Although continuing to benefit from a strong economy, Labour lost support to the Liberal Democrats over the 2003 Iraq war. The Conservatives focused on the issues of immigration, law and order, and reducing waste in public services. But they failed to make an electoral breakthrough.
The swing from Labour to Conservatives was over 3%, but more seats than expected changed hands due to tactical voting unwind, some local factors, and Lib Dems taking strong Labour seats with their new left-wing stance. See Swingplot 2005 for details.