Is there a Conservative 'blue wall'?

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The Liberal Democrat by-election victory in Chesham & Amersham has served to remind us of the potential electoral downside that Brexit could pose for the Conservatives. While the party consolidated its strength between 2015 and 2019 among Leave voters, its support fell back among Remain supporters (Curtice, forthcoming). As a result, it might well have been anticipated that the party would potentially be vulnerable in a seat like Chesham & Amersham that, while traditionally a Conservative seat, was also one where well over half (55%) of voters had backed Remain. Although all by-elections have their own particular features – and concern about planning and HS2 appear to have had a particular resonance in Chesham & Amersham – the outcome appeared to lend some credibility to the claim that, in the wake of Brexit, the Conservatives might be at risk of losing a 'blue wall' of traditionally safe seats, much as Labour proved to be vulnerable in 2019 in a 'red wall' of onetime safe seats in the North of England and the Midlands that had, however, backed Leave (Kangasooriam, 2019; Mattinson, 2020).But does such a 'blue wall' really exist? Might hitherto safe Tory-held seats that backed Remain prove to be Boris Johnson's Achilles' heel and deny him a second general election success? Or can the Prime Minister afford to brush off defeat in Chesham & Amersham as a little local difficulty that has little in the way of wider electoral significance?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-203
Number of pages10
JournalIPPR Progressive Review
Issue number2
Early online date16 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • conservative party
  • labour party
  • party politics
  • voting
  • liberal democrat party


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