THE scale of problems in the Tory election campaign has been revealed in internal data suggesting the party was on course for a comfortable win just days before Theresa May’s humiliation at the ballot box.
The confidential information prepared the week before the June 2017 election suggested the Conservatives were on course to win 371 seats, with Labour expected to slump to just 207 MPs.
The internal modelling, revealed in a new book on the election, shows that the information – used by Tory HQ to plan Mrs May’s campaign – was spectacularly wide of the mark in key battleground seats.
The snap election, called by Mrs May to capitalise on soaring opinion poll leads and the desire to secure a majority to get her Brexit plans through the Commons, resulted in a hung Parliament with just 317 Tories securing a place at Westminster.
The book, The British General Election of 2017, says that modelling done by ex-US president Barack Obama's former adviser Jim Messina was wide of the mark as the race went into its final straight.
The book states: ‘A week before polling day, Jim Messina's analysis had Labour to fall to 207 seats, with the Conservatives on course to win 371.’
In Portsmouth South the Conservatives predicted they would hold the seat; the actual result was the Conservatives lost the seat to Labour’s Stephen Morgan; and the Conservatives underestimated Labour's vote share by nine points, overestimated their own share by five points, and underestimated the Lib Dems' share by one point.
The Tory’s Flick Drummond – MP for 2015-2017 – lost the seat to Mr Morgan.