Tuesday, 27 April 2010

BBC: Boundary Changes Put Labour Ahead in Lancaster & Fleetwood

A BBC analysis of the 2005 General Election vote of the electorate in the new constituency of Lancaster and Fleetwood reveals a potential win for Labour's prospective candidate Clive Grunshaw.

In 2005, the old constituency of Lancaster and Wyre was won by Conservative Ben Wallace who took 42.8% of the vote with Labour coming second with 34.8%.

Since the last election, 478 of 533 seats in England, 22 of the 40 in Wales and all 18 constituencies in Northern Ireland have new boundaries.

In order to make fair comparisons with 2005, there are "notional" results, worked out by polling experts, which estimate the votes for each party in each new seat as if it had existed in 2005.

According to the BBC, these results show the Conservative and Labour positions reversed with Labour taking the seat with 42.4% of the vote and the Conservatives getting just 33.6% of the vote. All the other parties together totalled just 24% of the vote.

MP for the old constituency of Lancaster and Wyre Ben Wallace is now standing for election in the new and safer constituency of Wyre & Preston North - which, notionally, was a safe win for the Tories in 2005 with 54.7% of the vote.

clive_grunshaw_labour.jpg"The boundary changes have provided the new constituency with a great challenge, geographically, as it is such a diverse area," Lancaster and Fleetwood's Labour candidate Clive Grunshaw told virtual-lancaster. "However, politically, it is very interesting, as it is now a key marginal between Labour and the Conservatives, with a notional Labour majority. Removing predominantly Tory areas, such as Poulton and Garstang, and replacing them with the traditionally Labour town of Fleetwood, should mean that Labour hold this constituency.

However nothing can be taken for granted and the rise in support for the Green Party and for the Liberal Democrats may take enough votes away from Labour to ensure a Conservative victory. This may be particularly damaging to Lancaster as the local economy is so dependent on support from public sector jobs, that would be directly under threat by any incoming Tory administration."

An ElephantCommenting for UKIP, candidate Fred McGlade said: "As is typical of the BBC analysis they have discounted the elephant in the room... The UK Independence Party."

gina_dowding_greenparty.jpgGina Dowding, Green Party candidate, said, 'We're lucky in Lancaster and Fleetwood because it is not a race simply between the old male, pale and stale Westminster parties who have become mired in expenses scandals, war and a £700bn banking bailout for tax exiles. We have a chance to make history and elect Britain's first Green MP here who is not willing to mortgage the future for financial profit but be an independent voice for justice for all people now, for future generations and for the Earth."

stuart_langhorn.jpg"The Clegg factor has blown the whole election wide open," counters Stuart Langhorn for the Lib Dems. "We have been inundated with support and promises to vote for us.

"What is clear from the doorstep is a wide spread dissatisfaction with Labour and the Conservatives - particularly in Fleetwood," he claims. "People like what we are saying on fairer tax, a fair start for children in schools and reforming our unfair political system. With so many young people registering to vote there is a real opportunity for us here."

Eric Ollerenshaw, who hopes to hold Lancaster and win Fleetwood for the Conservatives observed, brightly,
"This new seat of Lancaster and Fleetwood will be an interesting one. The Constituency itself is almost a microcosm of the whole Country - from a University City to a neglected Port and Seaside Town or from up-land hill farmers down to rural and coastal villages - everything is here including every conceivable political choice. Obviously, I believe that only David Cameron and the Conservatives can bring about the real change needed by our Country and our Area."

We have asked for comments and are still awaiting a reply from Independent Keith Riley.

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