An IPSOS Mori poll right across England and Scotland was taken just before the manifestos came out this week. It is immediately apparent from this, despite the usual small samples, that we have a further skew to Labour support that should have been obvious from the start- Scottish (lack of) support. While across England Labour and the Conservatives are almost neck and neck, SNP cannot be discounted as a force that will keep Labour out of ‘power’. This is worth taking into account when checking polls (along with the usual caveats) and the adjusted result of this is later in the blog.
As Week 5 arrives, this is manifesto week and the Lib Dems‘ and Labour‘s are already out (see part 1 of the manifesto blogs) and there has been an obvious shift, even a collapse in the ‘strong and stable’ (now a phrase that invokes widespread hilarity) pretence of the Conservatives.
- May could barely look at Hammond at the party conference at Canary Wharf yesterday (17/05/17) and refused to confirm whether he’d still be Chancellor should they win the election.
- Rumour has it she wants Liam Fox back as Chancellor. To say this man is a bit dodgy is an understatement as massive as insisting that Attila the Hun was just a guy with a nice side line in tents, horses and fermented yak’s milk.
- May then made the staggering announcement that the drop in sterling had nothing to do with B*exit! Right… Sterling was actually hovering around its second lowest level against the U.S. dollar last week since last June’s vote to leave the EU! Yet another Conservatives‘ numbers gaffe that few papers picked up on, just like at the end of Week 4’s blog and the Diane Abbott witch-hunt.
- Similar uncertainty about Amber Rudd’s future in the Cabinet (whichever side they end up sitting on) came out in a blurt at the police conference yesterday too when she slipped up and revealed at the end of this telling clip that she did not know if she would still be Home Secretary come June 9th. Both her and Brandon Lewis were jeered and heckled by the audience of police– having first hand experience of 20,000 redundancies since 2009 the Conservatives‘ platitudes cut no ice. Don’t think it bodes well when the keepers of law and order think you’re full of it.
Their manifesto comes out today (18/05/17) but announcements made yesterday made it sound like a eugenics programme– like
- removing the Winter Fuel allowance and
- removing the last few free school meals that remained for children
- reneging on her promise not to raise taxes for those on lower incomes
- reneging on her promise not to raise VAT.
Burning the candle at ALL ends there…
Yesterday morning I made this, which was barely half a joke as most of it is cited, and less than 12 hours later it became fact.
This week, I think will be full of interesting times, which is, as had often been observed, a curse; and even YouGov have the Conservatives dipping 4% in the polls after the party conference. (Again with the usual caveats on polls that even the MSM are starting to admit.) And talking of polls, here’s one from today (18/05/17). It is now completely clear that
- the Conservatives are only keeping their lead in this context because UKIP voters (slow to catch on, aren’t they?) have realised the blues are a Kipper’s wet dream and have out-purpled the purple party.
- more left leaning voters are realising the only way to keep the Conservatives out is (depending on the vote share in their constituency) is to go red.
Also a poll by ORB (commissioned by the right leaning Telegraph) shows a similar rise, from a week ago to 17-18/05/17:
- Conservatives with 46% (-),
- Labour rose to 34% (+2)
- Liberal Democrats 7% (-1)
- UKIP 7% (+1)
An all UK poll is currently taking place on GridDigital. Today, (19/05/17)with a sample so far of 14263 respondents and rising-it went up by almost 1000 in 30 minutes! (and you can only vote once) the results look like this (left) compared to 2015 (right):
While arguably a wider, larger and more random sample than most polls, we do have to bear in mind that not everyone (including poorer and older voters) have access to the internet to state their intention. But it does a heart good, doesn’t it? 😉
Today (22/05/17) the Independent make this important point:
It’s conventional for polls to swing to the government during a general election campaign, but Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has absolutely no respect for historical trends. Labour is up seven points in three weeks, halving the Conservative lead, with the fall-out from the proposed “dementia tax” still to be fully factored in, U-turns included.
It is also interesting how Labour’s poll bounce coincides with general election broadcast rules kicking in. The public are finally seeing that Jeremy Corbyn is not the person he has been portrayed as in sections of the right wing press, although some broadcasters still insist on using the pejorative term “hard left”, which is somewhat at odds with polling that indicates the public supports the policies in the Labour manifesto.
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn isn’t hard left – it’s mainstream [socialism].
Protests outside the venue in Halifax where the Conservatives are releasing their manifesto today (18/05/17) are gathering pace; and their battle bus was jeered out of the town too; and numbers- wonder how the police feel about having to be there, after the car crash police conference yesterday where they were told in no uncertain terms that the Conservatives were going to continue to hang them out to dry. And it looks like some Conservative MPs agree- the BBC Q&A with Victoria Derbyshire had to be cancelled today as they could find no Conservative MP who want to go on and talk about the manifesto! Southend Council’s Conservative leader John Lamb isn’t too happy about it either! (Understatement.)
And the control freakery (see part 1 of the election blogs) continues. Apparently Sky News haven’t been sycophantic enough for May’s likings now, as “Conservative ministers were avoiding having their policies being scrutinised on air by Sky’s presenters. They also said the news channel had struggled to gain access to the prime minister’s events.”
Not content with declaring she will make a ‘new internet’ (see the Conservative manifesto blog) May’s office is sending out letters to potential voters, full of slurs against Corbyn and essentially begging for their vote in the election.
Unsurprisingly, many of them are getting this treatment…
This desperation continued on Twitter today (20/05/17), perhaps because she believes the polls where even Survation (believed to be one of the more accurate organisations due to their 2015 GE Polls and Scottish referendum polls) have them losing points, post manifesto release, and to Labour, as do YouGov the day before. The Conservatives’ lead has HALVED in a week.
So this week, voting intentions from the 2015 GE to this week looks like this…
I think she really needs to stop going off-script as every time she does, it’s a disaster. The language in it is all negative and to try and use it as a threat might galvanise some wavering blues, but it will also give floating voters who don’t want to vote blue but are thinking it won’t make a difference some hope. And the responses to this were almost all on the lines of ‘great news! Thanks for letting us know’ 😂
Firstly, who would you prefer? The man who came up with Labour’s seven EU amendments in January 2017 that the Conservatives blocked, the man with years of experience in law, or the guy on the right? (See below.)
Secondly, which six I wonder? In the last blog we looked at some of the super marginals but here is a full list again. I helpfully Tweeted this list back to May in case she wasn’t sure which six it might be (as after all, she didn’t know where she was the other week, so maybe she doesn’t know this either… 😉 )
Some of these seats have been looked at in the previous election blogs particularly part three. The swings needed to turn these to Labour or Lib Dem are tiny! And no wonder she’s desperate- not only are the polls haemorrhaging but the also figures have been leaked today (20/05/17) that the Conservatives tried to block: the real state of the NHS…
The other parties have been quick to jump onto this new obvious frailty of May and the Conservative manifesto. I’m not sure who came up with this from the Lib Dems (20/05/17), but it is beyond disturbing!
Other graphics have been coming thick and fast…
Corbyn appeared to solidify his position in rallies across the Midlands and North West today (20/05/17)- in West Kirby there were 8000 people (which is more than every single inhabitant of West Kirby put together) and The Libertines asked him to come to their gig in Prenton, where he addressed over 16500 people to great applause and approval. May on the other hand was protested against again at a tiny event in what looks like someone’s house.
Tomorrow (21/05/17) all Labour campaigning has been suspended in memory of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, on the first anniversary of the terrible event. It will be a cross party initiative and leaders will halt political activity and instead visit community projects. The parties have asked all their candidates to do the same. Corbyn is due to visit a project in Liverpool; Farron will take part in a picnic in Kendal and Green leader Caroline Lucas will be at a church project in Brighton. In Scotland cross-party candidates will join Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale at Edinburgh’s Serenity Cafe. The Independent say May will be doing it too but there is no mention of what community action she will undertake, or if she will. “Theresa May has pledged her support for the initiative”, The Mirror coyly suggest. As the initiative is to support and promote ‘The Great Get Together‘, taking place just after the General Election- a nationwide celebration of community spirit, I honestly doubt many Conservatives will be bothering least of all May.
Three Conservatives came out of hiding today too (21/05/17):
- Harriett Baldwin, Conservative Defence Minister, at the Royal United Services Institute
- Boris on Peston and
- Damian Green on Andrew Marr’s show.
Baldwin (as Michael Fallon chickened out, or as some were saying, as too drunk to attend) was heckled by military experts and accused of electioneering as she was taken to task over Conservative cuts, as she struggled to justify axing funding for the armed forces from 2010 onwards (talked about in this blog). Her insistence on talking about Corbyn and Trident was dismissed for the rhetoric it was, and she was actually laughed at when she too joined the long list of Conservatives getting their numbers wrong when quizzed about Ministry of Defence Budget black holes opened by the 17% plunge in Sterling following last June’s B*exit referendum, which severely affected defence deals with overseas contractors, including for the F35 Lightning II joint strike fighter and the Poseidon P8-A maritime patrol planes. She, if you’ll pardon the pun, went down in flames.
Green fared no better on Marr,and trying and failing to justify the Conservatives’ manifesto.
McDonnell on that show also revealed Green’s huge profits made via vested interest on privatising public utilities while an MP (not legal) TO HIS FACE on this show too, and he had no answer but ‘you don’t understand capitalism’. 😂
And Boris blatantly sneaked through the questions Peston was due to ask him while Peston was interviewing someone else yet still failed to answer any questions
No surprise really, as they also brushed off the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report this month (just as they did in 2016.)
227 recommendations were made. Here are just some of those:
- That it must do more regarding “high level” child sexual abuse, and the CSA Inquiry must be completed.
- That counter-terrorism legislation needs to be altered, as it currently “target[s] individuals or groups based on race, ethnic background or religion”.
- That it must do more in respect of selling arms to “countries where they are likely to be used for human rights abuses and violations”. (Which is in the Labour manifesto to stop immediately.)
- The fact that abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland.
- Levels of child poverty (currently four million children), which it must “eradicate”.
- That is should “consider the revision of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (commonly known as the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’) with a view to protecting the right to privacy, including by prohibiting mass surveillance activities and the collection of communications data without warrants”.
- That not enough was being done to reduce the UK prisoner population; to improve prisoner safety; or to address increases in prison murders, self-harm and suicide.
Ignoring international law
- The rights of the child.
- Migrant workers.
- People from forced disappearance.
- Decent work for domestic workers.
- Children against sexual exploitation and abuse (EU legislation).
- Women and girls against violence (EU legislation).
The UK is not even signed up to some of these laws in the first place!
Negligent domestic policy
- The government must include “civil society” (the public) more in decision-making processes; specifically the implementation of the UNHRC recommendations.
- It needs to do more to ensure that British companies are not breaching human rights abroad.
- A Universal Basic Income must be considered.
- Life sentences given out to young offenders should be abolished.
- It needs to review the Immigration Act 2016, as it may be in breach of international law surrounding children; specifically the detention of child immigrants/refugees.
- The government must do more to stop the British media from inciting hate crime.
- Not enough is being done to counter ethnic profiling of people of African descent.
- The government still needs to do more to stop the increase of all hate crime and discrimination.
- Discrimination against same-sex couples in Northern Ireland must end, and same-sex marriage must be made law.
The Conservatives’ British Bill of Rights (to replace the European Human Rights)
- The BBR would maintain the same level of protection for the public as the ECHR.
- European citizens living in the UK would be protected under the BBR.
- The public should be consulted on the contents of the BBR.
The Conservatives either denied or said, that ‘work was in progress’ on these issues- and has until September to report back to the UN. Another reason why they’re trying to throw the election perhaps, and not just because May has already made a clusterf**k of B*exit.
The 2016 UN report showed the Conservatives had committed “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights; eroding the rights of single parents, minority communities, and the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.
All brushed under the carpet. And the UN has no legal power to force the government to act- which is why they feel they have the power to ignore the misery they are causing.
The MSM are trying the ‘but Corbyn supported the IRA’ counter attack again today after watching in dismay as the Conservatives implode. Nice timing guys to do that the day Jo Cox was killed. Already successfully and completely debunked in my blog, and categorically denied for the 100th time on Sophy Ridge on Sky News, this old lie needs putting to bed once and for all. Corbyn
- spoke to some PIRA and Sinn Fein people with peace as an end goal
- never funded violence,
- never bombed or ‘gut shot’ them (yes, that was a directive given to British forces and paramilitary),
- never spoke in secret,
- never let IRA people stand for Labour office (the Conservatives have- see the blog above for Maria Gatland).
And (for) now, there’s peace in Ireland. So let’s move on shall we?
The MSM have moved on already with the shock news that the Conservatives have ‘u-turned’ on the ‘death and dementia tax’! This ‘flagship policy’ is discussed in full in my examination of their manifesto blog, and has caused hundreds of lifetime Conservative voters to loudly and publicly change their vote (here’s just one example, where not only has he changed voting sides but also joined the Labour party!) but basically it’s this:
- She did not say (whilst at the Welsh Conservatives Manifesto launch in Wrexham today (22/05/17)) what would be put in instead. And local shops were told not to sell flour and eggs in case they ended up all over the former PM.
- She did not say what parts of the social care land grab would be rescinded.
- There will still be no cap (limit) on the amount people will have to pay for their own care. Jeremy Hunt made that quite clear. So when May ‘clarified’ that the policy would include an overall cap on costs, she’s lying.
So this u-turn is a u-turn in name only, and how can anyone trust them after this final nail in the coffin? (On all levels!) They are terrified now of losing the ‘grey vote‘. And for good reason.
A question many are asking is ‘who benefits from all these post-mortem house sales‘? Back in Tudor times of course it was the King. Today, it will be Legal and General for about a third of it, so let’s say, the Privy Council. Have a guess who is a key UK executive of this highly lucrative equity release market? Well L&G are mostly owned by Capital Group, and Philip May, husband of Theresa rears his head once more. Told when to take out the bins (The One Show) my a**e.
The Mirror have gone for full out attack on their front page today (22/05/17). While ‘we’ all knew that May’s campaign manager Lynton Crosby, the so-called ‘Wizard of Oz’ behind Cameron’s election campaign too, was slippier than a snake that had been basted in vaseline and olive oil and left under a heat lamp, this level of tax evasion is blatant and eliminates the last shred of credibility the Conservatives held.
What a day for her to appear on the Andrew Neil political programme. As was expected, not a single question he put to her was answered. So on
- the social care cap
- National Insurance and income tax rises
- £8BILLION manifesto promise for the NHS
- Winter Fuel Payments
- the B*exit deal
we are still none the wiser.
- “I mean,” he said “this must be the first time in modern history that a party’s actually broken a manifesto policy before the election.”
- He pulled her up on her obsession with Corbyn “So Jeremy Corbyn is now rewriting your manifesto?”
- On the polls: “Prime Minister, you started this campaign with a huge double digit lead in the polls, it’s now down to single digits in some polls. What’s gone wrong?”
- On the manifesto: “But your policies are uncosted and half-baked aren’t they?”
- On the NHS: “Our hospitals have just endured their worst 12 months in ten years. A record number of urgent operations were cancelled, a string of targets, from emergency care to routine care, to cancer care, have been missed. What you’re promising is too little too late.”
- On benefits: “In what way are you on their side? You’ve taken away £280 a year from their in work benefits because of the freeze. How is that being on their side?”
- On immigration: “You’ve promised twice to reduce immigration to the 10s of thousands and twice you failed. Why should we believe you a third time?” And “He [George Osborne] said nobody supports [it] in your Cabinet.”
Osborne’s also being causing trouble for his old party as editor of the Evening Standard today (22/05/17). And many of the other papers have followed suit.
**********Seats under scrutiny this week**********
If there was a safe seat, and for Liam Fox of all people, this is it. He has held it since 2010 and benefitted from the post-coalition Lib Dem collapse in 2015 to increase his majority to 39.2% or 23,099 votes (a 25% positive swing.)
- It has been a constituency in some form since 1885 and was a straight Liberal– Conservative fight all the way to 1950 when Labour ran the Conservative candidate close, they scraped a 1.7% majority. This trend continued all through the 50s and 60s, with the Conservatives‘ hold being most fragile.
- The 70s were less narrow Conservative victories where the majority was never lower than 13% (9475 votes) over Labour who kept coming in second. In 1983 the constituency was abolished but resurrected in 2010.
- The North Somerset Council (unitary) is almost under complete Conservative control.
- And the population has doubled since the 50 and fewer people under 45 live here than the national average, but the 20-34 age group is on the rise. Here the so-called ‘grey vote’ could make a difference as there’s 4.2% more older people (60+ female, 65+ male) than the rest of England and Wales, and the percentage over 75 years old is almost 30% higher than the national average.
- Unemployment is high: 31% and non-white population low: 1.38%.
- Turnout slipped from 75% and 73% between 2010 and 2015, but this is still high.
So while Fox looks safe, perhaps the scrapping of the pensions triple lock and winter fuel allowance by the Conservatives will make some look elsewhere for their choice.
Stalybridge and Hyde
One of the constituencies that May’s begging letters are targetting, (see above) this Greater Manchester seat is held by Labour Co-op MP Jonathan Reynolds and has been since 2010.
- His majority increased from 2,744 votes (6.7%) in 2010 to 6,686 votes (16.3%) in 2015 and is just out of the super marginal bracket.
- The main losers at the 2015 election were especially the Lib Dems (14%), but the usual second place runner the Conservatives, also lost 5% of the vote.
- It was created under the Representation of the People Act (1918) and strongly Conservative, but from 1945 this seat had been a pretty strong hold for Labour; though the majority has been as low as 9% it was often 20% and higher.
- The biggest issue here is the turnout- at one time (post war) in the 80% bracket- in 2015 it was only 59% so for Reynolds to comfortably keep his seat a higher number of voters would be a great help.
- UKIP took over from the Lib Dems’ third place in 2015 but much of that is likely to be (as has been said in other election blogs) spite voting post coalition but if general voting trends over the past decade continue, the vote will be fairly split but Labour Co-op will hold again.
In January 2016 Reynolds was Shadow Rail Minister, but resigned in protest at the sacking of a colleague- Shadow Europe Secretary Pat McFadden. The latter had criticised the views of the Stop The War Coalition – with which Corbyn is closely associated – in the wake of the Paris attacks and while Reynolds backed Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Syrian airstrikes, he does not align with the StWC at all so felt he should leave the Shadow Cabinet.
It seems in 2017 UKIP are not standing but Tom Dowse (Conservative), Reynolds as standing MP, Julie Wood (Green) and Paul Ankers (Lib Dems) are. It is unlikely the Greens will split the Labour vote as from 2005-2015 their vote average was 1206 with no up or downwards trend. Reynolds is probably safe.
A Conservative super marginal, whose majority was slashed from 5% to 378 votes (0.8%) between 2010 and 2015. David Nuttall (no relation) is the sitting MP, notoriously anti gay and the poor, (click his name for his voting record) and very trigger happy in foreign policy.
- This seat, since its creation in 1983 has been closely fought over by Labour and Conservative.
- In the 80s, the Conservatives‘ majority was 8% on average and in the 90s/00s, Labour‘s was 10%.
- Since Nuttall gained the seat (long standing MP David Chaytor stood down in 2010) he has not been able to keep his 10% swing.
- This seat, looking at previous swings, does not look safe at all and is a three way fight: Nuttall, Labour‘s James Frith and Liberal Democrats’ Richard Baum. Till 2010 the Lib Dems’ share of the vote was quite healthy, sometimes as high as 15%, but again we saw ‘spite voting’ here in 2010, and voters moved from Lib Dem to Conservative (and possibly UKIP, in 2015, as they managed 12.4% of the vote then) enough to cause the swing.
- They could very well move back again. So if the usual trend of UKIP moving to the Conservatives but the Conservatives losing enough votes back to Lib Dem occurs, they would cancel each other out and Labour could just sneak it.
If ever a seat was ‘safe’, this is it. Damian Green (see above) has held the seat since 1992 and started off with quite a low majority (quite usual for a new MP) but it built over the years to the 19,296 vote (33.6%) he had in 2015.
- And if people weren’t voting blue, they were voting UKIP via Gerald O’Brien (10,798 votes, 18.8% of the vote; a +14.3% swing). Labour‘s Brendan Chilton was not far behind with 10,580 votes (18.4 % of the vote, a +1.8 swing).
- The ‘spite vote’ towards the Liberal Democrats that caused their post coalition crash was apparent here too- Debbie Enever obtained 3,433 votes (6%; a -16.8 swing). And the Greens with Mandy Rossi got 2,467 votes (4.3%; a +2.5 swing). Rossi, O’Brien, and Green of course are standing again in 2017; for Labour this time it’s Sally Gathern (who stood for local councillor and came second) and for the Liberal Democrats Adrian Gee-Turner.
- It has been a Conservative stronghold since 1906 when it was created except for in 1929 when the Liberals managed to gain it.
- But the Ashford Lib Dems are not the only party holding their hands up in horror at the Conservative Manifesto. The local papers have noted the huge reduction of the Conservative lead in the polls and blaming it on the ‘dementia tax’.
- Rail price hikes appear often in the local news- residents are very unhappy about them.
- And with almost 40% of the population aged 50 and over, who definitely have property and assets worth over £100,000, maybe they will think twice before voting Conservative this time.
- 59% of voters went for Leave in the referendum here which could also play a part.
Sitting MP Jim Pugh is stepping down (as said in part 1 of the election blog) and Southport’s local paper has this to say:
When an MP stands down whoever wins the seat after them tends to have a reduced majority even if the same party wins. But let’s have a look at Southport’s political history a bit.
- The seat has been a Liberal/ Conservative one since its creation in 1885 with Labour a sometimes distant third. UKIP had not managed to get much of a hold here until the past ten years (a huge 11.7% swing) and both they and Labour (10% swing) have been making inroads into the Lib Dem and Conservative voter base.
- Pugh’s majority collapsed between 2010 and 2015 from 13% to 1,322 votes (3%) and so this seat too can be considered a super marginal.
- Turnout here has been averaging in the mid 60% but has been higher in the past. So again non voters could make the difference here.
- The same four candidates as 2015 are also standing in 2017 (apart from Pugh of course): for UKIP, Terry Durrance, the new Liberal Democrat Sue McGuire, for the Conservatives, Damien Moore and for Labour Liz Savage again.
- Another 5% swing away from the Lib Dems again like in 2015 could let Labour in for a shock win, as both the Lib Dems and the Conservative votes have been on a downwards spiral.
- 11% of their population is over 75 and again the ‘dementia tax’ could play a role here.
- And the area also voted Remain in the referendum- 51.9% Remain against Leave’s 48.1% and a 71% turnout. This one is too close to call.
Hove and Portslade
A Labour seat with a small 1,236 vote (2.4%) majority, this is well worth looking at, not least because the Conservative candidate is a rabid god squadder and ‘gay cure’ advocate, but because it is yet another super marginal.
- Since its creation in 1950 it was held by Conservatives till 1997 when Ivor Caplin of Labour won, as did his successor in 2005, Celia Barlow. 2010 saw it return to Mike Weatherley (Conservative) only to revert to Peter Kyle (Labour) in 2015.
- So we have no real indication of recent voting trends except to note that early on their majority was up at 50% but in 1997 took a massive hammering and lost a 24% majority in five years with an almost straight swing of those votes to Labour.
- There is little to be gained looking at turnout either as it’s one of the most erratic I have seen so far- anything from almost 50% to just 59% with no prediction possible.
- In 2017, the following candidates are standing: Kyle of course, new Conservative Kristy Adams (in 2015 they gained 39.9% of the vote, which is a +3.2% swing), new Liberal Democrat Carrie Hynds (in 2015 they got 1,861 votes, which is 3.6% and another ‘spite vote’ −19.0% swing, most of which went to Labour) , the new Greens’ candidate Phelim MacCafferty (in 2015 they obtained 3,569 votes, which was 6.8% and a +1.7 swing) and an Independent Charley Sabel (in 2015 the Independent candidate managed 322 or 0.6% of the vote).
- UKIP are not standing.
- With 23.22% of the population aged over 60 (around the same as the national average) there’s no way of knowing if they will turn away from the Conservatives after the release of their manifesto in numbers enough to affect the result but local papers as far back as 2013 reported on the area’s poorest pensioners are living in unnecessary poverty because they are not claiming Pension Credit, according to charity Independent Age. From DWP figures, they calculated there are about 5,200 pensioners in Brighton and Hove who are struggling as “vital benefits” go unclaimed.
- While Kyle is not safe, are we likely to see a Conservative surge? No. Perhaps it would be down to Lib Dems to make a comeback, as the area voted Remain with a massive 68.6% of the vote, which would split the vote and make a Labour hold more likely.
In contrast let’s look at another safe seat, that of Priti Patel of the Conservatives. Anti-gay, pro bombing, pro reducing benefits to their barest minimum, for VAT rises but against high corporation tax and much more, she is one of the worst examples of a blue. Yet her seat is one of the safest in the country.
- It is very new, having only been created in 2010 and in 2015 she increased her majority from 24,448 votes (52.2%) to 27,123 votes (57.5%).
- UKIP are the closest to them with 7,569 votes (16%), which was a 9% swing.
- Labour is a close third wavering between 18.5% (2010) and 15.8% (2015) of the vote.
- The rest are nowhere.
- The seat is 95% white, voted 38.9% to remain and 61.1% to leave the EU (76% turnout) and includes a huge part of rural central Essex where affluent commuter villages and farming communities sit side by side, united in almost universal support for the Conservatives. It seems unlikely she will lose her seat unless there’s a UKIP surge.
- But local papers say that 35% of voters are genuinely undecided this election, and when the area usually has a 70% turnout this could dent Patel’s majority. From polls taken the UKIP vote has collapsed, Labour‘s is back up to 18%, the rest are floundering, but only 27% are saying they’ll go or stay blue this time.
- Perhaps the best we can glean from that is that it might become a marginal seat.
The *super-duper marginals* (as it were) are all seats held by less than 1000, and Bury North is one (and is discussed above). 13 Conservative and 11 Labour seats are in grave danger. Marris, Labour MP for WSW (see below) has stood down and Eleanor Smith will be standing in his seat. As shown in part 1 of the election blogs, these MPs aren’t standing in 2017.
Here are the steppers so far, from ALL parties, with their seats:
Conservatives ( 3% of total MPs):
Angela Watkinson – Hornchurch and Upminster
George Osborne – Tatton
Simon Burns – Chelmsford
Gerald Howarth – Aldershot
Eric Pickles – Brentwood and Ongar
Alan Haselhurst – Saffron Walden
Andrew Tyrie – Chichester
Peter Lilley – Hitchen & Harpenden
Edward Garnier – Harborough
David Macintosh – Northampton South
Andrew Turner – Isle of Wight(forced to stand down on 28/04/17 after describing homosexuality as “wrong” and “dangerous to society” to A level students in the Isle of Wight)
Labour (5% of total MPs):
Alan Johnson – Hull West and Hessle
Gisela Stuart – Birmingham Edgbaston
Jim Dowd – Lewisham West and Penge
Tom Blenkinsop – Middlesborough South and East Cleveland
Rob Marris – Wolverhampton South West
Pat Glass – North West Durham
Iain Wright – Hartlepool
Andrew Smith – Oxford East
Fiona MacTaggart – Slough
Dave Anderson – Blaydon
Michael Dugher – Barnsley East
Graham Allen – Nottingham North
Steve Rotheram- Liverpool Walton (now Liverpool Regional Mayor)
Andy Burnham – Leigh (now Greater Manchester Mayor)
Lib Dems(11% of total MPs):
John Pugh- Stockport
Michelle Thomson (was SNP)- Edinburgh West
Natalie McGarry- Glasgow East
(ex) UKIP (100% of total MPs):
The other seats are below and have been/will be looked at across the election blogs from now to election night:
**************The Manchester Attack****************
Following the attack in Manchester in the early hours of this morning (23/05/17), all election campaigning has been suspended until further notice (minimum 48 hours) so this blog will end here.
Go here for part 5 of the election blog and here for the blog on Manchester.