Lib Dems can take away Boris Johnson’s majority, says Ed Davey

The Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, says his party can deprive Boris Johnson of a majority at the next election because many Tories feel the prime minister has taken them for granted.

Speaking before his conference speech, which will focus on Lib Dem opportunities to win seats in Conservative-held constituencies, Davey said he was “particularly positive” about the party’s prospects in these “blue wall” seats.

He said the Lib Dem victory in the Amersham and Chesham byelection in June showed that the party could win even in “true-blue Buckinghamshire”. The Lib Dems won by more than 8,000 votes in a seat that had a Tory majority of 16,223 in 2019.

Davey told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show that the byelection, and the local elections, showed that there were “a lot of people very unhappy with the Conservatives” in Tory areas.

“They feel Boris Johnson has taken them for granted and they like what we are saying when they get a chance to hear it,” he said. “I think we can be the strong voice that gets rid of a lot of Conservative MPs and deprives Boris Johnson of his majority.”

In his speech to the Lib Dem conference on Sunday afternoon, which will be delivered to a small audience in Canary Wharf in London, with most members watching online, Davey will confirm that the party is focusing on the “blue wall”.

“Make no mistake, the electoral arithmetic is clear. These Conservatives can’t be defeated next time unless we Liberal Democrats win Tory seats. Boris Johnson will stay in Downing Street unless we throw him out,” Davey will say.

In a pitch to Conservative-leaning voters, Davey will portray the Lib Dems as the champions of small business, and promise to protect those who play by the rules.

“If you do your bit, if you play by the rules, you should be able to afford a decent home in a safe, clean neighbourhood, with a comfortable retirement when the time comes,” Davey will say.

“Your children should be able to go to a good school, get a good job and have real opportunities to fulfil their potential. You should be able to know that if anyone in your family is ill, frail or disabled, they will get the high-quality health and social care they need.”

He will promise a “radical fair deal” for small businesses, saying the case for supporting them is “overwhelming”.

On the climate crisis, he will call for a ban on new oil, coal and gas companies listing on the London Stock Exchange.

And he will also confirm a Lib Dem proposal for parents to be given a £200 voucher for each child, to spend on extra tutoring, music lessons or sports clubs, as part of a £15bn Covid recovery programme for school pupils.

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