You might have assumed with less than six months to go before the 2015 General Election that the pace of candidate selections – and all the potential advantages that might bring – would have quickened. In fact it has proceeded at a slow pace. Two months ago in late September when this blog last considered the overall numbers of candidates selected, the figures were 196 Conservatives candidates still to be decided, 89 Labour and 450 Liberal Democrats. Labour is getting ever closer to completing its 2015 team, but there has not been a dramatic improvement for either the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats.
The current figures are:
- Conservatives – 159 PPCs to select
- Labour – 60 PPCs to select
- Liberal Democrats – 418 PPCs to select
It is worth noting that UKIP have already selected around 300 candidates, significantly more than the 214 Liberal Democrats selected so far.
Labour has been pretty efficient in its selection process, having now filled all of its official target seats. Apart from six retirement seat vacancies to fill, there are only a handful of vacancies in seats where Labour came a very distant second. The Conservatives have a large number still to fill but to be fair, 120 or so of the current vacancies are in what are probably classified as “unwinnable” constituencies where they would need a greater than 5% swing (Labour majorities of around 4,000 plus), only ever achieved in 1979 and 2010. The Liberal Democrats are really lagging behind and it will be interesting to see whether they will fight every seat. Is there even the possibility that UKIP could field more candidates in 2015?
Female candidates (including re-standing MPs) by party account for 24% of Conservatives, 35% of Labour and 26% of Liberal Democrats.
BME candidates (again including re-standing MPs) by party are: 7% of Conservatives, 8% of Labour and 8% of Liberal Democrats (a total of 95 candidates).
These figures may be a handful of candidates out (all of the information is taken from publicly available sources), but the overall trends are pretty clear.