The 2015 election was marked by poor results for the party, however amongst the seats some candidates did put in relatively strong performances. In order to recognise the strength of different results an algorithm is required. There are various possibilities and many are subjective. One possibility is to use the swing against the party. The problem with this approach is that those with few votes in the first place register small swings. An alternative is to look at the % of the 2010 vote that was retained in 2015. This would be affected by differential turnout but broadly represents a good base fro considering performance. On this basis the following seats were the top 10

In each case the figures represent firstly the 2015 vote, then the 2010 vote, both as a percentage with the final column the retained vote as a %

East Dunbartonshire 36.3 38.7 0.938
Edinburgh West 33.1 35.9 0.921
Gordon 32.7 36.0 0.907
Cambridge 34.9 39.1 0.891
Argyll and Bute 27.9 31.6 0.882
Bradford East 29.5 33.7 0.875
Westmorland and Lons 51.5 60.0 0.858
Caithness, Sutherland 35.1 41.4 0.848
Burnley 29.5 35.7 0.826
Eastbourne 38.2 47.3 0.807

The situation was different in Scotland to that in England. The growth of the SNP meant that even where our vote was retained we lost the seat. The result in East Dumbartonshire appears to be the strongest in Scotland but the result is arguably not as good as that in Westmoreland where we retained the seat. What marks out all of these seats is that they had sitting MPs. If we are to truly look for our best result we need to also consider those seats which did not have a sitting MP. The results of these are

Montgomeryshire 29.3 37.8 0.774
Oxford West 28.9 42.0 0.687
Maidstone 24.1 36.0 0.669
Bosworth 22.3 33.4 0.668
The Cotswolds 18.6 29.6 0.629
Mid Dorset 28.2 45.1 0.625
Newton Abbot 23.9 41.9 0.569

The best result for those seats were Montgomeryshire and Oxford West. These two did, however have a Lib Dem MP up until 2015. None the less Montgomershire did produce a creditable result as did Oxford West. When we look at the seats where there had not been an MP the best performance came from Maidstone followed by Bosworth. The difference was marginal, however in the case of Maidstone the increase in the Conservative majority was less than 5000 whereas in Bosworth the majority went up by a little under 6000.

In both cases the MP, in both cases made themselves potentially unpopular with the electorate as can be seen from the articles below, however in these cases the expected impact on the vote might be expected to be similar.

From this analysis we can work out the best results.

In terms of retained vote the best results were:

Best result in UK: East Dumbartonshire
Best result in a held seat: Westmoreland and Lonsdale
Best result in England: Cambridge
Best result in as seat without a sitting MP in terms of retained vote: Montgomeryshire
Best result in a seat without a recent Lib Dem MP: Maidstone

Selecting the best result overall is highly subjective, however we should in my view give a hat tip to Jasper Gerard in Maidstone and the Weald

and Michael Mullaney in Bosworth

as having produced strong performances in a very difficult election. In both of these cases the party will fight the next election as the clear challenger in what should be more favorable circumstances. For that we should be grateful to the teams and candidates that fought them in 2015.