Lib Dem MP: ‘Labour has already won’
Labour is performing well enough that it has already won the general election, a Liberal Democrat MP has said.
Former defence minister Nick Harvey told the Huffington Post the polls all pointed to a Labour victory in 2015, even if Tories refused to accept it.
"Stand fast a game-changing event, which is always possible in the febrile political era in which we live, Labour is on course to win the next election," he said.
"This election is Labour's to lose.
The North Devon MP said the Tories would struggling to improve on the 36% of the vote they won in 2010 and secure a majority.
"Most people say it would be an absolutely crowning achievement," he said.
"It's very difficult to see why anyone would vote Tory next time who didn't last time. There's not much history of incumbents gaining votes between elections.
"It would be a superlative accomplishment if the Tories were to achieve 36%."
Meanwhile Harvey predicted Ed Miliband would win 34% at the lowest range of expectation, after having taken five per cent of the Lib Dem vote. But that assumed the party would not win any marginal seats off the Conservatives.
"If 36% is the most the Tories could achieve and 34% is the least Labour is going to achieve, plot that on a seat predictor, Labour has already won," he said.
"Labour has probably got a 15-seat majority. The collapse of the Lib Dem vote with most going to the Labour party means that the Tories have probably lost two dozen seats before they even get out of bed."
"The smarter Tories will realise the collapse of our popular vote will have a far more devastating impact on them than it will on us. We will be able to concentrate on the seats that matter to us."
Asked why the Tories still appeared so confident about their election prospects, Harvey replied: "People say to me 'oh people aren’t convinced by Mr Miliband, he's got a funny voice and funny hair'.
"Well all the public knew about Thatcher in 1979 was she had a funny voice and funny hair. She was way behind Callaghan in personal ratings. But that didn't stop her winning. I think people are writing the man off too lightly."
He also shot down Tory plans to turn the 2015 into a presidential-style election, as the party tries to emphasis the relative popularity of the prime minister.
"You've got three capable leaders in the field. I think Cameron's problem is his party, but Cameron himself has a good profile and many admirable qualities," he said.
"I think Nick has come through the hammering he got for being part of our first government in years and he is back in fine fettle now. The leaders are not going to be that much of an issue, it's the underlying politics."
Harvey is the first Liberal Democrat MP to openly admit Miliband is on course to win the election, but his thoughts match that of many pollsters, who cannot see how the Tories can build on their weak position to increase their share of the vote.
Speaking yesterday, former Tory party chairman and respected pollster Michael Ashcroft said the Tories were fooling themselves about winning re-election.
"There is nothing wrong with trying to cheer up the troops. But the correct response to bad poll numbers is to learn from them and change them, not to try and rebut them," he wrote.
"Boosting morale is one thing; being in denial is another thing altogether."