Which Tories and Lib Dems could lose their seats?

Chris Huhne is vulnerable to a Tory challenge.

I've previously looked at the cabinet ministers who could provide this election's "Portillo moment", but which Tories and Lib Dems are under threat?

Few on the Tory front bench need fear for their seats, but several are still vulnerable to the Liberal Democrats. Oliver Letwin, the Tories' policy director, will have to watch his back in West Dorset, where he is defending a notional majority of 2,461.

Elsewhere, David Mundell, the Tory shadow Scottish secretary and the party's only Scottish MP, enters the campaign with a majority of just 1,738 in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. He will be challenged by Labour, which held the seat until 2001.

Others who will be campaigning hard include the shadow culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who is defending a notional majority of 5,981 in Surrey South-West, and Theresa Villiers, who holds a notional majority of 5,556 in Chipping Barnet.

But it's the Lib Dems who have most to worry about on polling day. Chris Huhne, the party's home affairs spokesman and runner-up to Nick Clegg in the last leadership election, is defending a notional majority of just 530 in Eastleigh and is number 11 on the Tory target list.

Meanwhile, owing to boundary changes, Sarah Teather's Brent East seat no longer exists. She now hopes to unseat the Labour MP Dawn Butler in Brent Central but will have to overturn a majority of 6,608.

Others who could be swept away by a large Tory swing include Tim Farron, the party's environment spokesman, who has a notional majority of 846 in Westmorland and Lonsdale (267 under the old boundaries), and David Heath, MP for Somerton and Frome, whose seat is now notionally held by the Tories.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Arsène Wenger. Credit: Getty
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My biggest regret of the Wenger era? How we, the fans, treated him at the end

Arsenal’s greatest coach deserved better treatment from the Club’s supporters. 

I have no coherent memories of Arsenal before Arsène Wenger, who will leave the Club at the end of the season. I am aware of the Club having a new manager, but my continuous memories of my team are of Wenger at the helm.

They were good years to remember: three league titles, seven FA Cups, the most of any single manager in English football. He leaves the Club as the most successful manager in its history.

I think one of the reasons why in recent years he has taken a pasting from Arsenal fans is that the world before him now seems unimaginable, and not just for those of us who can't really remember it. As he himself once said, it is hard to go back to sausages when you are used to caviar, and while the last few years cannot be seen as below par as far as the great sweep of Arsenal’s history goes, they were below par by the standards he himself had set. Not quite sausages, but not caviar either.

There was the period of financial restraint from 2005 onwards, in which the struggle to repay the cost of a new stadium meant missing out on top player. A team that combined promising young talent with the simply bang-average went nine years without a trophy. Those years had plenty of excitement: a 2-1 victory over Manchester United with late, late goals from Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry, a delicious 5-2 thumping of Tottenham Hotspur, and races for the Champions League that went to the last day. It was a time that seemed to hold the promise a second great age of Wenger once the debt was cleared. But instead of a return to the league triumphs of the past, Wenger’s second spree of trophy-winning was confined to the FA Cup. The club went from always being challenging for the league, to always finishing in the Champions League places, to struggling to finish in the top six. Again, nothing to be sniffed at, but short of his earlier triumphs.

If, as feels likely, Arsenal’s dire away form means the hunt for a Uefa Cup victory ends at Atletico Madrid, many will feel that Wenger missed a trick in not stepping down after his FA Cup triumph over Chelsea last year, in one of the most thrilling FA Cup Finals in years. (I particularly enjoyed this one as I watched it with my best man, a Chelsea fan.) 

No one could claim that this season was a good one, but the saddest thing for me was not the turgid performances away from home nor the limp exit from the FA Cup, nor even finishing below Tottenham again. It was hearing Arsenal fans, in the world-class stadium that Wenger built for us, booing and criticising him.

And I think, that, when we look back on Wenger’s transformation both of Arsenal and of English football in general, more than whether he should have called it a day a little earlier, we will wonder how Arsenal fans could have forgotten the achievements of a man who did so much for us.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.