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  1. ITV Report

Four challenges the Government faces in the general election

The path to victory is not clear, even though the Government thinks enough voters will back them in the coming general election.

An election is all but nailed on for December 12, so long as the House of Lords backs it (something it is highly likely to do), the Bill will gain Royal assent in the coming days and become law.

Several challenges are facing the Conservatives, the first of which is:

  • What happens to the former Tory rebels who have had the whip removed?

Boris Johnson kicked 21 Tory MPs out of the party after they voted against the Government over Brexit to ensure the UK did not leave the EU without a deal on October 31.

However, to win a majority, Mr Johnson will need to keep all of those 21 constituencies blue (as well as any others he can gain).

On Tuesday, 10 of the 21 rebels were welcomed back into the party, one of who was Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, who told ITV News before learning of his reinstatement that: “All the evidence from other selections is that they are choosing more pro-Brexity candidates because that fits the narrative, it won’t fit the narrative in my seat.”

It’s pro-remain seats like Mr Hammond’s that could be targeted by the Liberal Democrats, bringing us to the Tories’ second challenge.

The Tories face a general election battle on several fronts. Credit: ITV News
  • Pro-remain Lib Dems

The Lib Dems will be aiming for remain seats held by Conservatives, like St Albans.

In an election which is likely to be fought almost solely on Brexit, some believe the Lib Dems could have a field day.

“I think it’s possible the Lib Dems could get back up to the peaks they achieved under Charles Kennedy or even go beyond that if they manage to play a blinder,” Polly MacKenzie, former head of policy at Number 10, told ITV News.

  • The SNP

The Government's third challenge?

The SNP threat and former Tory Scottish leader Ruth Davidson’s absence.

There are fears that Scottish Conservative voters could dessert the party following Ms Davidson's departure from the helm.

Andy MacIver, Ms Davidson’s former advisor, said he doesn’t think the result will be as bad as people think, and believes thinks seats in the south of Scotland will remain Tory.

  • Brexit

But the central battleground – where the most seats are at stake – is a straight fight between Labour and Conservatives.

And that brings us to the fourth challenge – the Brexit factor.

Colin Rallings, ITV News Election Analyst, said Boris Johnson must gain Labour seats in order to compensate for losses he may concede to the Brexit Party.

“He has to be winning seats which were Labour in 2017," Professor Rallings said.

Adding Mr Johnson "has got to get a swing, probably above average in those areas, to compensate for the seat that it looks the Conservatives are inevitably going to lose if this election really does come down to Brexit.”