Is Steve Webb under threat from Lib Dem polling crash?

Pensions minister Steve Webb may face an uphill battle to retain his seat in the Liberal Democrat stronghold of Thornbury & Yate after a Comres poll predicted support for the party in the South West is set to collapse.

Webb was elected in 2010 with a majority of 14.8 per cent, and polls conducted by Lord Aschcroft in November last year had suggested he would comfortably retain his seat.

The November constituency poll put Lib Dem support at 47 per cent, comfortably ahead of the Conservatives at 24 per cent.

However, a new Comres poll for ITV suggests the Lib Dems face almost total wipeout in their traditional South West stronghold, with pollsters predicting the party could lose 14 of 15 MPs.

Polling across the 15 constituencies, Comres found that 44 per cent intend to vote Conservative at the upcoming election.

By contrast, just 26 per cent described the Lib Dems as the likely recipient of their vote.

The figures represent a dramatic shift away from the Lib Dems from the 2010 results for the Lib Dem constituencies, in which Webb’s party won 48 per cent of the vote, while the Tories took 40 per cent.

Although the polls do not directly reflect Webb’s support in his own constituency, if the regional swing noted by Comres was replicated on polling day in all the constituencies polled, Bristol West MP Stephen Williams would be the only party member to retain his seat.

Webb’s Thornbury & Yate Conservative opponent, Luke Hall, is a local supermarket chain manager and has previously campaigned locally on issues including protecting the green belt and improving local transport services.

Other significant Lib Dem MPs under threat by the swing could include education and cabinet office minister David Laws, despite a 2010 majority of 22 per cent, and flooding minister Dan Rogerson, who held a majority of 6.4 per cent in the seat of North Cornwall.

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  1. No surprise that Lib Dems are polling so bad after all their unfulfilled promises of 2010. How can anyone trust Clegg. I think the Lib Dems would have polled a lot stronger if they had removed him as leader.

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