Lib Dems Aim To Unseat Jeremy Hunt And Michael Gove As Election Campaign Begins

Ed Davey launches New Year bid to "get rid of as many Conservative MPs as possible".
Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt
Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt

The Lib Dems will target the seats of Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove at the next election as the party aims to tear down the “blue wall” at the general election.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey will campaign across marginal seats in Surrey - where both cabinet ministers have their seats - on Wednesday.

It is part of a strategy to win a swathe of Lib Dem-Tory marginals across the south west of England.

“This is the year we can tear down the blue wall and get rid of this appalling Conservative government for good,” he said.

“The Liberal Democrats have seen spectacular gains against the Conservative Party across the Home Counties in recent years.

“But we know the real hard work begins now, as we build on our recent successes and aim to get rid of as many Conservative MPs as possible at the next election.”

Ed Davey poses with a door prop, one of many campaign stunts held by the Lib Dems in recent years.
Ed Davey poses with a door prop, one of many campaign stunts held by the Lib Dems in recent years.
Finnbarr Webster via Getty Images

Hunt holds his South West Surrey seat with a majority of just 8,817. He will be standing in the newly created Godalming & Ash constituency on election day as a result of a re-jigged electoral map.

The Lib Dems are hopeful that becoming the biggest party on Waverley Borough Council in the constituency is a sign they can oust the chancellor.

Hunt has dismissed suggestions he will quit ahead of the election to avoid an embarrassing “Portillo moment”.

Gove, the levelling up secretary, has a more healthy majority of 18,349 in Surrey Heath. But at last May’s local elections the Lib Dems also took control of the local council.

The Lib Dems have a history of publicly targeting big name ministers in what was once branded a “decapitation strategy”.

The party came close to unseating former deputy prime minister Dominic Raab in the Surrey seat of Esher and Walton in 2019 and will be hopeful of snatching it this year, although Raab himself is standing down.

Rishi Sunak is widely expected to call the general election in October or November, but he could also go early in May or delay it as late as January 2025.

The prime minister is facing a tactical voting pincer movement, with Labour hopeful of recapturing the northern so-called red wall seats it lost in 2019 and the Lib Dems coming back in the south and south west.

The Tories are also under threat from the right, amid speculation Nigel Farage could return as leader of the Reform UK.


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