Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Westcountry seats to watch tonight

(Pic copyright Western Morning News)

With a few hours to go before we start getting results, here is my take on Westcountry seats, the ones to watch and the safe seats which would cause a political earthquake if they changed hands.
They are in no particularly order and all come with the proviso that they will be completely wrong.

North Cornwall: Despite The Independent claiming Dan Rogerson is a new candidate today, the Lib Dem is actually seeking re-election and is looking difficult to unseat for Tory Sian Flynn

Taunton Deane: This seat has changed hands at every election since 1997. Lib Dem Jeremy Browne defends a slender 1,868 majority over Tory Mark Formosa, who unsuccessfully contested North Cornwall in 2005

South East Cornwall: A strange one this. Lib Dem Colin Breed is retiring, and his party’s candidate Karen Gillard could not be more different. Tory Sheryll Murray is well-known, particularly in fishing circles, but both women have a Marmite tendency to split opinion

Truro and Falmouth: Terrye Teverson belongs to Lib Dem royalty in the Westcountry, but her Tory challenger Sarah Newton is one of the new breed of Cameroon local candidates and is less than 4,000 votes behind

North Devon: On paper, Lib Dem Nick Harvey should be vulnerable, but Tory candidate Philip Milton will struggle to erode the 5,276 majority. With a crowded field of nine candidates, a split vote could let either of them through

Exeter: Ben Bradshaw is the most senior Labour minister in the South West and defends a 8,559 majority over Tory Hannah Foster – a similar margin enjoyed by Ed Balls, who has been the target of a high profile decapitation strategy in Yorkshire. It would be a real shock if the Conservatives took this seat this time round – not least for the Tories themselves

Newton Abbot: Lib Dem Richard Younger-Ross sits on a 4,830 majority and is on the Tory target list. Whether or not Anne Marie Morris sneaks in will be a bellweather of the Tory performance nationally

Plymouth Sutton and Devonport: Tory Oliver Colvile is standing in this tough seat again, hoping to reverse Linda Gilroy’s 4,472 majority. Cuts to the dockyard and the government’s unpopularity could prove critical but Labour will not give up without a fight

Somerton and Frome: Lib Dem frontbencher David Heath is the most vulnerable in the Westcountry. Tory Annunziata Rees-Mogg is considered favourite to erode his 595 majority, but Mr Heath has form for hanging on against the odds

South Dorset: Labour’s employment minister Jim Knight looks vulnerable. It only takes a swing of 1.86 per cent for the Tory Richard Drax to take this seat on the south coast. He admits: “It will always be the case that if things go really wrong for the party nationally it will be really tough for me… but I don’t think we will be in that situation.”

St Austell and Newquay: After boundary changes and the retirement of Lib Dem Matthew Taylor, this is a new seat with a new slate of candidates. Lib Dem Steve Gilbert defends a 5,723 majority and former newsreader Caroline Righton needs a substantial swing of 6.22 per cent to win it

Torbay: Lib Dem Adrian Sanders is under real pressure from Conservative Marcus Wood, with barely 2,700 votes between the two parties in 2005. Mr Sanders says “this has been the most enjoyable election campaign I have ever fought”


Central Devon: As a new seat, swiping chunks from several others, Conservative Mel Stride starts out as the notional incumbent, with Lib Dem Phil Hutty 2,300 behind

Torridge and West Devon: Late in the campaign the Lib Dems said they thought their man Adam Symons could win this, though Tory Geoffrey Cox will have to be unlucky to see his 2,732 majority evaporate

Totnes: After Tory Anthony Steen’s retirement, the result here is uncertain. Dartmoor GP Sarah Wollaston was selected in an open primary and is the frontrunner, but Lib Dem Julian Brazil is only 2,700 votes behind while Labour, UKIP, the Greens, BNP and two independents crowd the field

Camborne and Redruth: The region’s true three-way marginal. Defended by Lib Dem high flier Julia Goldsworthy who faces tough competition from Tory George Eustice, a former spin doctor for David Cameron and Michael Howard who can trace his local roots back centuries. Labour’s Jude Robinson is in 2nd place on paper. What happens to the Labour vote will prove crucial.

St Ives: Lib Dem Andrew George’s 10,000+ majority looks safe but the Tories think they could make a big dent in it

East Devon: A Tory stronghold for donkeys years, Hugo Swire will not be going anywhere

South West Devon: Tory Gary Streeter is safe, though Labour’s Luke Pollard has put up a spirited fight and will hope to be rewarded with a more winnable seat next time

Plymouth Moorview: The safer of Labour’s two seats in the city, with Alison Seabeck defending a 7,740 majority though some optimists in the Tory party seem to think Matthew Groves could take it

Tiverton and Honiton: Former MEP Neil Parish should retain this for the Tories, after Angela Browning’s retirement

Bridgwater and West Somerset: Ian Liddell-Grainger’s Tory stronghold got safer with boundary changes, and defends a notional majority of 10,081

Yeovil: The seat once held by former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown, David Laws keeps up the tradition with a notional majority of 8,779

West Dorset: Tory policy chief Oliver Letwin defends a majority of only 2,461, and the Lib Dems have played up the idea they could take it. All depends on the Clegg-effect and seems unlikely

No comments:

Post a Comment