% in favour of remain. Will the SNP be able to hold on or are the Liberal Democrats able to capitalise with their message of #bollockstobrexit? Perhaps there is an opportunity for Jo Swinson and her party to gain this seat in Scotland.
Cities of London and Westminster: Mark Field, Conservative MP, gained a majority of just over 3000 votes to beat Labour. He also did manage to lose 7.5% shares of the votes from 2015, while Labour gained an increase of 11%. The constituency also voted 72% in favour of remain which is a significant victory for remain and may decide the outcome. Will the Tories be able to regain this seat with Mark Field or will this be a battle between Labour and the Lib Dems?
Perth and North Perthshire: In 2017, Pete Wishart MP of the SNP defeated Ian Duncan of the Conservatives by 21 votes. The constituency voted 60% in favour of remain. Recently, the Scottish Green party decided to field a candidate, Elspeth Maclachlan, to contest Perth and North Perthshire. Mr Wishart has stated that the move may split the independence vote and help the Tories secure a victory.
Southampton, Itchen: In the previous election, Royston Smith MP of the Conservative party won the seat and beat Labour by a majority of just 31 votes. Compared to the 2015 election, in 2017 the Conservatives saw a 5% increase in votes, while Labour saw a 10% increase. Simon Letts of the Labour party is planning to stand again as a candidate, hoping that he can do one better and win this seat. The constituency voted 60% in favour of Leave during the referendum, so that may also affect the result. There could be a strong possibility that Labour may win this seat regardless of the constituency voting to leave.
Richmond Park: Zac Goldsmith MP of the Conservative party beat Sarah Olney of the Lib Dems by a majority of just 45 votes. The constituency voted 71% in favour of remain, which may create an opportunity for Jo Swinson and the Lib Dems. It is also important to the note that the Lib Dems gained an increase of 25% of the votes in the 2017 General Election from 2015. Perhaps the Lib Dems may be able to further increase their votes and gain this seat in West London, especially with their message of #bollockstobrexit.
Crewe and Nantwich: Laura Smith MP of the Labour party beat the Conservatives with a majority of 48 votes in 2017, with a 9% increase in the share of the votes from 2015, compared to the 2% achieved by the Tories. The constituency voted to leave with a majority of 60% in the 2016 EU referendum. Will the Brexit party be able to split the votes and persuade the leave voters or can the Labour party regain this seat?
Newcastle-Under-Lyme: Paul Farrelly MP of Labour beat the Conservatives in 2017 by a small majority of 30 votes. The constituency also voted to leave in the 2016 EU referendum (61% leave). The Tories saw an increase in the share of their votes by 11% compared to Labour’s 10% in the 2017 General Election. The turnout in the constituency was 67% but we could expect an even bigger turnout due to the increase interest in Brexit and domestic policies. Mr Farrelly has decided to step down and will be replaced by Carl Greatbatch who will represent Labour.
Some of the other notable mentions would be Barrow and Furness, Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Sunderland Central, Ipswich, Bedford, Battersea, Blackpool South, Hartlepool, North West Durham, and Stockton South.