General Election Predictions

Final General Election Predictions 10: East Sussex

27 Apr 2015 at 12:11

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

EAST SUSSEX

Seats: 8
Current Political Makeup: Con 5, LibDem 2, Green 1
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con 3, Lab 3, LibDem 1, Green 1
*Final Prediction: Con 2, Lab 3, LibDem 2, Green 1

1. Bexhill & Battle

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28147 (51.6%)
Labour: 6524 (12%)
Lib Dem: 15267 (28%)
BNP: 1950 (3.6%)
Others: 2699 (4.9%)
MAJORITY: 12880 (23.6%)

Sitting MP: Greg Barker (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

Safe as houses, and with the LibDem vote crumbling to Labour, the Tory majority should increase here.

2. Brighton Kemptown

2010 Result:
Conservative: 16217 (38%)
Labour: 14889 (34.9%)
Lib Dem: 7691 (18%)
Green: 2330 (5.5%)
UKIP: 1384 (3.2%)
TUSC: 194 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 1328 (3.1%)

Sitting MP: Simon Kirby (Con)
Prediction: Probable Labour gain

Simon Kirby defied predictions and took this seat in 2010. He’s unlikely to hold it despite performing well as a constituency MP. The Green council’s record may well mean some of the Green vote goes to Labour and at least a good proportion of the LibDem vote is likely head in the same direction. If Labour don’t win this seat, it will be symptomatic that they are in for a terrible evening. A good majority, on the other hand will be an indication that Ed Miliband is heading for Downing Street.

3. Brighton Pavilion

2010 Result:
Conservative: 12275 (23.7%)
Labour: 14986 (28.9%)
Lib Dem: 7159 (13.8%)
Green: 16238 (31.3%)
UKIP: 948 (1.8%)
Others: 228 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 1252 (2.4%)

Sitting MP: Caroline Lucas (Green)
Prediction: Narrow Green hold

They don’t come much more hardworking than Caroline Lucas, and if work rate counted for anything she’d waltz home in 2015. However, the disastrous record of the Green controlled council in Brighton may scupper her chances of holding the seat. This is an incredibly difficult seat to call. Opinion is split on whether Lucas will not only hold the seat but increase her majority or whether Labour could squeak it. There’s a LibDem vote to squeeze and the Greens may be able to do this more easily than Labour, and there are also several areas of the constituency where UKIP are said to making inroads into the Labour vote. I’ve called this for Labour, but it’s not a prediction I’d bet any money on. UPDATE 15/1/14 I’ve changed my mind on this bearing in mind the Green surge. However, it really is still too close to make a confident prediction.

4. Eastbourne

2010 Result:
Conservative: 21223 (40.7%)
Labour: 2497 (4.8%)
Lib Dem: 24658 (47.3%)
BNP: 939 (1.8%)
UKIP: 1305 (2.5%)
Independent: 1327 (2.5%)
Others: 175 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 3435 (6.6%)

Sitting MP: Stephen Lloyd (LibDem)
Prediction: Probable Conservative gain
Final Prediction: LibDem hold

Won in 2010 from Nigel Waterson, Stephen Lloyd may hang on, but I’d expect the Labour vote to at least double at the expense of the LibDems, so yet again, a lot depends on how many votes the Tories lose to UKIP. Lloyd has been a hardworking MP but rather preposterously resigned as a government PPS as his constituency didn’t get enough ‘pork’ in the autumn statement. UPDATE: Since I predicted this I have had a lot of representations from people who reckon I’ve got this wrong. In addition, I had missed the Ashcroft poll which had put the LibDems way ahead 47-25. So when the facts change, I change my mind.

5. Hastings & Rye

2010 Result:
Conservative: 20468 (41.1%)
Labour: 18475 (37.1%)
Lib Dem: 7825 (15.7%)
BNP: 1310 (2.6%)
UKIP: 1397 (2.8%)
English Dem: 339 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 1993 (4%)

Sitting MP: Amber Rudd (Con)
Prediction: Labour gain

Amber Rudd has been a vocal MP and is now a DECC minister. This was a Labour seat under Blair and Brown and it would be a brave punter who bet any money against it returning to the Labour fold. If it doesn’t, Labour needs to prepare for a very dark election night indeed.

6. Hove

2010 Result:
Conservative: 18294 (36.7%)
Labour: 16426 (33%)
Lib Dem: 11240 (22.6%)
Green: 2568 (5.2%)
UKIP: 1206 (2.4%)
Independent: 85 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 1868 (3.7%)

Sitting MP: Mike Weatherley (Con)
Prediction: Labour gain

The Tories’ best hope of retaining this seat was if Mike Weatherley re-fought it but he’s decided to retire after only one term. The reason I expect Labour to gain it is because I think they will sweep up a good proportion of the existing LibDem vote.

7. Lewes

2010 Result:
Conservative: 18401 (36.7%)
Labour: 2508 (5%)
Lib Dem: 26048 (52%)
BNP: 594 (1.2%)
Green: 729 (1.5%)
UKIP: 1728 (3.4%)
Independent: 80 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 7647 (15.3%)

Sitting MP: Norman Baker (LibDem)
Prediction: Narrow LibDem hold

2010 was a high watermark for the LibDems in this once very safe Tory seat. The Tories are putting a lot of effort into unseating Norman Baker but it’s rather out of control. It all depends on how much of his vote seeps to Labour. Like Stephen Lloyd in Eastbourne and Norman Lamb in North Norfolk, Norman Baker has squeezed the Labour vote to virtually nothing. His continued success depends almost entirely whether he can supress it enough on 7 May to pull through. UPDATE: An Ashcroft poll shows Norman Baker’s vote has dipped sharply from 52% in 2010 to 37%. Sadly for the Tories, their vote has shattered to UKIP and they can only muster 28%. If they can get the UKIP vote back to some extent, this could be more marginal than it may look.

8. Wealden

2010 Result:
Conservative: 31090 (56.6%)
Labour: 5266 (9.6%)
Lib Dem: 13911 (25.3%)
Green: 1383 (2.5%)
UKIP: 3319 (6%)
MAJORITY: 17179 (31.3%)

Sitting MP: Charles Hendry (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

The decline in the LibDem vote should mean an increased majority for Nusrat Ghani, the new Tory candidate chosen to succeed Charles Hendry.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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General Election Predictions

Final General Election Predictions 9: Kent (Part 2)

27 Apr 2015 at 12:04

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

KENT (Part 2)
This is the second half of my Kent predictions. Read the first part HERE

Seats: 8
Current Political Makeup: Con 7, UKIP 1
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con 7, UKIP 1

10. Maidstone & The Weald

2010 Result:
Conservative: 23491 (48%)
Labour: 4769 (9.7%)
Lib Dem: 17602 (36%)
Green: 655 (1.3%)
UKIP: 1637 (3.3%)
Christian: 131 (0.3%)
Others: 643 (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 5889 (12%)

Sitting MP: Helen Grant (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

As in Folkestone & Hythe, the LibDems have always had high hopes in this seat. Ann Widdecombe kept them at bay even though they have consistently done well in local elections. In parliamentary elections in this seat they’ve never managed to break through. If they couldn’t do it in 2010 it’s difficult to see how they will now. Having said that, they have a hard working candidate in Jasper Gerard and Widdecombe’s successor Helen Grant is said to be unpopular with her local party as well as being a rather invisible sports minister. Despite that, it would be unbelievable if she contrived to lose this seat. The truth is that if this seat behaves like others, her majority could actually increase.

11. Rochester & Strood

2010 Result:
Conservative: 23604 (49.2%)
Labour: 13651 (28.5%)
Lib Dem: 7800 (16.3%)
Green: 734 (1.5%)
English Dem: 2182 (4.5%)
MAJORITY: 9953 (20.7%)

BY ELECTION NOV 2014
UKIP: 16,867 (42.1%)
Conservative: 13,947 (34.8%)
Labour 6,713: (16.8%)
Green 1,692: (4.2%)
LibDem 349: (0.9%
Others 497: (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 2,920 (7.3%)

Sitting MP: Mark Reckless (UKIP)
Prediction: Conservative gain

It was a fantastic achievement for UKIP to win this seat in the by-election. The question is, can they retain it at the general election? This depends on a number of factors, not least whether the voters UKIP took from Labour will return to their natural home. If they do, Mark Reckless is stuffed. Much may depend on turnout too. A high turnout will help Reckless. The Conservatives will put in a lot of effort into this seat and if they win it back the cheers will be heard far beyond Rochester or Strood. My guess is that there will be a lot of cheering.

12. North Thanet

2010 Result:
Conservative: 22826 (52.7%)
Labour: 9298 (21.5%)
Lib Dem: 8400 (19.4%)
UKIP: 2819 (6.5%)
MAJORITY: 13528 (31.2%)

Sitting MP: Sir Roger Gale (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

Safe as safe can be, with a split opposition. Even a north Kent UKIP surge is unlikely to affect the result in any serious way.

13. Sevenoaks

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28076 (56.8%)
Labour: 6541 (13.2%)
Lib Dem: 10561 (21.4%)
BNP: 1384 (2.8%)
UKIP: 1782 (3.6%)
English Dem: 806 (1.6%)
Independent: 258 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 17515 (35.4%)

Sitting MP: Michael Fallon (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

An increased majority for Michael Fallon, methinks.

14. Sittingbourne & Sheppey

2010 Result:
Conservative: 24313 (50%)
Labour: 11930 (24.6%)
Lib Dem: 7943 (16.4%)
BNP: 1305 (2.7%)
UKIP: 2610 (5.4%)
Independent: 158 (0.3%)
Others: 319 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 12383 (25.5%)

Sitting MP: Gordon Henderson (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

A Labour seat throughout the Blair/Brown years, Gordon Henderson won it in 2010 with a massive swing, akin to those in neighbouring seats. I can’t see any of these Medway and North Kent seats returning to the Labour fold unless Ed Miliband wins a substantial majority throughout the country.

15. South Thanet

2010 Result:
Conservative: 22043 (48%)
Labour: 14426 (31.4%)
Lib Dem: 6935 (15.1%)
UKIP: 2529 (5.5%)
MAJORITY: 7617 (16.6%)

Sitting MP: Laura Sandys (Con)
Prediction: UKIP gain

Laura Sandys is standing down after only one term. People interpreted this move as being ‘frit’ by Nigel Farage’s UKIP candidacy. Not true. However, as a popular local MP, it’s certainly not helped the Conservative cause. She has been replaced by Craig Mackinlay, a former UKIP deputy leader, but better known for his failure to beat the hapless Ann Barnes in the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner election. Constituency polling, which is notoriously unreliable, puts Nigel Farage behind, but the UKIP campaigning machine will be deployed. The question is whether the candidate, Nigel Farage himself, is able to put in the time needed to win the seat. He’ll have to. Even then, victory won’t be assured. This is the seat that every single media organisation will be represented at on election night. It has the potential to change the very nature of British politics. No one can be sure what will happen here, and I openly admit that my prediction is based on nothing more than thirty years of observing these things and my own political instinct. And that’s been wrong before, as those who heard me threatening to run down Whitehall naked if the LibDems got 57 seats in 2010 will testify to!

16. Tonbridge & Malling

2010 Result:
Conservative: 29723 (57.9%)
Labour: 6476 (12.6%)
Lib Dem: 11545 (22.5%)
Green: 764 (1.5%)
UKIP: 1911 (3.7%)
English Dem: 390 (0.8%)
Others: 505 (1%)
MAJORITY: 18178 (35.4%)

Sitting MP: Sir John Stanley (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

One of the safest seats in the country. And this won’t be changed by the fact that Sir John Stanley is standing down.

17. Tunbridge Wells

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28302 (56.2%)
Labour: 5448 (10.8%)
Lib Dem: 12726 (25.3%)
BNP: 704 (1.4%)
Green: 914 (1.8%)
UKIP: 2054 (4.1%)
Independent: 172 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 15576 (31%)

Sitting MP: Greg Clark (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

A decline in the LibDem vote should see Greg Clark home with a majority of not far short of 20,000. This is assuming UKIP don’t filch votes from the Tories. They had made a breakthrough here on the local council, but the 2014 results were a disappointment for Nigel Farage.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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General Election Predictions

Final General Election Predictions 8: Kent (Part 1)

27 Apr 2015 at 11:57

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

KENT (Part 1)

Seats: 9
Current Political Makeup: Con 9
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con 9
Final Prediction: Unchanged

1. Ashford

2010 Result:
Conservative: 29878 (54.1%)
Labour: 9204 (16.7%)
Lib Dem: 12581 (22.8%)
Green: 1014 (1.8%)
UKIP: 2508 (4.5%)
MAJORITY: 17297 (31.3%)

Sitting MP: Damian Green (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Safe as houses for Damian Green.

2. Canterbury

2010 Result:
Conservative: 22050 (44.8%)
Labour: 7940 (16.1%)
Lib Dem: 16002 (32.5%)
Green: 1137 (2.3%)
UKIP: 1907 (3.9%)
Others: 173 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 6048 (12.3%)

Sitting MP: Julian Brazier (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

A high LibDem vote in 2010 may well fragment to Labour, giving Julian Brazier a higher majority.

3. Chatham & Aylesford

2010 Result:
Conservative: 20230 (46.2%)
Labour: 14161 (32.3%)
Lib Dem: 5832 (13.3%)
BNP: 1365 (3.1%)
Green: 396 (0.9%)
UKIP: 1314 (3%)
English Dem: 400 (0.9%)
Christian: 109 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 6069 (13.9%)

Sitting MP: Tracey Crouch (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

By rights this seat ought to return to Labour if the Tories are in trouble next May. If Jonathan Shaw had stood again, Tracey Crouch may have been in difficulties, but she is blessed with a hapless Labour opponent who is not just called Tristan, but Osborne too. But she has proved to be a powerful constituency MP and has built up a strong personal following. In addition there isn’t a huge LibDem vote to crumble to Labour and UKIP haven’t got much of a presence. I’d be astonished if this was anything other than a Tory hold.

4. Dartford

2010 Result:
Conservative: 24428 (48.8%)
Labour: 13800 (27.6%)
Lib Dem: 7361 (14.7%)
UKIP: 1842 (3.7%)
English Dem: 2178 (4.3%)
Independent: 264 (0.5%)
Others: 207 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 10628 (21.2%)

Sitting MP: Gareth Johnson (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

Labour held this seat from 1997 to 2010 but Gareth Johnson achieved a huge swing in 2010, turning a narrow Labour majority of a few hundred into a Tory majority of more than 10,000. That might be eaten into somewhat in May, but I doubt very much whether Labour has any real chance of winning the seat back.

5. Dover

2010 Result:
Conservative: 22174 (44%)
Labour: 16900 (33.5%)
Lib Dem: 7962 (15.8%)
BNP: 1104 (2.2%)
UKIP: 1747 (3.5%)
English Dem: 216 (0.4%)
Independent: 82 (0.2%)
Others: 200 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 5274 (10.5%)

Sitting MP: Charlie Elphicke (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Conservative hold

Dover is quite a volatile seat. It was held by Labour between 1997 and 2010 and Charlie Elphicke did well to win it back for the Tories with such a good majority. He’s been a doughty defender of Dover and had quite a high media profile. Although Labour requires quite a high swing here, they may be aided by UKIP. They haven’t been very strong in Dover up until now, but they may benefit here from the Farage effect in South Thanet. The question is, will they take more votes off the Tories than Labour? I predict a narrow Tory hold.

6. Faversham & Mid Kent

2010 Result:
Conservative: 26250 (56.2%)
Labour: 7748 (16.6%)
Lib Dem: 9162 (19.6%)
Green: 890 (1.9%)
UKIP: 1722 (3.7%)
Others: 940 (2%)
MAJORITY: 17088 (36.6%)

Sitting MP: Hugh Robertson (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Safe as houses.

7. Folkestone & Hythe

2010 Result:
Conservative: 26109 (49.4%)
Labour: 5719 (10.8%)
Lib Dem: 15987 (30.3%)
BNP: 1662 (3.1%)
Green: 637 (1.2%)
UKIP: 2439 (4.6%)
Independent: 247 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 10122 (19.2%)

Sitting MP: Damian Collins (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

At the last three elections the LibDems have tried to persuade the media that they had a serious chance of winning this seat. It was total bollocks of course. This time UKIp are trying the same trick. And it’s still bollocks. Damian Collins will get an increased majority here.

8. Gillingham & Rainham

2010 Result:
Conservative: 21624 (46.2%)
Labour: 12944 (27.7%)
Lib Dem: 8484 (18.1%)
BNP: 1149 (2.5%)
Green: 356 (0.8%)
UKIP: 1515 (3.2%)
English Dem: 464 (1%)
Others: 250 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 8680 (18.6%)

Sitting MP: Rehman Chishti (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

A stupendous result for the Tories here in 2010, ousting the popular Labour MP Paul Clark with a massive swing. The only fly in the Tory ointment here is UKIP, who may well benefit from a Rochester effect, with Nigel Farage. But it would be a major shock if Chishti didn’t pull it off again.

9. Gravesham

2010 Result:
Conservative: 22956 (48.5%)
Labour: 13644 (28.8%)
Lib Dem: 6293 (13.3%)
Green: 675 (1.4%)
UKIP: 2265 (4.8%)
English Dem: 1005 (2.1%)
Independent: 465 (1%)
MAJORITY: 9312 (19.7%)

Sitting MP: Adam Holloway (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

Another Medway seat which has traditionally been seen as a bellweather. held by Jacques Arnold in the Thatcher/Major years, it was held by Labour with 5,000 majorities in 1997 and 2001. Adam Holloway won it in 2005 with a majority of a few hundred, but absolutely thrashed Labour in 2010. Will it be different in 2015? It would be a brave person who would bet that Labour could win here in May.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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General Election Predictions

Final General Election Predictions 7: Berkshire

27 Apr 2015 at 11:51

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

BERKSHIRE

Seats: 8
Current Political Makeup: Con 7, Lab 1
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con 7, Lab 1
Final Prediction: Unchanged

1. Bracknell

2010 Result:
Conservative: 27327 (52.4%)
Labour: 8755 (16.8%)
Lib Dem: 11623 (22.3%)
BNP: 1253 (2.4%)
Green: 821 (1.6%)
UKIP: 2297 (4.4%)
Others: 60 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 15704 (30.1%)

Sitting MP: Philip Lee (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Safe as houses for the Tories.

2. Maidenhead

2010 Result:
Conservative: 31937 (59.5%)
Labour: 3795 (7.1%)
Lib Dem: 15168 (28.2%)
BNP: 825 (1.5%)
Green: 482 (0.9%)
UKIP: 1243 (2.3%)
Others: 270 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 16769 (31.2%)

Sitting MP: Theresa May (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

No trouble for the Home Secretary. She could well increase her majority if the opposition votes split right.

3. Newbury

2010 Result:
Conservative: 33057 (56.4%)
Labour: 2505 (4.3%)
Lib Dem: 20809 (35.5%)
Green: 490 (0.8%)
UKIP: 1475 (2.5%)
Independent: 158 (0.3%)
Others: 95 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 12248 (20.9%)

Sitting MP: Richard Benyon (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

The Labour vote could well double in this seat … to 8% from 4%. If that happens, Richard Benyon gets an increased majority.

4. Reading East

2010 Result:
Conservative: 21269 (42.6%)
Labour: 12729 (25.5%)
Lib Dem: 13664 (27.3%)
Green: 1069 (2.1%)
UKIP: 1086 (2.2%)
Independent: 111 (0.2%)
Others: 57 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 7605 (15.2%)

Sitting MP: Rob Wilson (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

This was a Labour seat from 1997 till 2005 when Rob Wilson won it with a wafer thin majority of 475. Labour would really have to perform spectacularly well to win here again. I doubt they will even come close.

5. Reading West

2010 Result:
Conservative: 20523 (43.2%)
Labour: 14519 (30.5%)
Lib Dem: 9546 (20.1%)
Green: 582 (1.2%)
UKIP: 1508 (3.2%)
Others: 852 (1.8%)
MAJORITY: 6004 (12.6%)

Sitting MP: Alok Sharma (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Conservative hold

Sharma counfounded the pundits in 2010, overturning a Labour majority of more than 4,000. He could be undone if the LibDem vote really collapses and goes to Labour, so this is by no means a safe Tory seat now, despite a good sized majority. I expect Alok Sharma to squeak home.

6. Slough

2010 Result:
Conservative: 16361 (34.3%)
Labour: 21884 (45.8%)
Lib Dem: 6943 (14.5%)
Green: 542 (1.1%)
UKIP: 1517 (3.2%)
Christian: 495 (1%)
MAJORITY: 5523 (11.6%)

Sitting MP: Fiona MacTaggart (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold

This seat was held by the Tory John Watts until 1997 but demographic changes have cemented Labour’s hold on it.

7. Windsor

2010 Result:
Conservative: 30172 (60.8%)
Labour: 4910 (9.9%)
Lib Dem: 11118 (22.4%)
BNP: 950 (1.9%)
Green: 628 (1.3%)
UKIP: 1612 (3.3%)
Independent: 198 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 19054 (38.4%)

Sitting MP: Adam Afriyie (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

With 61% of the vote Adam Afriyie doesn’t have anything to worry about.

8. Wokingham

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28754 (52.7%)
Labour: 5516 (10.1%)
Lib Dem: 15262 (28%)
Green: 567 (1%)
UKIP: 1664 (3.1%)
Independent: 2340 (4.3%)
Others: 425 (0.8%)
MAJORITY: 13492 (24.7%)

Sitting MP: John Redwood (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Nothing to see here. Move along now.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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General Election Predictions

Final General Election Predictions 6: Hertfordshire

27 Apr 2015 at 11:03

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

HERTFORDSHIRE

Seats: 11
Current Political Makeup: Con 11
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con 9, Labour 2
Final Prediction: Con 10, Lab 1

1. Broxbourne

2010 Result:
Conservative: 26844 (58.8%)
Labour: 8040 (17.6%)
Lib Dem: 6107 (13.4%)
BNP: 2159 (4.7%)
UKIP: 1890 (4.1%)
English Dem: 618 (1.4%)
MAJORITY: 18804 (41.2%)

Sitting MP: Charles Walker (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Safe as houses.

2. Hemel Hempstead

2010 Result:
Conservative: 24721 (50%)
Labour: 10295 (20.8%)
Lib Dem: 11315 (22.9%)
BNP: 1615 (3.3%)
UKIP: 1254 (2.5%)
Independent: 271 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 13406 (27.1%)

Sitting MP: Mike Penning (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

In 2010 this seat saw the biggest swing from Labour to the Tories in the country – more than 14% – pushing Conservative support above 50% and Labour into third place. Astonishing bearing in mind that between 1997 and 2005 this was a Labour seat. Mike Penning is as safe as safe can be.

3. Hertford & Stortford

2010 Result:
Conservative: 29810 (53.8%)
Labour: 7620 (13.8%)
Lib Dem: 14373 (26%)
BNP: 1297 (2.3%)
UKIP: 1716 (3.1%)
Independent: 325 (0.6%)
Others: 236 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 15437 (27.9%)

Sitting MP: Mark Prisk (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Another Hertfordshire seat that is as as safe as it could be.

4. Hertsmere

2010 Result:
Conservative: 26476 (56%)
Labour: 8871 (18.8%)
Lib Dem: 8210 (17.4%)
BNP: 1397 (3%)
Green: 604 (1.3%)
UKIP: 1712 (3.6%)
MAJORITY: 17605 (37.2%)

Sitting MP: James Clappison (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

A massive majority for James Clappison’s successor. This used to be the seat held by Cecil Parkinson, and the majorities haven’t changed much since his day.

5. Hitchin & Harpenden

2010 Result:
Conservative: 29869 (54.6%)
Labour: 7413 (13.6%)
Lib Dem: 14598 (26.7%)
Green: 807 (1.5%)
UKIP: 1663 (3%)
Independent: 109 (0.2%)
Others: 248 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 15271 (27.9%)

Sitting MP: Peter Lilley (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

Any reduction of the LibDem vote here is bound to give the Conservatives a bigger majority, assuming UKIP don’t take too much of the Tory vote.

6. North East Hertfordshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 26995 (53.5%)
Labour: 8291 (16.4%)
Lib Dem: 11801 (23.4%)
Green: 875 (1.7%)
UKIP: 2075 (4.1%)
Independent: 209 (0.4%)
Others: 179 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 15194 (30.1%)

Sitting MP: Oliver Heald (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

And possibly an increased majority here too,.

7. South West Hertfordshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 30773 (54.2%)
Labour: 6526 (11.5%)
Lib Dem: 15853 (27.9%)
BNP: 1302 (2.3%)
UKIP: 1450 (2.6%)
Independent: 846 (1.5%)
MAJORITY: 14920 (26.3%)

Sitting MP: David Gauke (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

And so the story repeats itself.

8. St Albans

2010 Result:
Conservative: 21533 (40.8%)
Labour: 9288 (17.6%)
Lib Dem: 19228 (36.4%)
Green: 758 (1.4%)
UKIP: 2028 (3.8%)
MAJORITY: 2305 (4.4%)

Sitting MP: Anne Main (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

The LibDems had high hopes of winning this seat in 2010 and the more optimistic of them still think they’re in with a chance this time. The LibDem candidate, Sandy Walkington, is not to be underestimated but they are surely bound to lose vote share, especially after some bad local election results.

9. Stevenage

2010 Result:
Conservative: 18491 (41.4%)
Labour: 14913 (33.4%)
Lib Dem: 7432 (16.6%)
BNP: 1007 (2.3%)
UKIP: 2004 (4.5%)
English Dem: 366 (0.8%)
Independent: 80 (0.2%)
Others: 358 (0.8%)
MAJORITY: 3578 (8%)

Sitting MP: Stephen McPartland (Con)
Prediction: Very narrow Labour gain

Another bellweather seat, held by the Conservatives from 1983 to 1997 and Labour from 1997 to 2010. Stephen McPartland will do well to hang on here if Ed Miliband comes within a sniff of Number 10. Could be one of the closest results of the night.

10. Watford

2010 Result:
Conservative: 19291 (34.9%)
Labour: 14750 (26.7%)
Lib Dem: 17866 (32.4%)
BNP: 1217 (2.2%)
Green: 885 (1.6%)
UKIP: 1199 (2.2%)
MAJORITY: 1425 (2.6%)

Sitting MP: Richard Harrington (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Labour gain
Final Prediction: Conservative hold

A genuine three way marginal, this rates as one of the LibDems’ top targets. They have a strong popular local candidate in the mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill, but in reality the contest is likely to be between Labour and the sitting Tory MP. Rather like Stevenage, if Ed Miliband is doing well, this is the kind of seat he will expect to win. UPDATE: The latest Lord Ashcroft poll showed a declining Labour vote, with them in third place, four points behind the Libdems and six behind Richard Harrington. I don’t rule out a LibDem gain here, but I think the likeliest result now is a Tory hold.

11. Welwyn & Hatfield

2010 Result:
Conservative: 27894 (57%)
Labour: 10471 (21.4%)
Lib Dem: 8010 (16.4%)
Green: 796 (1.6%)
UKIP: 1643 (3.4%)
Independent: 158 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 17423 (35.6%)

Sitting MP: Grant Shapps (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Hard to believe that this was a Labour seat from 1997 to 2005 but Grant Shapps has built up a formidable campaigning machine which has reduced the Labour vote from 47% to 21%.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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General Election Predictions

Final General Election Predictions 5: Bedfordshire

27 Apr 2015 at 10:41

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

Seats: 6
Current Political Makeup: Con 4, Lab 2
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con 3, Lab 3
Final Prediction: Unchanged

BEDFORDSHIRE

1. Bedford

2010 Result:
Conservative: 17546 (38.9%)
Labour: 16193 (35.9%)
Lib Dem: 8957 (19.9%)
BNP: 757 (1.7%)
Green: 393 (0.9%)
UKIP: 1136 (2.5%)
Independent: 120 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 1353 (3%)

Sitting MP: Richard Fuller (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Labour gain

This seat was Labour during the Blair & Brown years and only narrowly went Tory last time. With a substantial LibDem vote to eat into, it’s difficult to see Labour failing to win this seat. If they do fail, it spells big trouble for Ed Miliband.

2. Luton North

2010 Result:
Conservative: 13672 (31.8%)
Labour: 21192 (49.3%)
Lib Dem: 4784 (11.1%)
BNP: 1316 (3.1%)
Green: 490 (1.1%)
UKIP: 1564 (3.6%)
MAJORITY: 7520 (17.5%)

Sitting MP: Kelvin Hopkins (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold

This used to be a safe Tory seat until boundary changes made it a safe Labour seat. Kelvin Hopkins’ majority should increase as he takes a few thousand votes from the LibDems.

3. Luton South

2010 Result:
Conservative: 12396 (29.4%)
Labour: 14725 (34.9%)
Lib Dem: 9567 (22.7%)
BNP: 1299 (3.1%)
Green: 366 (0.9%)
UKIP: 975 (2.3%)
Independent: 1872 (4.4%)
Others: 1016 (2.4%)
MAJORITY: 2329 (5.5%)

Sitting MP: Gavin Shuker (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold

Esther Rantzen stood here last time and there are around 4,000 votes from her and other independents going begging. The Tories might think they are in with a chance of taking this, but the demographics of the seat count against them. Shuker has bedded himself in and it’s not likely he’ll be shifted.

4. Mid Bedfordshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28815 (52.5%)
Labour: 8108 (14.8%)
Lib Dem: 13663 (24.9%)
Green: 773 (1.4%)
UKIP: 2826 (5.1%)
English Dem: 712 (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 15152 (27.6%)

Sitting MP: Nadine Dorries (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

A split opposition vote should mean a bigger majority for Nadine.

5. North East Bedfordshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 30989 (55.8%)
Labour: 8957 (16.1%)
Lib Dem: 12047 (21.7%)
BNP: 1265 (2.3%)
UKIP: 2294 (4.1%)
MAJORITY: 18942 (34.1%)

Sitting MP: Alistair Burt (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

Ditto Nadine.

6. South West Bedfordshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 26815 (52.8%)
Labour: 9948 (19.6%)
Lib Dem: 10166 (20%)
BNP: 1703 (3.4%)
UKIP: 2142 (4.2%)
MAJORITY: 16649 (32.8%)

Sitting MP: Andrew Selous (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Safe seat. End of.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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General Election Predictions

Final General Election Predictions 4: Cambridgeshire

27 Apr 2015 at 10:25

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Seats: 7
Current Political Makeup: Con 6, LibDem 1
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con 6, LibDem 1
Final Prediction: Unchanged

1. Cambridge

2010 Result:
Conservative: 12829 (25.6%)
Labour: 12174 (24.3%)
Lib Dem: 19621 (39.1%)
Green: 3804 (7.6%)
UKIP: 1195 (2.4%)
Independent: 145 (0.3%)
Others: 362 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 6792 (13.5%)

Sitting MP: Julian Huppert (LibDem)
Prediction: Narrow LibDem hold

A genuine three way marginal, this seat has been held by all three parties in recent memory. It went LibDem in 2005. If you look at the size of the LibDem majority here, Julian Huppert ought to be considered very safe, but this is a seat which swings with the wind, and if the wind is blowing towards Labour you can see it returning to them. It obviously has a high student vote and this may determine the outcome. However Huppert has been a strong performer both locally in Parliament and if anyone can hold this seat for the LibDems, he can. But bearing in mind the LibDems’ calamitous results in May I’ve now changed my mind and think Labour will win here. UPDATE: 16/1/14 And I’ve now changed it back due to more information received about the Labour campaign and candidate, as well as the efforts the LibDems are making here. I now think the odds may be marginally in favour of Julian Huppert. UPDATE: The latest Lord Ashcroft poll confirms a LibDem nine point lead over Labour.

2. Huntingdon

2010 Result:
Conservative: 26516 (48.9%)
Labour: 5982 (11%)
Lib Dem: 15697 (28.9%)
Green: 652 (1.2%)
UKIP: 3258 (6%)
Independent: 1432 (2.6%)
Others: 729 (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 10819 (19.9%)

Sitting MP: Jonathan Djanogly
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

No words necessary.

3. North East Cambridgeshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 26862 (51.6%)
Labour: 9274 (17.8%)
Lib Dem: 10437 (20%)
BNP: 1747 (3.4%)
UKIP: 2791 (5.4%)
English Dem: 387 (0.7%)
Independent: 566 (1.1%)
MAJORITY: 16425 (31.5%)

Sitting MP: Stephen Barclay (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

One of the safest of safe Conservative seats.

4. North West Cambridgeshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 29425 (50.5%)
Labour: 9877 (16.9%)
Lib Dem: 12748 (21.9%)
UKIP: 4826 (8.3%)
English Dem: 1407 (2.4%)
MAJORITY: 16677 (28.6%)

Sitting MP: Shailesh Vara (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Even safer than the previous one.

5. Peterborough

2010 Result:
Conservative: 18133 (40.4%)
Labour: 13272 (29.5%)
Lib Dem: 8816 (19.6%)
Green: 523 (1.2%)
UKIP: 3007 (6.7%)
English Dem: 770 (1.7%)
Independent: 406 (0.9%)
MAJORITY: 4861 (10.8%)

Sitting MP: Stewart Jackson (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Conservative hold

This is Labour’s second biggest hope in Cambridgeshire and it is a seat which was held by Labour between 1997 and 2005 in the person of the notorious Helen Brinton. Jackson has had two terms to establish himself. Having said that the pro Tory swing in 2010 was way below the national average, and this has become quite an ethnically diverse seat. As in many other seats, this may come down to where the LibDem vote shakes down and how much UKIP eat into the two main party votes.

6. South Cambridgeshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 27995 (47.4%)
Labour: 6024 (10.2%)
Lib Dem: 20157 (34.1%)
Green: 1039 (1.8%)
UKIP: 1873 (3.2%)
Independent: 1968 (3.3%)
MAJORITY: 7838 (13.3%)

Sitting MP: Andrew Lansley (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

Andrew Lansley may be standing down but the Tory majority here is likely to increase due to the massive LibDem vote shrinking, presumably to Labour.

7. South East Cambridgeshire

2010 Result:
Conservative: 27629 (48%)
Labour: 4380 (7.6%)
Lib Dem: 21683 (37.6%)
Green: 766 (1.3%)
UKIP: 2138 (3.7%)
Independent: 517 (0.9%)
Others: 489 (0.8%)
MAJORITY: 5946 (10.3%)

Sitting MP: James Paice (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

James Paice is standing down but as in the previous seat, the Tory majority is likely to increase here due to the split opposition vote.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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Final General Election Predictions 3: Suffolk

27 Apr 2015 at 10:12

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

SUFFOLK

Number of Seats: 7
Current Political Makeup: Conservative, 7
Prediction for 2015: Conservative 5, Labour 2
Final Prediction: Unchanged

1. Bury St Edmunds
2010 Result:
Conservative: 27899 (47.5%)
Labour: 9776 (16.6%)
Lib Dem: 15519 (26.4%)
Green: 2521 (4.3%)
UKIP: 3003 (5.1%)
MAJORITY: 12380 (21.1%)

Sitting MP: David Ruffley (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

The only time this seat has ever looked like drifting away from the Tories was in 1997 when David Ruffley only narrowly held on by 368 votes. Since then he has built up a more or less impregnable majority. He’s standing down but this is one to bet your mortgage on.

2. Central Suffolk & North Ipswich
2010 Result:
Conservative: 27125 (50.8%)
Labour: 8636 (16.2%)
Lib Dem: 13339 (25%)
Green: 1452 (2.7%)
UKIP: 2361 (4.4%)
Independent: 389 (0.7%)
Others: 118 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 13786 (25.8%)

Sitting MP: Dr Dan Poulter (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Again, nothing less than a political earthquake would shift Dan Poulter here, partly due to a split opposition.

3. Ipswich

2010 Result:
Conservative: 18371 (39.1%)
Labour: 16292 (34.7%)
Lib Dem: 8556 (18.2%)
BNP: 1270 (2.7%)
Green: 775 (1.7%)
UKIP: 1365 (2.9%)
Christian: 149 (0.3%)
Independent: 93 (0.2%)
Others: 70 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 2079 (4.4%)

Sitting MP: Ben Gummer (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Labour gain

Another of those bellweather seats that tends to swing with the political wind. The fact that UKIP haven’t been very popular here in the past begs the question as to whether they can eat into the Labour vote to allow Ben Gummer to squeak through. The fact that the LibDems have also scored strongly in the past tends to suggest that a slab of their 18% at the last election will go to Labour as well. Gummer has provied to be a popular, independent minded MP, but has only had one term to build up a personal vote. Will that be enough? I suspect not.

4. South Suffolk

2010 Result:
Conservative: 24550 (47.7%)
Labour: 7368 (14.3%)
Lib Dem: 15861 (30.8%)
UKIP: 3637 (7.1%)
MAJORITY: 8689 (16.9%)

Sitting MP: Tim Yeo (CON)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

If Tim Yeo wasn’t standing down I’d have reduced this to the status of probable Conservative hold, but with the LibDem vote splitting to Labour it’s difficult to see this as anything other than a bet your mortgage Tory hold.

5. Suffolk Coastal

2010 Result:
Conservative: 25475 (46.4%)
Labour: 8812 (16.1%)
Lib Dem: 16347 (29.8%)
Green: 1103 (2%)
UKIP: 3156 (5.7%)
MAJORITY: 9128 (16.6%)

Sitting MP: Therese Coffey (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

A much safer seat than the figures show, mainly because of the high LibDem vote. Put your money on an increased majority for Therese Coffey.

6. Waveney

2010 Result:
Conservative: 20571 (40.2%)
Labour: 19802 (38.7%)
Lib Dem: 6811 (13.3%)
Green: 1167 (2.3%)
UKIP: 2684 (5.2%)
Independent: 106 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 769 (1.5%)

Sitting MP: Peter Aldous (Con)
Prediction: Probable Labour gain

Peter Aldous has a wafer thin majority. Formerly Jim Prior’s seat it went Labour in 1997 and if UKIP take more votes off the Tories than Labour, it’s likely to return to Labour, given that they will be the beneficiary of any reduction in the LibDem vote. Aldous will still feel there is all to play for and a Conservative hold can’t be ruled out, but the odds are stacked against them.

7. West Suffolk

2010 Result:
Conservative: 24312 (50.6%)
Labour: 7089 (14.7%)
Lib Dem: 11262 (23.4%)
BNP: 1428 (3%)
UKIP: 3085 (6.4%)
Independent: 540 (1.1%)
Others: 373 (0.8%)
MAJORITY: 13050 (27.1%)

Sitting MP: Matthew Hancock (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Seeing as this has been a Conservative held seat since the 19th century, it’s another Conservative hold to be your mortgage on.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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Final General Election Predictions 2: Norfolk

27 Apr 2015 at 09:55

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

Note that the constituencies where the full text is in BOLD is one where my prediction has changed. In this case the only change is Norwich North

NORFOLK

Seats: 9
Current State of the Parties: Con 7, LibDem 2
Predicted State of the Parties: Con 6, LibDem 1, Labour 2
Final Prediction: Con 7, LibDem 1, Labour 1

Broadland

2010 Result:
Conservative: 24338 (46.2%)
Labour: 7287 (13.8%)
Lib Dem: 17046 (32.4%)
BNP: 871 (1.7%)
Green: 752 (1.4%)
UKIP: 2382 (4.5%)
MAJORITY: 7292 (13.8%)

Sitting MP: Keith Simpson (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative Hold

It would take an earthquake to shift Keith Simpson. The LibDems used to have pretensions here but the so-called ‘North Norfolk effect’ has so far not trickled south of Aylsham.

Great Yarmouth

2010 Result:
Conservative: 18571 (43.1%)
Labour: 14295 (33.2%)
Lib Dem: 6188 (14.4%)
BNP: 1421 (3.3%)
Green: 416 (1%)
UKIP: 2066 (4.8%)
Others: 100 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 4276 (9.9%)

Sitting MP: Brandon Lewis (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Conservative hold

A genuine three way marginal, this seat ought to swing back to Labour if Ed Miliband is to win a majority. However, much of Labour’s vote has defected to UKIP and this seat is one of their top targets. In local government UKIP has won a swathe of seats on both the borough and county councils. As elsewhere, UKIP has had candidate troubles here and that may count against them. Brandon Lewis, who won the seat with a bigger than expected majority in 2010 and has been quite a high profile junior minister will do well to hang on here, but he may well just do it. UPDATE: The latest Ashcroft poll shows UKIP doing incredibly well, but two points behind Brandon Lewis, with Labour a further three points behind. In many ways this is too close to call, but I think the most likely result is a very narrow Conservative win.

Mid Norfolk

2010 Result:
Conservative: 25123 (49.5%)
Labour: 8857 (17.4%)
Lib Dem: 11267 (22.2%)
BNP: 1261 (2.5%)
Green: 1457 (2.9%)
UKIP: 2800 (5.5%)
MAJORITY: 13856 (27.3%)

Sitting MP: George Freeman (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

North Norfolk

2010 Result:
Conservative: 15928 (32.1%)
Labour: 2896 (5.8%)
Lib Dem: 27554 (55.5%)
Green: 508 (1%)
UKIP: 2680 (5.4%)
Independent: 95 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 11626 (23.4%)

Sitting MP: Norman Lamb (LibDem)
Prediction: LibDem hold

This was the scene of my electoral defenstration in 2005. Despite adverse boundary changes, which took Fakenham out of the seat, Lamb’s majority increased in 2010 to more than 11,000.. It will probably be cut this time, although UKIP is making a lot of inroads into the Tory vote. Labour has a very active candidate in Denise Burke and it is expected that she will start to build up the almost extinct Labour vote here, almost entirely at the expense of the LibDems.

Norwich North

2010 Result:
Conservative: 17280 (40.6%)
Labour: 13379 (31.4%)
Lib Dem: 7783 (18.3%)
BNP: 747 (1.8%)
Green: 1245 (2.9%)
UKIP: 1878 (4.4%)
Christian: 118 (0.3%)
Independent: 143 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 3901 (9.2%)

Sitting MP: Chloe Smith
Prediction: Labour gain
Final Prediction: Conservative hold
This is the seat where I cut my political teeth back in the mid 1980s. It hasn’t changed a lot since then, although there are quite a few new build housing estates. This is another seat which goes with the prevailing political wind. If Cameron wins a majority Chloe Smith will hold her seat. If he doesn’t she will face a very tough fight against the impressive Labour candidate Jessica Asato. UPDATE: The latest Lord Ashcroft poll puts Chloe Smith only one point behind Jessica Asato. I have kept in touch with people in this seat and all the anecdotal evidence suggests Chloe is set to pull off an upset here.

Norwich South

2010 Result:
Conservative: 10902 (22.9%)
Labour: 13650 (28.7%)
Lib Dem: 13960 (29.4%)
BNP: 697 (1.5%)
Green: 7095 (14.9%)
UKIP: 1145 (2.4%)
Others: 102 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 310 (0.7%)

Sitting MP: Simon Wright
Prediction: Labour gain

If there was one definite Labour gain at the election, this would be it. Much to his own surprise Wright won this from Charles Clarke 2010 and since then seems to have remained in a total state of bemusement. Having been Norman Lamb’s campaign manager, Wright knows all there is to know about the LibDem campaign manual for holding a seat once you’ve won it, but he seemed to give up on this seat almost from day 1. The Greens have pretensions here, but usually flatter to deceive in general elections. It’s conceivable that they could gain five percent from both the LibDems and Labour, but in reality it’s difficult to see anything other than a Labour gain. UPDATE: The Ashcroft poll puts Labour on 33, the Greens on 20 and the LibDems on only 12%, behind the Tories on 18.

North West Norfolk

2010 Result:
Conservative: 25916 (54.2%)
Labour: 6353 (13.3%)
Lib Dem: 11106 (23.2%)
BNP: 1839 (3.8%)
Green: 745 (1.6%)
UKIP: 1841 (3.9%)
MAJORITY: 14810 (31%)

Sitting MP: Henry Bellingham (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

This seat went Labour for a time under Tony Blair, but it returned to the Conservative fold in 2001 and Henry Bellingham has built a solid majority. This might well increase in May as UKIP slices into the Labour vote, although they might do the same to Bellingham.

South Norfolk

2010 Result:
Conservative: 27133 (49.3%)
Labour: 7252 (13.2%)
Lib Dem: 16193 (29.4%)
BNP: 1086 (2%)
Green: 1000 (1.8%)
UKIP: 2329 (4.2%)
MAJORITY: 10940 (19.9%)

Sitting MP: Richard Bacon (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold*

The LibDems have done their best here in the past and have controlled one or two local councils, but they have never seriously threatened the Conservative majority, and certainly won’t do this time.

South West Norfolk

2010 Result:
Conservative: 23753 (48.3%)
Labour: 9119 (18.6%)
Lib Dem: 10613 (21.6%)
BNP: 1774 (3.6%)
Green: 830 (1.7%)
UKIP: 3061 (6.2%)
MAJORITY: 13140 (26.7%)

Sitting MP: Liz Truss (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

Of all the so-called safe Conservative seats in Norfolk, this one that is most volatile. It has seen a huge demographic change in the last 20 years. It almost went Labour in 1997 but Gillian Shephard just held on. UKIP have got a foothold here, but no one quite knows where their vote might come from.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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Final General Election Predictions: 1. Essex

27 Apr 2015 at 09:33

Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.

Note that the constituencies where the full text is in BOLD is one where my prediction has changed.

Essex

Seats: 18
Current Political Makeup: Con 16, LibDem 1, UKIP 1
Prediction in January: Con 14, UKIP 2, Lab 1, LibDem 1
Final Prediction: Con 14, UKIP 3, Lab 0, LibDem 1

1. Basildon & Billericay

2010 Result:
Conservative: 21922 (52.7%)
Labour: 9584 (23.1%)
Lib Dem: 6538 (15.7%)
BNP: 1934 (4.7%)
UKIP: 1591 (3.8%)
MAJORITY: 12338 (29.7%)

Sitting MP: John Baron (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative Hold

Assuming John Baron doesn’t defect to UKIP, this seems a safe Conservative hold. For Labour to win, the entire LibDem vote would need to go to Ed Miliband and UKIP would need to take a huge chunk of the Conservative vote.

2. Braintree

2010 Result:
Conservative: 25901 (52.6%)
Labour: 9780 (19.9%)
Lib Dem: 9247 (18.8%)
BNP: 1080 (2.2%)
Green: 718 (1.5%)
UKIP: 2477 (5%)
MAJORITY: 16121 (32.8%)

Sitting MP: Brooks Newmark (Con, standing down)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Despite Brooks Newmark’s fall from grace, it’s difficult to see this north Essex seat as anything other than a Tory hold. However, the LibDem vote is likely to at least halve, with Labour and UKIP being the main beneficiaries. Expect a healthy, but reduced Tory majority.

3. Brentwood & Ongar

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28793 (56.9%)
Labour: 4992 (9.9%)
Lib Dem: 11872 (23.5%)
BNP: 1447 (2.9%)
Green: 584 (1.2%)
UKIP: 2037 (4%)
English Dem: 491 (1%)
Independent: 263 (0.5%)
Others: 113 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 16921 (33.4%)

Sitting MP: Eric Pickles (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Eric Pickles has built a huge majority here and he may well increase it as the LibDem vote shrivels. No more comment necessary.

4. Castle Point

2010 Result:
Conservative: 19806 (44%)
Labour: 6609 (14.7%)
Lib Dem: 4232 (9.4%)
BNP: 2205 (4.9%)
Others: 12174 (27%)
MAJORITY: 7632 (17%)

Sitting MP: Rebecca Harris (Con)
Prediction: Conservative gain
Final Prediction: UKIP gain

One of the more interesting Essex seats due to its previous MP, Bob Spink. He succeeded Sir Bernard Braine in 1992 but then lost it in the 1997 Labour landslide, before regaining in four years later. He then briefly defected to UKIP before cutting ties with them. He is not standing this time, but the UKIP candidate, Jamie Huntsman, is the UKIP leader on Essex County Council. Canvey Island has the highest proportion of people in England who identified as “English” in the 2011 census. This is part of the reason why many think that behind Clacton and Thurrock, this is UKIP’s third best target seat in Essex. An upset could be on the cards here, but the most likely result is a Tory hold. UPDATE: UKIP are putting a huge amount of effort into this seat and the demographics are in their favour. The Ashcroft poll in February showed a significant swing to UKIP, putting them only one point behind Rebecca Harris. I’ve now moved to thinking a UKIP victory is slightly more likely than not.

5. Chelmsford
2010 Result:
Conservative: 25207 (46.2%)
Labour: 5980 (11%)
Lib Dem: 20097 (36.8%)
BNP: 899 (1.6%)
Green: 476 (0.9%)
UKIP: 1527 (2.8%)
English Dem: 254 (0.5%)
Others: 153 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 5110 (9.4%)

Sitting MP: Simon Burns (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative Hold

Chelmsford has been a LibDem target all through my adult life. Yet they’ve never quite managed to unseat either Norman St John Stevas or Simon Burns. Just when they looked as if they might, they were thwarted by boundary changes. Simon Burns will only be in danger if UKIP take a huge chunk of his vote away and the LibDem vote holds up.

6. Clacton

2010 Result:
Conservative: 22867 (53%)
Labour: 10799 (25%)
Lib Dem: 5577 (12.9%)
BNP: 1975 (4.6%)
Green: 535 (1.2%)
Independent: 292 (0.7%)
Others: 1078 (2.5%)
MAJORITY: 12068 (28%)

By-Election Result (Oct 2014)
UKIP: 21113 (59.7%)
Conservative: 8709 (24.6%)
Labour: 3957 (11.2%)
Green: 688 (1.9%
Lib Dem: 483 (1.2%)
Others: 388 (1.2%)
BNP: 1975 (4.6%)
Green: 535 (1.2%)
Independent: 292 (0.7%)
Others: 1078 (2.5%)
MAJORITY: 12068 (28%)

Sitting MP: Douglas Carswell (UKIP)
Prediction: UKIP hold

Douglas Carswell’s win at the by-election on 8 October was by a far larger margin than even he can have imagined. It’s likely that some of his supporters will return to the Tory fold at the general election, but a hell of a lot of them would have to do that for him to be in danger of being a very short-lived UKIP MP. He genuinely seems to have built up a very loyal personal following.

7. Colchester

2010 Result:
Conservative: 15169 (32.9%)
Labour: 5680 (12.3%)
Lib Dem: 22151 (48%)
BNP: 705 (1.5%)
Green: 694 (1.5%)
UKIP: 1350 (2.9%)
English Dem: 335 (0.7%)
Others: 55 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 6982 (15.1%)

Sitting MP: Sir Bob Russell (LibDem)
Prediction: Narrow LibDem hold

Sir Bob Russell is a popular local man who has seen off many a Tory challenge since he was first elected in 1997. His opponent is Will Quince, who fought the seat in 2010. Local election results since 2010 do not bode particularly well for the Tories, yet this is one of those seats where anything could happen depending on how much the LibDem vote declines and how well UKIP do. But Sir Bob is a doughty campaigner for Colchester and has had 15 years to build up a strong personal vote.

8. Epping Forest

2010 Result:
Conservative: 25148 (54%)
Labour: 6641 (14.3%)
Lib Dem: 10017 (21.5%)
BNP: 1982 (4.3%)
Green: 659 (1.4%)
UKIP: 1852 (4%)
English Dem: 285 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 15131 (32.5%)

Sitting MP: Eleanor Laing (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

No comment necessary. Anything other than a big majority for Eleanor Laing would be considered a political earthquake.

9. Harlow

2010 Result:
Conservative: 19691 (44.9%)
Labour: 14766 (33.7%)
Lib Dem: 5990 (13.7%)
BNP: 1739 (4%)
UKIP: 1591 (3.6%)
Christian: 101 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 4925 (11.2%)

Sitting MP: Robert Halfon (Con)
Prediction: Very narrow Labour gain
Final Prediction: Conservative hold

Robert Halfon’s majority in 2010 was far higher than he had ever dreamed, but this is a seat that goes with the prevailing political wind. Halfon has proved himself to be an adept political campaigner but can he really hold off the Labour challenge? He must be hoping that UKIP will chip away at the Labour vote, as well as recognising that he will also lose some white working class votes to Farage’s party too. There are 6,000 LibDem votes up for grabs here too, which will also make the Tories nervous about their chances of retaining this seat. They are right to be. UPDATE: UPDATE: Of all my predictions in January this one drew the most criticism. Even Labour supporters reckoned I had called it wrong. I’ve also talked to several people who live there and every single one of them reckons Rob Halfon will hold on. So I’m changing my mind on this one.

10. Harwich & North Essex

2010 Result:
Conservative: 23001 (46.9%)
Labour: 9774 (19.9%)
Lib Dem: 11554 (23.6%)
BNP: 1065 (2.2%)
Green: 909 (1.9%)
UKIP: 2527 (5.2%)
Independent: 170 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 11447 (23.4%)

Sitting MP: Bernard Jenkin (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

Even if the LibDem fractures here, it’s hard to see Bernard Jenkin being under serious threat.

11. Maldon

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28661 (59.8%)
Labour: 6070 (12.7%)
Lib Dem: 9254 (19.3%)
BNP: 1464 (3.1%)
UKIP: 2446 (5.1%)
MAJORITY: 19407 (40.5%)

Sitting MP: John Whittingdale (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

Unthinkable that this seat could return anything other than a Conservative.

12. Rayleigh & Wickford

2010 Result:
Conservative: 30257 (57.8%)
Labour: 7577 (14.5%)
Lib Dem: 7919 (15.1%)
BNP: 2160 (4.1%)
UKIP: 2211 (4.2%)
English Dem: 2219 (4.2%)
MAJORITY: 22338 (42.7%)

Sitting MP: Mark Francois (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

UKIP may make some inroads to the Tory vote here, but not enough to worry Mark Francois.

13. Rochford & Southend East

2010 Result:
Conservative: 19509 (46.9%)
Labour: 8459 (20.3%)
Lib Dem: 8084 (19.4%)
BNP: 1856 (4.5%)
Green: 707 (1.7%)
UKIP: 2405 (5.8%)
Independent: 611 (1.5%)
MAJORITY: 11050 (26.5%)

Sitting MP: James Duddridge (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

A split opposition here has enabled James Duddridge to maintain a very health majority. The only way it could be threatened is for the LibDem vote to collapse almost entirely to Labour and for UKIP to take 7-10,000 Tory votes. Highly unlikely.

14. Saffron Walden

2010 Result:
Conservative: 30155 (55.5%)
Labour: 5288 (9.7%)
Lib Dem: 14913 (27.4%)
BNP: 1050 (1.9%)
Green: 735 (1.4%)
UKIP: 2228 (4.1%)
MAJORITY: 15242 (28%)

Sitting MP: Sir Alan Haselhurst (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

This seat used to have a reasonable agricultural Labour vote, but that has virtually disappeared now. The LibDems, like in Chelmsford, have flattered to deceive here for years. Any decline in their vote will see Sir Alan Haselhurst increase his majority as UKIP are unlikely to do well here.

15. South Basildon & East Thurrock

2010 Result:
Conservative: 19624 (43.9%)
Labour: 13852 (31%)
Lib Dem: 5977 (13.4%)
BNP: 2518 (5.6%)
UKIP: 2639 (5.9%)
Others: 125 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 5772 (12.9%)

Sitting MP: Stephen Metcalfe (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Conservative hold

A difficult seat to call. Always regarded as a bellweather seat, if Ed Miliband is to win a majority he needs to win seats like this, and with a good majority. UKIP believes this is theirs to win but they have selected a completely inappropriate candidate (Kerry Smith). Their only hope is to take a large chunk of Tory votes, but this will depend on whether the Tory message of ‘Vote UKIP, Get Miliband’ resonates. The Labour candidate, the oddly named Mike Le-Surf, is local to the seat and is a Brentwood councillor. However, Stephen Metcalfe has done the legwork locally and much may depend on how big a personal vote he has managed to build up. Interestingly the Labour vote was 12,000 down on 1997, although it was under rather different boundaries. Much may depend on turnout. A high turnout may well bode well for Labour.

16. Southend West

2010 Result:
Conservative: 20086 (46.1%)
Labour: 5850 (13.4%)
Lib Dem: 12816 (29.4%)
BNP: 1333 (3.1%)
Green: 644 (1.5%)
UKIP: 1714 (3.9%)
English Dem: 546 (1.3%)
Independent: 617 (1.4%)
MAJORITY: 7270 (16.7%)

Sitting MP: David Amess (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

A safe Conservative seat which could have an increased majority if the LibDem vote collapses to Labour.

17. Thurrock

2010 Result:
Conservative: 16869 (36.8%)
Labour: 16777 (36.6%)
Lib Dem: 4901 (10.7%)
BNP: 3618 (7.9%)
UKIP: 3390 (7.4%)
Christian: 266 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 92 (0.2%)

Sitting MP: Jackie Doyle-Price (Con)
Prediction: Narrow UKIP gain

When former Ed Miliband aide Polly Billington was selected as Labour candidate for Thurrock she must have been as confident as she could be that she would be the next MP for Thurrock. Local UKIP candidate (and now MEP) Tim Aker has put a giant spanner in the works. If you look at all the local election results for this constituency you’d be very brave not to bet on him pulling off a major upset. This is the seat Nigel Farage should have fought, and he may well live to regret it. Doyle-Price has been a good local MP, but that may count for little. However, this is one of the few genuine three way marginals, and it may well be that each of the three parties ends up within a couple of percentage points of each other. But on balance, I’m calling this for UKIP.

18. Witham

2010 Result:
Conservative: 24448 (52.2%)
Labour: 8656 (18.5%)
Lib Dem: 9252 (19.8%)
Green: 1419 (3%)
UKIP: 3060 (6.5%)
MAJORITY: 15196 (32.4%)

Sitting MP: Priti Patel (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

A split opposition means Priti Patel is safe, even if much of the LibDem vote goes to Labour. Patel parades her eurosceptism at every opportunity so it’s difficult to imagine UKIP making a massive impact in Witham, even though demographically they probably ought to.

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE

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