So the punters had the LD leadership contest right. In a relatively low turnout election (57% of members) Sir Ed Davey beat Layla Moran by 63.5% to 36.5%. This was largely expected and broadly in line with the YouGov members’ poll last January.
Davey has been acting leader since the GE2019 defeat in her constituency of Jo Swinson and today’s outcome puts him in a much better position to deal with Keir Starmer on an approach to the next election that would maximise the number of Tory seat losses.
In broad terms the GE2019 outcome left Labour and the LDs with two very distinctive sets of seat where their parties were the main challenger to the Tories or in parts of Scotland the SNP. Thus there really is no doubt that LAB has any chance in the Wimbledons and Wokinghams of this world while there are many more seats where Starmer’s party are best placed.
There does not need to be a pact but just an understanding between the two leaders that the LDs won’t have more than paper candidates in seats which are clearly LAB targets while the same would work in the other direction where GE2019 left the LDs best placed to beat the Tory.
The first target is for the two parties to make 47-48 gains from the Tories thus depriving Johnson of his working majority and leading, most likely, to the opposition parties having more seats than the government which would lead to Stamer becoming PM.