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Six of the seats where tactical voting could turf out the Tories

I hate tactical voting, but with the system we've got we have to use it to get Sunak out of Downing Street

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

It’s official, Britain is a nation of tactical voters. Best For Britain’s latest massive poll suggests that in a week’s time, four in ten of us will vote tactically to turf Rishi Sunak out of Downing Street. At least a third of all people say the same in all but 11 constituencies. This jumps to 40% in 234 seats, and in 31 seats more than half are ready to vote for someone other than their first preference to see the back of the Tories.

So prolific is the practice that in the same poll one in five people who say they are voting Labour confirmed they are only doing so tactically. For the Liberal Democrats it’s one in three. That’s why, in spite of Keir Starmer’s commanding poll lead, tactical voting will still be crucial, as will providing voters with the information they need to do it effectively. Voters may want to vote tactically, but we can’t assume they know which party is best placed locally to give the Tories a drubbing nationally. Last week published our recommendations and, for me, there are a few constituencies which will be particularly interesting on election night when it comes to tactical voting.

A couple of things before I say more: we can’t predict the future. Our recommendations were made with the best data available to us and timed for when the first postal votes dropped through letterboxes. We always advise people to check out other tactical voting websites, apply their own knowledge and, where possible, we’ve suggested they vote with their heart.

Also, and I cannot stress this enough, I really hate tactical voting.We only need it because the UK is the only country in Europe which still uses first past the post for national elections besides Russia and Belarus, allowing governments to accrue almost total power with a minority of votes. Until this changes tactical voting will remain a regrettable requirement.

With all that being said, here are the six races to watch where tactical voting will be decisive.

North Herefordshire

Our tactical voting recommendation: Green

Incumbent Conservative: Bill Wiggin

Snapshot: Despite the Conservatives winning 63% of the vote here in 2019, our latest polling shows the Green Party are now just six points adrift from the lead and can easily displace the Conservatives if Labour and Lib Dem supporters lend them a vote this time round. This seat has been Tory since its creation in 2010 (its predecessor had been since Gladstone). A Green win would be a defining moment on election night and a body blow to the Conservative Party as it would almost equal the largest majority ever overturned in a single seat at a general election. Neither the Labour Party nor the Liberal Democrats appear to be targeting this seat.

Polling: CON 30.60% / LAB 20.81% / LD 9.64% / GRN 24.82% / REF 13.49%


Our tactical voting recommendation: Labour

Incumbent Conservative: Alan Mak

Snapshot: Just east of Portsmouth, Havant recorded one of the worst Conservative results in the May 2024 local government elections and is now the most marginal constituency in Britain according to our polling. With only 0.03 points separating Labour and the Conservatives and the combined Lib Dem/Green vote share on par with that of Reform UK Party Ltd, it’s a total coin flip and victory will go to the candidate who can coax more votes from the smaller parties to which they are more closely aligned. Neither the Green Party nor the Liberal Democrats appear to be targeting this seat.

Polling: CON 32% / LAB 31.97% / LD 8.24% / GRN 8.68% / REF 17.83% 


Our tactical voting recommendation: Lib Dem

Incumbent Conservative: Theresa May (standing down)

Snapshot: This seat has all the hallmarks of a progressive tragedy in the making. With little between Labour and the Lib Dems, the Conservatives can sneak through the middle and retain this seat with their greatly reduced 35% share of the vote. Such a result would be a missed opportunity for a statement win in the patch of former prime minister and outgoing MP, Theresa May. The absence of a Reform UK candidate has undoubtedly helped the Tories hold their lead, but means there remains a very shallow well of conservative voters for them to tap, with the SDP the only other right-wing party in the field who say they have a “casual deal” with Farage’s outfit. If opposition voters in Maidenhead coalesce around the Lib Dems who are in second place, the Conservatives could be in real trouble. 

Polling: CON 35.63% / LAB 27.2% / LD 29.94% / GRN 6.14%

Cities of London and Westminster

Our tactical voting recommendation: Labour

Incumbent Conservative: Nickie Aiken (standing down)

Snapshot: The seat of the British government and my under-the-radar potential headline grabber for this election. After a weird race in 2019 which saw newly defected and high-profile former Labour MP Chuka Umunna contest the seat for the Lib Dems and placing second, Labour reasserted themselves as the main challengers with a strong performance in the 2024 local elections. This should not belie what would be a seismic win for Keir Starmer’s candidate Rachel Blake here. Labour enjoys the narrowest of leads over the Conservatives but it’s down to Lib Dem and Green voters to get them over the line as there is minimal Reform support for the Tories to squeeze. While neither the Green Party nor Liberal Democrat HQ appear to be targeting this seat, the Lib Dem candidate is working the seat heavily.

Polling: CON 29.38% / LAB 30.99% / LD 22.58% / GRN 10.02% / REF 4.98%

Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr

Our tactical voting recommendation:Labour

Incumbent Conservative: Craig Williams

Snapshot: Our polling suggested this was the most marginal seat in Wales with Labour only leading the Conservatives by less than two points, but after the Conservative candidate was embroiled in the Fluttergate scandal, all bets are off and Labour have become firm favourites. The Liberal Democrats are focusing on nearby Brecon, Radnor & Cwm Tawe. The Greens do not appear to be targeting this seat.

Polling: CON 28.7% / LAB 30.6% / LD 15.66% / GRN 0.65% / PC 10.66% / REF 13.72%

Fareham and Waterlooville

Our tactical voting recommendation: Lib Dem

Incumbent Conservative: Suella Braverman

Snapshot: While some have written Braverman off as a Tory leadership contender, the last 14 years have taught me never to underestimate the Conservative Party’s ability to scrape right through the bottom to the barrel. Recent polling shows that the Lib Dems are less than 7% behind the Conservatives in this seat. It’s a long shot but, if Labour voters (24%) backed the Lib Dems there’s a real chance we could rid parliament of her particularly pungent politics.

Polling: CON 33.25% / LAB 24.34% / LD 26.47% / GRN 3.92% / REF 11.38%

Naomi Smith is CEO of Best for Britain and founder of tactical voting platform

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