Davey: Lib Dems excited about toppling Tory ‘Blue Wall’

Davey: Lib Dems excited about toppling Tory ‘Blue Wall’

Sir Ed Davey insisted his party could outperform opinion polls at the general election and make further inroads into former Tory heartlands.

The Liberal Democrat leader has seen his party’s national ratings hovering around the 9% mark, slipping behind Reform UK into fourth in recent surveys.

But he suggested local election results on May 2 could serve as a springboard for the national campaign, building on the party’s successes in Westminster by-elections.

Speaking to the PA news agency on a campaign visit in Esher, in the Elmbridge district of Surrey, he said: “We’re very excited about our opportunities on May 2. In many, what I call, Blue Wall seats like here in Elmbridge, it’s a clear fight between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

“And it looks like we could make gains from the Conservatives in places like Tunbridge Wells, here in Elmbridge, in Wokingham, a number of other places.

“And I think that will set us up both for running local councils better, but also for our prospects in the general election.”

(PA Graphics)

The Esher and Walton parliamentary seat is currently held by former deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, who is standing down at the election, with the Lib Dems mounting a high-profile push for victory.

“We think we can take it this time, because lifelong Conservatives, people who have always voted Conservative, are saying no, we’re not going to do it this time,” Sir Ed said.

Challenged on his inability to shift the party’s national poll ratings, he said: “I focus on elections and real votes, not polls.

“And if we look at those, we’ve got a fantastic record. In this Parliament we’ve won four by-elections in Tory heartlands, our best record for a generation.

“And in the last two sets of local elections, we’ve added over 600 new Liberal Democrat councillors across the whole of United Kingdom.

“That’s a fantastic record and I think it belies the polls. I think we’re going to do really well.”