Today on Radio 4 Paul Mason claimed, that if there had been a snap general election after the EU referendum, Jeremy Corbyn could have been in a position to form a minority government because it was his belief that:
Eighteen of the top twenty marginals in England and Wales could have been won by Labour if one to three thousand Green voters would come back to Labour
You can hear his very words on the Daily Mirror website here. When I heard his claim it startled me as I very distinctly remembered posting a while back that there were ten seats where the Green vote was bigger than the Tory majority. So I thought I’d do a proper fact check on Paul’s claim.
I make no comment on his claim about the motivations of the resignations of the shadow cabinet ,when he says they “feared” it was their “last chance” to unseat Jeremy Corbyn before a “winnable” general election. I am solely fact checking the claim that 18 of the top 20 marginals made in the quote above.
Below is a list of the top 25 marginal seats where Labour came second in the 2015 general election. It is in order of smallest majority to overturn. The seats in red are the ones where the Green vote is more than the majority.
Lets fact check Paul’s claim…
First, 0f the top 20 marginals only 10 of them have a Green vote larger than the majority of the winner. So his claim is wrong.
Second, of all the seats in England and Wales there are only 11 that could be won if all the Green voters switched to Labour. So, even if you gave Paul the benefit of the doubt about the top 20 seats, even looking at all seats, his claim that there are 18 seats that could be won to Labour by Green voters switching still does not stack up.
So, Paul has been fact checked and sadly his claim has been found to be wrong. I don’t know if he misspoke, or just misunderstood the numbers. If you want to take a look at my data go here.
Edited to add:
With Sinn Fein not taking their 4 seats in Westminster, 324 seats are required for a working majority. The Tories got 331.
If those 11 seats went Labour of the seats above were won by Labour the Tories would have 321 seats (remember one of 11 the seats is a Lib Dem seats).
This would mean the Tories would not have a majority in Westminster but remember there are eight DUP MPs who would almost certainly vote with the Tories as would the one UKIP MP (who was a Tory). So the Tories could easily form a government.