The last few years have been, admittedly, difficult for the LibDems. We had to cancel two autumn conferences, one due to Covid, and the other when the Queen died. And many still blame us for the coalition – not noticing what has gone on subsequently.

But despite apparently low opinion poll ratings, we’ve won every by-election where we had even a remote chance of winning. Chesham and Amersham springs to mind – it’s a local seat which we won with a huge swing. Our 20% share of the vote in the recent Council elections came as no surprise toour activists.

We are now about 18 months away at most from the next general election, an election that the Conservatives seem destined to lose. The question is by how much, and to whom?

“It’s the economy, stupid.” The words of Bill Clinton are just as apt for Great Britain, but with one subtle and crucial difference. Of course, our economy is in a mess, as are those of most other nations due to Covid and the Ukraine War. The subtle difference is that our economy is doing worse than countries in the EU, and that is projected to continue. This is the Brexit dividend.

The key issue of economic competence is tied up with Brexit. If traditional Conservative voters feel that the country would be better off either in the Single Market, or even rejoining the European Union, they may well desert the Tories and vote for the one party – the Libdems - that is prepared to abandon Brexit.

As this country’s economy underperforms its rivals, we may see a strong drift from the Tories to the LibDems. The present position is that, in marginal seats, the anti-conservative elector is voting tactically.

Let us see how that might play out in Harrow at the next general election.

Harrow East: A boundary redistribution has added the strongly Labour Queensbury ward in Barnet. Labour will be very disappointed not to win this seat back form the Conservatives.

Harrow West: Labour were surprised to win this seat in 1997 when the right was split between Tories and Referendum and have held it ever since. But the removal of Pinner, Pinner South and Hatch End wards have turned this into a safe Labour seat.

Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner was a new seat carved out before the 2010 general election. In 2019, a bit of a disaster for the LibDems, we surprised ourselves by doubling our vote to over 15% not far behind the second place Labour.

Boundary redistribution means that the Conservative sitting MP loses the ward where he was a local councillor for many years, which will take away some of his personal vote.

With Labour seemingly having little chance of achieving the swing of over 15% needed to unseat the current MP, the LibDems have a better chance of winning, if we can persuade a sufficient number of anti-Brexit Tories to vote for us. The seat will not be an official LibDem target for 2024, but may well be for the following election. So we should work towards that as well as the next election.

Note added 28th June The Boundary Commission for England have now published their final report. There are no further changes to their revised boundaries for the Harrow East and Harrow West constituencies, but in Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner constituency they have gone back to their original proposals, which brings Harefield Village back into RNP while moving Ruislip Manor into Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.

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