October 2013

Swing seats
The key battlegrounds of the 2015 election
Lewis Baston

The writing of this report .................................................................................................. 5  About the Author .............................................................................................................. 6  Executive summary .......................................................................................................... 7  1  Why do we need to look at battlefield seats? ......................................................... 8 

Party strategies ............................................................................................................. 10  2  2.1  2.2  3  3.1  3.2  4  4.1  4.2  4.3  4.4  5  5.1  5.2  Labour – an offensive strategy............................................................................. 11  Labour and the unions ........................................................................................... 11  A focus on organisation .......................................................................................... 11  Liberal Democrats – ambitions that challenge expectations ............................... 12  Scepticism ............................................................................................................. 12  LibDems election “Dragons Den” ........................................................................... 12  Conservatives – maintaining and growing support ............................................... 13  40/40 strategy........................................................................................................ 13  Ambitions in the South West .................................................................................. 13  IT difficulties .......................................................................................................... 13  Limited resources .................................................................................................. 14  UKIP – breaking the mould? ................................................................................. 15  European Elections ................................................................................................ 15  Impact on other parties? ........................................................................................ 15 

Marginal seats by cluster .............................................................................................. 16  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  New Towns .......................................................................................................... 18  Coastal Towns ..................................................................................................... 20  London Suburbs .................................................................................................. 21  Northern Suburbs ................................................................................................ 22  Pennine ............................................................................................................... 23  Free Standing Towns ........................................................................................... 24  Midlands Semi Rural............................................................................................ 25  Black Country ...................................................................................................... 26  Southern Urban ................................................................................................... 27  Gentrifying Inner London ..................................................................................... 29  Big City England ................................................................................................... 30  Small Town And Rural .......................................................................................... 31 

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Marginal seats by region................................................................................................ 32  18  Analysis By Region ............................................................................................... 33 

18.1  About the tables..................................................................................................... 33  18.2  Key ......................................................................................................................... 33  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  South West Region............................................................................................... 35  South East Region ............................................................................................... 37  London Region ..................................................................................................... 38  Eastern England Region ....................................................................................... 39  West Midlands Region ......................................................................................... 40  East Midlands Region .......................................................................................... 41  North West Region ............................................................................................... 42  Yorkshire And The Humber Region ....................................................................... 43  North East Region ................................................................................................ 44  Scotland .............................................................................................................. 45  Wales ................................................................................................................... 48  Northern Ireland .................................................................................................. 50 

A constituency to watch… ............................................................................................. 51  31  Hampstead And Kilburn ...................................................................................... 52 

31.1  Result 2010 ............................................................................................................ 52  31.2  The candidates ...................................................................................................... 53  Candidates to watch – the stars of the next Parliament? .............................................. 55  32  Labour ................................................................................................................. 57 

32.1  Polly Billington ....................................................................................................... 57  32.2  Mari Williams ......................................................................................................... 57  32.3  Rowenna Davis ...................................................................................................... 58  32.4  Anna Turley ............................................................................................................ 58  32.5  Others .................................................................................................................... 58  33  Conservative ........................................................................................................ 59 

33.1  Kevin Foster ........................................................................................................... 59  33.2  Rachel Maclean ..................................................................................................... 59  34  Lib Dem ............................................................................................................... 60 

34.1  Lisa Smart ............................................................................................................. 60  35  Conclusion ........................................................................................................... 61 

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36 

APPENDIX A: Selected candidates in target seats................................................ 62 

36.1  Labour candidates in target seats.......................................................................... 62  36.2  Lib Dem target seats .............................................................................................. 66  36.3  Conservative target seats ...................................................................................... 67  36.4  From Labour........................................................................................................... 68  37  APPENDIX B: Confirmed Retiring MPs and replacement candidates .................... 69 

37.1  Conservative .......................................................................................................... 69  37.2  Labour ................................................................................................................... 69  37.3  Lib Dem .................................................................................................................. 70  38  APPENDIX C: Notes on method ............................................................................ 71 

38.1  Local election results 2013 .................................................................................... 71  38.2  The adjustment method for marginal seats ............................................................ 71 

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The writing of this report

For once the pollsters, the pundits and bookies agree. The election is too close to call. Modern British psephology has become a four-dimensional Rubik’s cube where the performance of the major parties is no longer the decisive factor. The volatility of voters. UKIP’s unpredictable impact on Conservative seats. The Liberal Democrat’s dogged defence of their seats. First-term bounce amongst the enormous 2010 intake. The impact of the referendum, either way, on the SNP vote in Scotland. The impact of ethnic minorities and recent immigrants. Campaigning in an era of Coalitions, red-lines and tactical voting. And, of course, the declining turnout. These are some of the many factors that have complicated the art of predicting the election result. To get any meaningful insight, you cannot just rely on overarching opinion polls or analysis of demographic groups. You have to get into the geography and delve into the politics of the key seats that will decide the election. For this reason we commissioned Lewis Baston, one the UK’s leading elections experts, to provide this analysis. This report seeks to get to the key facts, focusing on clusters of seats by type, analysing strategies of the main political parties and the impact of incumbency and seat specific factors. Analysis of recent local election results, candidates to watch and an in depth focus on the battle on one key marginal complete the picture. It would be foolhardy to argue that any one particular seat can be a bellwether for the nation. No such seat exists. But by following developments in five seats – Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Dudley South, Kingswood, Norwich North and Stevenage – which sit in various key cluster types, it should give us an indication of the potential outcome in 2015. The next election remains up for grabs, but by analysing long term statistical trends, and identifying local factors on the ground, it is possible to make predictions about where the key electoral battlegrounds will be in 2015. So much will depend on individual candidates, and whether they use the best techniques to change opinion in their localities. By doing so, they will win seats that would not have been secured otherwise. At Westbourne we will be analysing developments and drawing conclusions in these key battlegrounds, keeping ourselves and our clients fully briefed and prepared for all eventualities. We look forward to sharing this experience with you along what promises to be a rollercoaster ride to May 2015.

James Bethell Director, Westbourne

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About the Author

Lewis Baston is a research associate at Democratic Audit (based at the LSE) and a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is author (with Simon Henig) of the Politico’s Guide to the General Election in 2001 and 2005, and (as sole author) the Guardian guide in 2010. In 2005 and 2010 he has covered election nights live for the Guardian. He is a frequent commentator for Progress and advises Channel 4 News on election results. In predictions for private clients he got the 2005 Labour majority exactly right, and was a frustrating four seats off the Conservative total in 2010.

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Executive summary

 Despite the fall in Liberal Democrat support, it seems likely that there will be another hung parliament after 2015, possibly with Labour the largest single party rather than the Conservatives.  By cluster, coastal towns, London suburbs, Northern suburbs and Pennine and Black Country seats are showing long term trends towards Labour. Midlands semi-rural seats, small town rural seats and gentrifying central London, have been leaning the opposite way. “Big City England” seats have been influenced by Lib Dem support, but “free standing towns” and “southern urban seats” have been shown to swing more heavily with the electoral tide. New towns have shifted more to the Conservatives in recent elections than other clusters.  As a continuation of last election’s marginal seats strategy, Conservatives are ahead of the other two Parties in selecting candidates in winnable seats, but the others are catching up.  Incumbency will be reinforced by (a) the natural new-incumbent bounce and (b) the local attitudes and local selection of many of the 2010 vintage means that many Conservatives and Lib Dems might well perform better than national opinion polls suggest.  However, recent concerns about falling Conservative Party membership, combined with Labour faith in its superior ‘ground war’ organisational ability in the marginal seats, suggest that there are factors that may counteract the incumbency effect.  Conservatives are struggling with their IT system, whereas Labour and Lib Dem strategists spoke proudly of their computer programs.

 Party morale fluctuates. In April, the Conservatives were struggling and
Labour were confident, but by August the Conservatives’ morale was markedly higher and the party had a sense of recovering its momentum (although voting intention polls do not provide solid support for this feeling).

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1 Why do we need to look at battlefield seats?

It is difficult to make comparisons with the run-up to 2010 because of increased disillusion with politics amongst the voting public, the voluntary wing of all parties is in either cyclical or terminal decline, the disruptive presence of the Coalition and UKIP and economic pressure on donor groups like trade unions and financiers. The Liberal Democrats are pessimistic about their chances, although their hold in the Eastleigh byelection steadied some nerves. There is a disjuncture between the Conservatives’ confidence, centrally, that the tide may have turned in their favour, and the poor state of most local Conservative associations. The Conservatives were ahead of the other parties in selecting candidates in their target seats, with most of them in place by April 2013. Labour has caught up, to a considerable extent, during spring and summer 2013 with a string of candidate selections in target seats and narrowly-held marginals. Lib Dems have selected candidates in hardly any of their target seats, suggesting a defensive approach. Labour are investing heavily in local organisers in constituencies, as opposed to strategy in previous elections, whereas the Conservatives have a more devolved approach, leaving it to local constituency parties to make their own arrangements and to fund them themselves. All parties rely on computer systems to identify their target voters, though it is believed the Conservatives are facing major difficulties with their Merlin system. Our research suggests that rhetoric about “micro-targeting” techniques of voters, that were so successful for Obama in the USA, and which might include different types of property ownership, are overblown, with all parties relying on more traditional techniques. The local elections in May 2013 produced another element to the political mix, in the shape of a significant vote for UKIP. UKIP has previously not made much impact, except in European Parliament elections, but polled very well (national share of the vote between 18 and 23 per cent) this year. They elected 147 councillors in the English county council elections, with particularly strong showings in eastern England (Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Essex and Kent being strong points). While the UKIP vote in the May 2012 elections probably came mostly at the expense of the Conservatives, the party demonstrated the ability to take opposition-minded voters from Labour as well in 2013, particularly in provincial and coastal white working class towns. While Labour’s performance in the 2012 local elections was good enough to win a general election with a big majority, the 2013 local election results were less good for the party. This contributed to the slide in morale for Labour over summer 2013. While UKIP has fallen back from the heights it reached in polls in April and May, it still seems to have a good hold on the support of about 10 per cent of the voters and to be capable of rising a bit higher. It will be difficult for the party to translate this into winning parliamentary seats because of the way the electoral system works, and because the party has not so far developed the targeted campaigning skills that enabled the Greens to win a seat in 2010. In conclusion, the prospects for 2015 seem unusually uncertain two years out from election day. Two years before most general elections (certainly in seven out of the last

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eight), it has been fairly easy to correctly predict who would be Prime Minister after the election at this stage. In autumn 2013, it is not. Historical precedent is little help, as it seems to suggest that neither the government nor Labour should do better than they did in 2010. Despite the fall in Liberal Democrat support, it seems not unlikely that there will be another hung parliament after 2015, possibly with Labour the largest single party rather than the Conservatives.

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Party strategies

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2 Labour – an offensive strategy

Labour’s outward message is focused on One Nation – reaching out to all parts of the country – and the target list reflects this. A question mark exists over how genuine this nationwide approach is, as a more cynical approach, focusing on Labour voters in the north and Midlands could win back enough seats to deliver a Labour majority. There is a heated debate in the Party over whether to focus on solidifying support for the Left – known as a “core vote” strategy – or winning over those who voted Conservative last time. At present, it appears the former are winning the argument. It is certainly true that if Lib Dem voters in key northern/midlands marginals refuse to vote Lib Dem, or switch to Labour it could have a major impact on many seats. However, others question whether it is wise to rely on these more fickle voters or whether it is really possible to deliver a General Election victory without significant numbers of Conservative switchers. In turn, it can be argued that the Conservative vote in 2010 was so low that they themselves were close to their ‘core’ level of support and that 2010 Conservative voters are significantly to the right of the British political median. 2.1 Labour and the unions

Labour’s relationship with the unions has come under scrutiny following controversy in the Parliamentary selection in Falkirk (with contested allegations that people were unwittingly recruited to the Party to secure support for one candidate). Ed Miliband boldly announced plans to rethink the union link and to encourage more union members to join the Party, but this process seems to be stalled. Union support, both with money and manpower, has been crucial in previous campaigns, so any diminution would have a negative impact on campaigning. 2.2 A focus on organisation

Labour strategists believe that they have found the best guide to results is local election results. The Party use an IT system, Mosaic, that groups postcodes into one of 67 types. Under the new General Secretary, Iain McNicol, there has been a greater focus on putting in organisers on the ground in constituencies, with many already in place. Labour’s strategy is clear – while denying any complacency, their strategy appears genuinely entirely offensive. The Party has published a list of 106 “target seats”, and has selected candidates in most of them. This list includes a number of MPs who were defeated in 2010, who are re-fighting seats they lost, possibly dulling the incumbency benefit of the sitting Conservative MP (including Bob Blizzard, Patrick Hall, David Drew and Sally Keeble).

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3 Liberal Democrats – ambitions that challenge expectations

Lib Dem strategists made clear to us that their strategy is offensive, and not just based on defending existing seats. The February result in Eastleigh undoubtedly raised Lib Dem spirits. In the aftermath of Eastleigh, the Party President, Tim Farron MP, raised the prospect of the Lib Dems gaining 30 seats from the Conservatives at the next election. He argued that Eastleigh suggested, “Lib Dems have got strength on the ground, good councils, good organisations, and not just win but win well and gain seats. It shows you the Conservative position is a lot weaker in Conservative-Lib Dem marginals”. Lib Dems believe they appeal across social groups. 3.1 Scepticism

Political opponents are unconvinced. They note that Lib Dem targets very few have selected candidates, belying the Party’s aggressive rhetoric. One Tory in the South West told us that the Party President, Tim Farron, had been in the region “mouthing off” about it recently, but that local Conservatives welcome it if it is true because it means resources will be diverted from defending their existing seats. 3.2 LibDems election “Dragons Den”

The Party has come up with a new method of allocating resources, based on experience in Redcar and Ashfield in 2010, where the Party did much better than expected because of keen activists and local efforts on the ground. The new method is based on local associations bidding for resources, rather than the Party allocating them on the basis of electoral numbers. A number of “Dragon’s Den” sessions have been held to make the decisions. The advantage of this process is that resources go to activists who are eager and energetic, but the downside is that resources may miss seats which are more winnable. Lib Dem strategists believe their MPs are harder working and will thus benefit more strongly from an incumbency factor. Their political opponents largely accept this. In addition, opponents note that Lib Dem activists are less geographically constricted than the other two parties and tend to be content to campaign away from home – it is known as “flocking together”. This works particularly well for Lib Dems in local council by-elections, where they are able to draft in numbers at short notice. Lib Dems are particularly proud of their IT system, Connect, which they argue worked well in Eastleigh. In terms of defending Lib Dem seats, the Party is likely to feel most vulnerable in “handover” seats, where the MP is retiring (See Appendix C for a list of retiring MPs). Annette Brooke in Mid Dorset was mentioned specifically. On the flip side, they are looking for gains where Tory MPs are standing down.

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4 Conservatives – maintaining and growing support

From David Cameron’s election in 2005 to the election in 2010, the Conservatives ran a well-funded and ambitious marginal seat strategy. It delivered above-average swings in some target seats (Kingswood and Leicestershire North West for example), but overall the results were patchy and fewer incumbent Labour MPs were defeated than had been expected. 4.1 40/40 strategy

This cycle, Conservatives have published an official 40/40 list of 40 seats they intend to gain to deliver a majority Conservative Government (and another 40 they hope to retain). According to the Party, the list was not just put together on raw numbers, but on “examination of other factors including demographic trends and local issues”. The list (see Appendix A) includes anomalies such as leaving off Southampton Itchen (Lab majority 192), Great Grimsby (714) and Birmingham Edgbaston (1274), while including seats with much bigger majorities to overturn. However, it is clear that the 40/40 strategy is not achieving the same impact or attracting the same level of resources as in GE2010. Opponents are sceptical about the honesty of the list, with polite comments suggesting it is “for media consumption” and harsher critics describing it to us as “mad”. Even Lord Ashcroft, who funded campaigning in marginal constituencies at the last election, has questioned whether the strategy is “over ambitious”. He warned that the “Tory marginal seats strategy looks like the equivalent of planning the final assault on Berlin, while we were evacuating the beaches at Dunkirk”. However, the Conservatives have been true to the list in their selections, with selections in all the key seats in England (see Appendix D). 4.2 Ambitions in the South West

It is likely that the best hope for Conservative gains are from Lib Dem seats, mainly in the South West. The hope of Conservative campaigners we spoke to is that the current difficulties are a mid-term issue. One said to us that the “debate has not yet been framed” into a choice between Labour and Conservative, rather than just a critique of the coalition. Conservatives in the South West are hopeful of picking up seats, especially in areas where Lib Dems have previously relied on Labour tactical voters. 4.3 IT difficulties

Conservatives have also been hit by organisational difficulties, which were highlighted by the poor performance in the Eastleigh by-election. It has been reported that the Party’s IT system, Merlin, has been playing up, and froze in the run-up to the Eastleigh election. The database was held at the warehouse of an IT firm that has now folded, and the system has been brought into the Party headquarters in London. The system is reported to have broken down in the run up to the 2010 election, and one critic has said “they are trying to patch up something that is un-patch-up-able”. Problems with the IT system are likely to stymie efforts of Party Chairman, Grant Shapps, to micro target campaigning on

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key voters and their concerns. However, Mr Shapps has recently warned against “excessive strategising” and instead urged more “action”, including traditional campaigning and knocking on doors. Conservative campaigning tends to focus on direct mail and telephone calls, so it is harder for opponents to monitor. 4.4 Limited resources

Resources for the marginal seats campaign are currently much smaller than they were at the same point in the last election. In the run–up to the 2010 election, Lord Ashcroft and Michael Hintze contributed considerable financial resources, intellectual rigour and personal sponsorship of a target seat team. For instance, there were field teams for each region and a competitive process for seats to bid for funds. These sponsors are longgone, and other donors have been demoralised by policy rows and alienated by bankerbashing and gay marriage. As a result, (a) there is no evidence of the sort of war chest built up before 2010, (b) there is no ring-fenced fund-raising, (c) more professional agents are being replaced by contract field staff and (d) there is no joint training programme which means campaign discipline is more difficult to enforce. As a result, the current team, led by Matt Lane (former Director of the Welsh Conservatives) is significantly smaller. The voluntary party is greatly diminished.

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5 UKIP – breaking the mould?

The UK Independence Party enjoyed a surge of support in the first half of 2013, taking it up towards 20 per cent in some opinion polls and creating something of a breakthrough for the fourth party in the county council elections in May. While its support has subsided since then, it seems to have a reliable 10 per cent or so share in the polls, and it has broken through in the sense that even not very political electors know what the party is and are familiar with its leader Nigel Farage. 5.1 European Elections

UKIP’s attention will be focused to a considerable extent on the European Parliament elections of May 2014; its supporters turn out disproportionately in the EP election, and some supporters of other parties (particularly the Conservatives) lend their votes to UKIP in this context. It can legitimately hope to top the poll, although a recent survey has shown Labour well ahead, and the electoral system means that its votes translate into seats. In other elections, however, UKIP is hampered by the electoral system and – until May 2013 – it had elected only a handful of local councillors (although it has benefited from a steady trickle of defections from Conservative and Independent councillors). It is highly improbable that it can elect an MP (except in a by-election in the right sort of seat) because it has not mastered the art of targeted campaigning in the way that the Greens and Liberal Democrats have. Having won 3 per cent in the 2010 election, it seems likely that UKIP will end up between 6 and 10 per cent in 2015 but still have no seats. 5.2 Impact on other parties?

The rise of UKIP does affect the balance between the other parties. Most of its support is drawn from ex-Conservatives (particularly if it is polling around 10 per cent) but it attracts other voters as well, particularly in coastal towns in the east and south east of England, where there seems to be a chunk of the vote who supported the Conservatives in the 2011 local elections but Labour in 2012 and UKIP in 2013. By siphoning off some disillusioned ex-Tories, UKIP is depleting the pool of protest voters available to Labour.

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Marginal seats by cluster

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Marginal seats are all individual in some ways, but as well as falling into different regions there are similarities between some marginals which enable one to generalise about what sort of place they are. These clusters are based on political history, demographics and geography. Most Lab/Con marginals fall into one of several clusters. Seats with Liberal Democrat involvement are much harder to classify because Lib Dem seats are much less related to demographic and economic factors than those contested between Labour and Conservative. The biggest groupings of Lab/ Con marginals can be summarised as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. New towns Coastal towns Free standing towns London suburbs Northern suburbs Southern towns

There are some more particular and specialised groups, usually with fewer seats in them: 1. Pennines 2. Black Country 3. Gentrifying inner London There are also a couple of categories which although they represent quite a large number of constituencies, most of them are considered safe and not of much interest to party strategists: 1. Small town and rural England 2. Big cities The categories are not watertight, in that there are some seats with elements of more than one group (e.g. depending on how one looks at it, South Ribble can be northern suburbia or New Town). One seat, Lancaster & Fleetwood, resists classification altogether although it clearly has elements of ‘Coastal Town’ about it. Others, such as Derby North, are allocated to categories that are not an exact fit but may assist in understanding the electoral position.

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6 New Towns
Labour targets Stevenage Harlow Basildon South & East Thurrock Crawley Redditch Milton Keynes North Milton Keynes South *Corby Conservative targets Telford *Corby Regional breakdown: 5 Eastern, 3 East Midlands, 3 West Midlands, 3 South East The New Towns, particularly the 1940s vintage, have relatively high numbers of people employed in manufacturing, transport and distribution and low numbers in education and public administration (although in this respect they are less extreme than the ‘Midlands semi-rural’ category). The mix of public and private sector dependence of New Town dwellers create political cross pressures; people increasingly tend to their own houses, work in the private sector and drive cars, but rely on public health and education services. The population is concentrated in the middle of the age spectrum, although in the original New Towns there are substantial numbers of older people too. Young people often find it difficult to buy affordable housing locally, and move away. Although the New Towns were explicitly intended not to be commuter areas, this is becoming more common in most of the London area New Towns. Over the long term, there has been next to no swing between Conservative and Labour between 1992 across the country as a whole. However, the New Towns – particularly the most archetypal New Towns – have moved somewhat to the Conservatives. Startlingly, the difference between Conservative and Labour in the New Towns in 2010 was similar to what it was in 1983 (by contrast there has been a strong 12 per cent swing to Labour in coastal towns since 1983). It was clear as early as the 1950s that despite their working class composition and high proportion of social housing, the New Towns were volatile and more inclined to the Conservatives than would have been expected. Voters behaved differently when taken into the context of new housing in new communities, and possibly those choosing to be relocated were a particularly aspirational group of urban voters. The New Town seats have frequently disappointed Labour, from the Conservative holds in Billericay (Basildon) Swindon North Swindon South Peterborough Northampton North Northampton South Tamworth Thurrock

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and Epping (Harlow) in the 1959 election, shock Tory holds in many of these seats in 1992 and on to the loss of most of them back to the Tories in 2010. Labour did well in these areas in its best elections like 1966, October 1974, 1997 and 2001, but they seem to have a tendency to swing back to the Conservatives before other Labour-held marginals. There were adverse swings in some of them in 2001 and most of them in 2005. Some seats Labour gained in 1997 and lost in 2005 now seem to be safe Conservative seats (Hemel Hempstead, Welwyn Hatfield). With the New Towns proper one can group some other constituencies that have social and historical affinities with the New Towns. The Town Development Act 1952 established a sort of cut-price version of the New Towns, the Expanded Towns, and among the biggest of these are Swindon and Tamworth. In the 1960s Northampton and Peterborough were designated New Towns, even though they were established towns already, but they were expanded largely from London overspill under New Towns legislation. In the last couple of decades there has been extremely strong development pressure in these areas, with Swindon gaining enough population to gain an extra parliamentary constituency in 1997. Recent development has involved large-scale private house building such as the 10,000 household Abbey Meads in north Swindon, and the building in the Nene Valley in Northampton. Demographically and attitudinally, as their election results demonstrate, the New Towns have high proportions of the sort of electors who swing between Labour and Conservative. Political language is targeted at such voters, hence the currency of ‘strivers’ and ‘aspiration’ as buzz words.

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7 Coastal Towns

Labour targets Brighton Kemptown Hove Hastings & Rye Scarborough & Whitby Blackpool North & Cleveleys Lancaster & Fleetwood Conservative targets Blackpool South Great Grimsby Regional breakdown: 5 South East, 3 Yorkshire, 3 North West, 2 Eastern, 1 South West Seaside resorts were a new component of Labour’s winning coalition of support in 1997. Previously, Labour victories in such constituencies were very rare, but even after the slippage in Labour support in 2010 coastal towns are an important battleground in a way that they were not in any election before 1997. Coastal towns (other than those with large docking and fishing industries such as Waveney, Great Yarmouth and Grimsby) tended to be weak ground for Labour because of their middle class social structure and reliance on small business and self-employed sectors connected with tourism and entertainment. They lacked manual working class voters, strong trade unionism, and latterly the other determinants of Labour support such as – with a couple of exceptions – universities and BME voters. Some seaside areas, particularly retirement resorts, remain very weak for Labour – for instance Worthing, Eastbourne, East Devon or Bexhill. However, the party seemed to take a lasting step forward in 1997 and now holds Blackpool South even in opposition, a seat Labour never won before 1997. Many coastal towns have experienced severe economic decline as the holiday trade has gone abroad; their infrastructure is tired and the local skills base is poor and there has been a search for solutions such as (a few years ago) a big casino in Blackpool, or the increasing status of Brighton and Hove as an extension of inner London. Despite considerable renewal (most successfully probably in Hastings) they are still problem areas. The issues that matter are jobs, skills, infrastructure, low pay and migration. The politics of asylum and immigration started early in places such as Dover (run-down small hotels housing asylum applicants from all over the country). There is also their history of low-skill and seasonal employment in hotels and bars that is often taken up by transient or migrant people. UKIP support seemed particularly high in coastal towns in Eastern England in the 2013 local elections. They polled more votes than the Conservatives and Labour in both Great Yarmouth and Thanet South, despite these constituencies’ history as Con/Lab marginals. Cleethorpes South Dorset Waveney Great Yarmouth South Thanet Dover

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8 London Suburbs

Labour targets Hendon Enfield North Finchley & Golders Green Harrow East Ilford North Croydon Central Enfield Southgate Conservative targets Dagenham & Rainham Eltham Tooting

Regional breakdown: 10 London London suburbia is one of the most rapidly changing and interesting sociological environments in the country. Comparing the 2001 and 2011 censuses shows a massive growth in the BME proportion of the population in many different parts of outer London from middle class Harrow to working class Barking. The political implications are fascinating and already apparent. For instance, Harrow West is a Labour seat that does not really even qualify as a marginal. But before 1997 Labour had never come remotely near winning. There are other changes, including increasing numbers of younger people forced out of central London by housing costs, and there are likely to be people displaced from central London by the housing benefit cap. Of course, these changes are not straightforwardly adding Labour voters to the suburbs – sometimes in boroughs such as Barking and Barnet there is a political reaction to social change, and many of the new arrivals do not appear on the electoral register. But still, the change in most of it (other than a south-western section around Putney and Wimbledon) is in one direction. UKIP’s impact in the London suburbs remains untested (there were no elections in London in 2013) but is likely to be less than in most other clusters of seats.

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9 Northern Suburbs

Labour targets Broxtowe South Ribble Stockton South Warrington South Wirral West Pudsey Morley & Rothwell

Conservative targets Bolton West Gedling Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland Wirral South

Regional breakdown: 5 North West, 2 East Midlands, 2 North East, 2 Yorkshire This category of seats is rather a mirror image of the ‘southern towns’ category. Seats in the south of England with these demographics would be Tory rather than marginal. These are mostly not part of the core cities but 20th Century suburban growth areas around the edges of the major metropolitan areas. I have allocated Nottingham-area suburbs to this category as well. In terms of political history, this is a mixed bag – many are traditionally marginal but some (Wirral West, Gedling) seem to have trended Labour, having formerly been safe Tory seats. Sefton Central (Crosby) went abruptly in 1997 from being a safe Conservative seat to safe Labour.

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10 Pennine

Labour targets Rossendale & Darwen Pendle Dewsbury Colne Valley Calder Valley Keighley High Peak Bury North Burnley (from Lib Dem)

Conservative targets Chorley Halifax

Regional breakdown: 5 North West, 5 Yorkshire, 1 East Midlands This (see also Black Country) is a category of seat that has been marginal for a very long time. Several of them, particularly Keighley and Pendle, have long records of tracking the national result. But unlike the free-standing towns, they are not demographically typical. They are more working class than average, but with high levels of owner occupation. Several of them have a distinctive pattern of ethnicity. Rather than broad diversity of the sort to be found in London or Manchester, there is a split between Asian and white communities and a pattern of residential segregation. Local politics is often an acrid competition for limited resources, with the most deprived towns having seen wholesale playing of clan politics within the Asian community and exploitation of grievance among whites. The BNP have had a presence in the area.

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11 Free Standing Towns

Labour targets Worcester Lincoln Loughborough Carlisle Crewe & Nantwich Gloucester Conservative targets Exeter Newcastle-under-Lyme Wakefield Burton Rugby Stafford Warwick & Leamington

Worth a mention: Wyre Forest

Regional breakdown: 6 West Midlands, 2 East Midlands, 2 North West, 2 South West, 1 Yorkshire Unlike several other categories of seat (coastal towns and London suburbs to the left, Midlands semi-rural to the right), there is not much of a long term swing in this sort of seat that is basically composed of a town and perhaps a little hinterland. They tend to swing with the tide. These places are classic Middle England, often in the Midlands, with social composition that is often close to the national average on many metrics. Other than Exeter (and Warwick) they are not usually regarded as higher education centres, although most have substantially expanded their student population since 1993. Other than Bedford they are whiter than most urban areas, although this puts them close to the overall average. Because these seats are political and demographic microcosms of England, most tend to follow the national tide. However, there is also an issue of scale here. These seats are often not much altered in boundary changes, and have a stronger local identity than segments of cities, suburbs or rural acres. They have – though this is diminishing – a local evening newspaper and a sense of a political and civic sphere of their own. This means that it is perhaps easier than in other sorts of seat for incumbents to build up a strong personal presence and resist national tides (as Chorley and Exeter have done recently and places like Ipswich, Worcester and Crewe have done in the past). They are not particularly ‘swingy’ unlike New Towns or Midlands semi-rural; they tend to contain elements of the core vote of both the main parties (Lib Dems sometimes make progress in local elections but do not feature nationally). Basically, the strategy to win these seats is simply to win the election nationally, and to have candidates who are hard-working and locally well known.

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12 Midlands Semi Rural

Labour targets South Derbyshire North West Leicestershire Sherwood North Warwickshire Staffordshire Moorlands Conservative targets North East Derbyshire Regional breakdown: 6 East Midlands, 4 West Midlands Amber Valley Erewash Cannock Chase Nuneaton

Ashfield also deserves a mention as a seat where the Lib Dems ran Labour close in 2010. DH Lawrence’s home town of Eastwood is in the Ashfield seat. Most of these seats were regarded as safe Labour before 1970 but have gradually trended to the right since then. All of them except Staffordshire Moorlands are former mining areas which have undergone significant demographic change over the decades; new privately developed estates have sprung up and these areas are commuter belt territory for Birmingham, Derby and Nottingham. Amber Valley, Nuneaton, Erewash and Cannock Chase are rather more urbanised than the others. Most of the towns in these seats are gritty and unglamorous – Bedworth, Coalville, Swadlincote, Ilkeston. The population of these seats is overwhelmingly white and in the middle of the social spectrum; working class and lower middle class, and like New Town populations a mixture of public (education, health) and private (housing, transport) consumers. Politically, these seats are marginal between Labour and Conservative and have shown little interest in the Lib Dems; turnout tends to be high and there are large swings between elections which tend to exaggerate national movements, so Labour gained hugely in 1997 and lost a lot of ground in 2010. They have also shown a tendency to the populist right, with high votes for UKIP and BNP. Several of the towns in the area have elected BNP candidates (Coalville, Heanor). These areas are challenging territory for Labour in the current environment. In the 2011 district council elections Labour did fairly poorly in many of these areas, only just scraping control of North Warwickshire and failing to win South Derbyshire, a council that had been Labour from its creation in 1973 until 2007. However, Labour did rather better in the 2013 county council elections in many of these areas, sometimes only because UKIP seemed to take more votes from the Conservatives (Leicestershire North West) and sometimes because of strong Labour voting (Warwickshire North).

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13 Black Country

Labour targets: Dudley South Halesowen & Rowley Regis Stourbridge Wolverhampton South West Conservative targets: Dudley North Walsall North Walsall South Regional breakdown: 7 West Midlands The Black Country is a band of industrial and post-industrial towns lying to the west of Birmingham – Wolverhampton is not technically part of it but is effectively its capital (one can also argue that Cannock Chase is a closely related constituency of a similar type). In the 1960s and 1970s its white working class voters were very volatile and swung strongly to the Conservatives in 1970 and Labour in February 1974. This was Enoch Powell country. However, since those days its politics has settled down and swings are relatively modest, although the seats are still close fought and the area is as important a battleground as it has ever been. In the 1980s the seats at the edge of the Black Country at Stourbridge and Halesowen were very white, in comparison to the very ethnically mixed inner area at Warley and West Bromwich, but the BME population has become increasingly suburban too. Dudley is an area where UKIP can poll strong votes in local elections, to the probable disadvantage of the Conservatives in these traditionally hardfought seats.

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14 Southern Urban

Labour targets: Bedford Chatham and Aylesford Portsmouth North Reading East Reading West Bristol North West Kingswood Filton & Bradley Stoke Plymouth Sutton & Devonport Norwich North +Ipswich +Thurrock

Worth a mention: Gillingham & Rainham, Rochester & Strood, Gravesham, Dartford
Conservative targets: Southampton Itchen Southampton Test Plymouth Moor View Derby North Regional breakdown: 6 South East, 5 South West, 2 Eastern, 1 East Midlands A long term trend in British electoral politics is regional polarisation. A seat with exactly the same social composition in south east England will be much more Conservative than its twin in the north. This means that the sort of place which would be reliably Labour in the north can be marginal or Tory in southern England – and conversely that suburbs in the north will be more Labour than their southern counterparts. This group of seats is basically the larger urban areas in the south outside London – Bristol, Southampton, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading. They often have relatively large BME and EU accession-state populations (sometimes rapidly growing), and sometimes lots of students as well. They range from older city working class communities (Southampton Itchen) to suburbia constructed in the 1980s and 1990s (a large part of Filton & Bradley Stoke) and in terms of housing tenure they are rather heterogeneous. These seats are quite ‘swingy’. They responded favourably both to Thatcherism and New Labour, and most of them had large swings against Labour in 2010. Rather like the ‘free standing towns’ category there is no simple demographic key to winning these seats, although certainly for Labour the party needs to understand and speak to the voters of these sorts of seat – aspiration, the difficulties of home ownership, fuel, transport, congestion and pressure on public services from immigration and economic change. While the ‘Midlands semi-rural’ seats have very low levels of immigration and the politics of the issue in those seats is largely about perception and mythology, in the southern towns the issues around immigration are more part of lived experience. They are thus more relevant, but also easier to address because perception and reality are much closer.

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Derby North may not be ‘southern’ in a geographical sense, but recent research (see the Southern Discomfort series) suggests that parts of the Midlands are becoming more ‘southern’ in attitude and behaviour. While Labour has held up reasonably well in Derby (as it has in some southern urban areas like Slough), and their hold in 2010 in North was surprising, an approach that works in Reading and Southampton is likely to help in Derby too.

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15 Gentrifying Inner London

Labour targets: Battersea Ealing Central and Acton Brentford & Isleworth

Worth a mention: Putney, Wimbledon
Conservative targets: Hampstead and Kilburn Tooting Westminster North

Worth a mention: Hammersmith
Labour targets from Lib Dem Bermondsey & Old Southwark Regional breakdown: 7 London The inner London marginal seats are a peculiar cluster. They are less ethnically diverse than other inner city seats, or many suburbs, and if anything demographic change is running in the other direction as these areas gentrify. In general there is a disconnect between what has been an elite consensus (socially liberal, economically conservative) which runs against what a lot of the public tend instinctively to think (socially conservative, economically statist). But the swing voters in these London seats tend to be highly liberal but also affluent, international and freemarket oriented. Battersea, for instance, has climbed from being a fairly ordinary inner city neighbourhood to being a demographic outlier in terms of education levels, income, and family formation. Cameron’s Conservative critics felt that too much of his agenda was catering for this rather unusual group of voters. Even so, the Conservatives failed to do as well as they had hoped in these seats in 2010. Some of these voters are not very partisan, in that they are perfectly well prepared to vote for Conservatives who seem to combine efficiency, low taxes and social liberalism and are also prepared to vote for a Labour Party that adopts this agenda. The benefit cap may cause rapid social change in these areas to the potential long term benefit of the Conservatives, although in some areas change has been underway a long time. For instance, in areas such as Fulham and Battersea older working class traditional Labour households in terraced areas have been replaced by upwardly mobile and high paid couples and families. The large tracts of social housing in these seats has been an anchor for the Labour vote, but this may not be the case forever.

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16 Big City England

Conservative targets Birmingham Edgbaston Nottingham South +Hampstead & Kilburn

Worth a mention:
Birmingham Northfield Labour targets from Lib Dem and other Bristol West Manchester Withington Hornsey & Wood Green Birmingham Yardley Leeds North West Bradford East Bradford West* Regional breakdown: 2 West Midlands, 3 Yorkshire, 1 London, 1 South West, 1 East Midlands As late as 1992, there were still significant battlegrounds between the Tories and Labour in the big cities of provincial England – densely populated urban areas which were marginal between the parties, such as Birmingham Selly Oak, Leeds North East and Edinburgh South. But if one looks back to the 1950s and 1960s there were many marginal seats in this category – in 1964 Labour gained four city seats in Liverpool, four in Birmingham and two in Manchester from the Conservatives. Even since 1992 most of the remainder have also swung beyond the reach of the Conservatives. Quite a few of these seats have an unusual pattern of being first-time Labour gains from Conservative in the 1987-97 period, and then rapidly flipping to Lib Dem in 2005 or 2010. Several of these seats have a strong university presence – both students and university staff affect the political composition of a constituency.

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17 Small Town And Rural

Labour targets Brigg & Goole North East Somerset Stroud

Worth a mention: Forest of Dean
Regional breakdown: 2 South West, 1 Yorkshire In the 1960s there were considerable numbers of agricultural rural seats that were marginal between Labour and the Conservatives, but now there is not much of rural England where Labour can compete effectively except in landslide years like 1997 (Wales and Scotland are different). As with the difference between north and south, there has been a long term trend for urban and rural England to pull to the left and the right respectively. Small towns are light on the sort of voters who form the Labour core – BME electors, young people, trade unionists, public sector employees and educated professionals. Labour has lost touch with a lot of these places, particularly in the south and midlands. Some of these sorts of places are closely contested between Lib Dem and Conservative (e.g. West Dorset, Somerton & Frome etc.). The seats in this category where Labour are competitive are anomalous (NE Somerset is an odd blend of Bristol suburb and ex-mining country; Stroud is a New Age town and has had a particularly popular Labour MP in David Drew, Goole is an isolated working class town, etc.).

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Marginal seats by region

Page 32

18 Analysis By Region

18.1 About the tables The tables for each region are the target seats for each party listed in order of percentage majority that the party has to overcome. Also listed is the ‘adjusted’ majority in Conservative v Labour contests, i.e. a measure taking into account incumbency, Lib Dem votes and local variations (see Appendix). The parties have each said that they will take these factors into account, and our method here has been to model the real likelihood of each seat changing hands – the parties may not do this as systematically as we have here, but it does reflect their thinking. The margins in the Lib Dem tables are unadjusted, because performance varies so much in Lib Dem seats, but it should be borne in mind that incumbency has proved a very strong factor for Lib Dem MPs in the past. The cluster into which each seat fits, within the regional list, is given in the second column. When assessing differential trends, swings and issues within each category of marginal seat this is an important factor.

18.2 Key A * by a candidate name indicates that they are incumbent MPs, and were in the Commons before the 2010 election. A ^ by a candidate name indicates that they are first-term incumbents elected in 2010 (or a subsequent by-election). First-term incumbency has in the past given a boost to sitting MPs.

Italics indicates, for Conservative and Labour lists, a seat that is not on the official target
list for one reason or another – for Labour generally because the seat is a little beyond the top 106 the party is targeting, for Conservative because it is not listed in the ‘40/40’ strategy, suggesting that it may be tougher than some seats with apparently similar majorities. % A Maj – adjusted majority (see above)

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In the ‘Type’ column:

MANY MARGINALS NT FST NS ScS CT SU MSR P GIL LS BC New Town Free Standing Town Northern suburbs Scottish suburb Coastal town Southern urban Midlands Semi Rural Pennines Gentrifying Inner London London suburb Black Country R C A SS ICL U

FEWER MARGINALS Small town and rural Large city Affluent southern England Southern suburb Inner city London University

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19 South West Region
LABOUR TARGETS Stroud Plymouth Sutton & Devonport Gloucester Kingswood Swindon South Somerset North East Bristol North West Swindon North Filton & Bradley Stoke Typ e R SU FST SU NT SS/ R SU NT NT % %A Defending party maj maj candidate 2.2 7.9 ^Neil Carmichael 2.6 4.8 5.1 7.5 9.6 12 14 14.3 4.2 ^Oliver Colvile 8.5 ^Richard Graham 9.7 ^Chris Skidmore 11.8 ^Robert Buckland 12.1 ^Jacob Rees-Mogg 9.5 ^Charlotte Leslie 17 ^Justin Tomlinson 14.2 ^Jack Lopresti Anne Snelgrove Todd Foreman Darren Jones Mark Dempsey

From Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con

Labour candidate David Drew Luke Pollard Rupi Dhanda

Dorset South
Bristol West CONSERVATIVE TARGETS Dorset Mid & Poole North Wells St Austell & Newquay Somerton & Frome St Ives

CT
IC

Con
LD

14.8
20.6 % maj

17.6 *Richard Drax
*Stephen Williams Defending party candidate Vikki Slade ^Tessa Munt ^Stephen Gilbert

Simon Bowkett
Thangam Debbonaire Conservative candidate Michael Tomlinson James Heappey Stephen Double David Warburton

Type SS R CT/ SU R CT

From LD LD LD LD LD

%A maj

0.6 1.4 2.8 3 3.7 -

*Andrew George

Derek Thomas

Plymouth Moor View
Chippenham

SU
FST

Lab
LD

3.8
4.7 -

3.9 *Alison Seabeck
^Duncan Hames Michelle Donelan Scott Mann Kevin Foster Alex Chalk Peter HeatonJones

Exeter
Cornwall North

FST
R

Lab
LD

5.2
6.4 -

6.6 *Ben Bradshaw
*Dan Rogerson

Taunton Deane
Torbay Cheltenham Devon North

FST
CT FST CT/ R

LD
LD LD LD

6.9 8.3 9.3 11.3 -

*Jeremy Browne
*Adrian Sanders *Martin Horwood *Nick Harvey

Thornbury & Yate

NT

LD

14.8 -

*Steve Webb

LIB DEM TARGETS Camborne & Redruth Truro & Falmouth Newton Abbot Weston super Mare Devon West & Torridge Cornwall South East Dorset West

Type SU SU R CT R R R

From Con Con Con Con Con Con Con

% maj 0.2 0.9 1.1 5.1 5.4 6.5 6.8

Defending party candidate ^George Eustice ^Sarah Newton ^Anne Marie Morris *John Penrose *Geoffrey Cox ^Sherryl Murray *Oliver Letwin

Lib Dem candidate

Richard YoungerRoss Mike Bell

Phil Hutty

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20 South East Region
% %A maj maj 2.4 3.1 3.7 4 9.4 10.5 12.5 12.6 13.9 Defending party candidate ^Caroline Lucas Labour candidate Purna Sen Nancy Platts Peter Kyle Sarah Owen Andrew Pakes Clair Hawkins Godfrey Daniel Victoria Groulef Tristan Osborne

LABOUR TARGETS Brighton Pavilion Brighton Kemptown Hove Hastings & Rye Milton Keynes South Dover Crawley Reading West Chatham & Aylesford

Type CT CT CT CT NT CT NT SU SU

From Green Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con

4.8 ^Simon Kirby 5.2 ^Mike Weatherley 14.1 ^Amber Rudd 13.7 ^Ian Stewart 14.5 ^Charlie Elphicke 16.6 ^Henry Smith 14.5 ^Alok Sharma 13.9 ^Tracey Crouch

Reading East Milton Keynes North
CONSERVATIVE TARGETS

SU NT

Con Con

17.1 16.6
% maj

14.6 *Rob Wilson 16.2 *Mark Lancaster
%A maj Defending party candidate

Matt Rodda Emily Darlington
Conservativ e candidate

Type

From

Southampton Itchen Southampton Test
Eastbourne

SU SU
CT

Lab Lab
LD

0.4 5.5
6.6 -

0.5 Rowenna Davis 7.6 *Alan Whitehead
^Stephen Lloyd

Royston Smith

Eastleigh Brighton Pavilion
Portsmouth South

SS CT
SU

LD Green
LD

7.2 7.6 12.6 -

^Mike Thornton Caroline Lucas
*Mike Hancock Flick Drummond

Lewes
LIB DEM TARGETS Oxford West & Abingdon Winchester Romsey & Southampton North

CT
Type U/ SS AS AS

LD
From Con Con Con

15.3 % maj 0.3 5.5 8.5

*Norman Baker
Defending party candidate ^Nicola Blackwood ^Steve Brine ^Caroline Nokes Lib Dem candidate Layla Moran

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21 London Region
% maj 0.2 3.6 3.8 6 7.1 7.9 11.5 12.2 12.3 %A maj Defending party candidate Labour candidate Andrew Dismore

LABOUR TARGETS Hendon Brent Central Brentford & Isleworth Enfield North Croydon Central Harrow East Ealing Central & Acton Ilford North Battersea Finchley & Golders Green Hornsey & Wood Green

Type LS ICL LS LS LS LS GIL LS GIL LS ICL

From Con LD Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con LD

11.6 ^Matthew Offord 10.6 ^Mary Macleod 15.3 ^Nick de Bois 15.5 ^Gavin Barwell 17.7 ^Bob Blackman 11.8 ^Angela Bray 19.7 *Lee Scott 22.7 ^Jane Ellison 20.4 ^Mike Freer *Lynne Featherstone

3 Joan Ryan Sarah Jones

12.5 -

Will Martindale Sarah Sackman Catherine West Neil Coyle Conservativ e candidate Simon Marcus Paul Scully

Enfield Southgate
Bermondsey & Old Southwark CONSERVATIVE TARGETS Hampstead & Kilburn Sutton & Cheam

LS
ICL

Con
LD

17.2
19.1 % maj 0.1 3.3

25 *David Burrowes
*Simon Hughes Defending party candidate

Type GIL LS

From Lab LD

%A maj

4.2 Tulip Siddiq *Paul Burstow

Eltham Tooting Westminster North Dagenham & Rainham
Harrow West

LS GIL GIL LS
LS

Lab Lab Lab Lab
Lab

4 5 5.4 5.9
6.8

2.4 *Clive Efford 4.3 *Sadiq Khan 4.3 *Karen Buck 2.9 *Jon Cruddas
6.6 *Gareth Thomas Hannah David

Carshalton & Wallington Kingston & Surbiton
LIB DEM TARGETS Hampstead & Kilburn Richmond Park

LS LS
Type GIL LS

LD LD
From Lab Con

11.5 13.2
% maj 1.6 6.9

*Tom Brake *Edward Davey
Defending party candidate Tulip Siddiq ^Zac Goldsmith Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz Robin Meltzer

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22 Eastern England Region
% maj Defending party candidate ^Jackie Doyle 0.2 -0.3 Price 0.7 ^Simon Wright 1.5 3 4.4 7 ^Peter Aldous 7 ^Richard Fuller 8.5 ^Ben Gummer ^Stephen McPartland ^Richard 6.8 Harrington 8 *Chloe Smith %A maj Labour candidate Polly Billington Clive Lewis Bob Blizzard Patrick Hall David Ellesmere Sharon Taylor Matthew Turmaine Jessica Asato Lara Norris Lisa Forbes Suzy Stride Mike Le Surf Daniel Zeichner Conservative candidate

LABOUR TARGETS Thurrock Norwich South Waveney Bedford Ipswich Stevenage Watford Norwich North Great Yarmouth Peterborough Harlow Basildon S & Thurrock E Cambridge CONSERVATIVE TARGETS

Type NT SU CT SU FST NT SU SU CT NT NT NT

From Con LD Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con

8 11.2 8.2 9.2

9.9 14.5 ^Brandon Lewis 10.8 11.4 *Stewart Jackson 11.2 11.1 ^Robert Halfon ^Stephen 12.9 12.9 Metcalfe 14.9 ^Julian Huppert % maj %A maj Defending party candidate

U/ FST LD Type From

Luton South Cambridge Colchester
LIB DEM TARGETS Watford Chelmsford

SU FST
Type SU SU

Lab LD
From Con Con

5.5 13.8 15.1 % maj 2.6 9.6

9.3 ^Gavin Shuker ^Julian Huppert *Bob Russell
Defending party candidate ^Richard Harrington *Simon Burns Lib Dem candidate

U/ FST LD

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23 West Midlands Region
% % A Defending party maj maj candidate 0.1 2.8 ^Dan Byles 1.7 4.6 4.6 6.1 7 7.2 7.4 10.1 10.9 10.9 12.6 12.7 13.1 13.2 2.7 ^Paul Uppal 4.4 ^Marcus Jones 4.5 ^James Morris 5.7 ^Robin Walker 6.1 ^Aidan Burley 7.2 ^Chris White *John Hemming 9.7 ^Chris Kelly 11.7 ^Jeremy Lefroy 11.7 ^Margot James 10.6 ^Mark Pawsey 12.2 ^Andrew Griffiths ^Christopher 14 Pincher 13.6 ^Karen Lumley

LABOUR TARGETS Warwickshire North Wolverhampton South West Nuneaton Halesowen & Rowley Regis Worcester Cannock Chase Warwick & Leamington Birmingham Yardley Dudley South Stafford Stourbridge Rugby Burton Tamworth Redditch

Type MSR BC MSR BC FST MSR FST C BC FST BC FST FST NT NT

From Con Con Con Con Con Con Con LD Con Con Con Con Con Con Con

Labour candidate Mike O’Brien Rob Marris Vicky Fowler Stephanie Peacock Joy Squires Janos Toth Lynette Kelly Jess Phillips Natasha Millward Kate Godfey Peter Lowe Claire Edwards Jon Wheale Carol Dean Rebecca Blake

Staffordshire Moorlands
CONSERVATIVE TARGETS Solihull Dudley North Telford Walsall North

MSR

Con

15.3

15.9 ^Karen Bradley
Defending party candidate *Lorely Burt Conservative candidate Julian Knight Afzal Amin Lucy Allan Douglas Hansen Luke Tony Cox Rachel Maclean Lib Dem candidate Lucy Hurds

Type C BC NT BC

From LD Lab Lab Lab

% %A maj maj 0.3 1.7 2.4 2.7

-3.1 *Ian Austin -0.5 *David Wright -2.5 *David Winnick

Birmingham Edgbaston
Newcastle-under-Lyme

IC
FST

Lab
Lab

3.1
3.6

0.2 *Gisela Stuart
2.3 *Paul Farrelly

Walsall South
Birmingham Northfield LIB DEM TARGETS Hereford & South Herefordshire

BC
C Type FST

Lab
Lab From Con

4.3
6.7 % maj 5.1

2.5 ^Yasmin Qureshi
3.9 *Richard Burden Defending party candidate ^Jesse Norman

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24 East Midlands Region
% % A Defending party maj maj candidate 0.4 0.3 ^Mark Spencer 0.7 1.2 2.3 3.5 4.8 5.2 7.1 9.3 1.4 ^Anna Soubry 2.7 ^Nigel Mills 5.6 ^Karl McCartney 1.3 Tom Pursglove 1.1 ^Michael Ellis 4.1 ^Jessica Lee 7.1 Morgan, Nicky 6.5 Labour candidate Leonie Mathers Nick Palmer Kevin Gillott Lucy Rigby ^Andy Sawford Sally Keeble Catherine Atkinson Matthew O’Callaghan Caitlin Bisknell

LABOUR TARGETS Sherwood Broxtowe Amber Valley Lincoln Corby Northampton North Erewash Loughborough High Peak

Type MSR NS MSR FST NT NT MSR FST P

From Con Con Con Con Con (LAB) Con Con Con Con

Derbyshire South Leicestershire North West Northampton South

MSR MSR NT

Con Con Con

14.1 13.6 ^Heather Wheeler 14.5 13.7 ^Andrew Bridgen 15.4 12

CORBY: Labour gained the seat from Conservatives in a November 2012 by-election. Parties tend to regard by-election seats as starting from their previous allegiance, which is why it has been listed as a Labour target despite having a Labour MP. Conservative Targets Corby Derby North Type From Nt Su % Maj %A Maj Defending Party Candidate Conservative Candidate Tom Pursglove Amanda Solloway Rowena Holland Lee Rowley Lib Dem Candidate Jason Zadrozny Julia Cambridge Michael Mullaney

Con (Lab) -3.5 (21.8) Lab

-1.3 ^Andy Sawford ^Chris 1.40% 4.80% Williamson

Gedling
Nottingham South Derbyshire North East Lib Dem Targets Ashfield Chesterfield Bosworth

Ns
C Msr

Lab
Lab Lab

3.90% 0.90% *Vernon Coaker
4.30% 5.90% ^Lilian Greenwood

5.20% 5.30% *Natascha Engel Defending Party Candidate ^Gloria De Piero ^Toby Perkins *David Tredinnick

Type From Msr Fst Msr Lab Lab Con

% Maj 0.4 1.2 9.2

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25 North West Region
% maj 0.8 2 2 2.3 2.8 %A maj Defending party candidate

LABOUR TARGETS Lancaster & Fleetwood Carlisle Morecambe & Lunesdale Weaver Vale Warrington South Manchester Withington Burnley Bury North Blackpool North & Cleveleys Chester, City of Wirral West Pendle Rossendale & Darwen South Ribble Crewe & Nantwich     CONSERVATIVE TARGETS Bolton West Wirral South Chorley

Type

From

Labour candidate Cat Smith Lee Sheriff Amina Lone Julie Tickridge Nick Bent Jeff Smith Julie Cooper James Frith Sam Rushworth Chris Matheson Margaret Greenwood Azhar Ali Will Straw Veronica Bennett Adrian Heald

CT/U Con FST CT NT C P P CT FST NS P P NT FST Con Con Con Con LD LD Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con

-2 ^Eric Ollerenshaw 0.7 2.8 ^David Morris -0.3 ^Graham Evans -3.2 ^David Mowat *John Leech ^Gordon Birtwistle 4.8 ^Paul Maynard 4.3 ^Stephen Mosley 5.8 ^Esther McVey 14.5 ^Andrew Stephenson

4.2 4.3 5 5.3 5.5 6.2 8 9.5 10.8 11.8

11.3 ^David Nuttall

16.9 ^Jake Berry 10.5 6.9 *Edward Timpson

Type NS NS FST

From Lab Lab Lab

% % A Defending party maj maj candidate 0.2 2.1 ^Julie Hilling 1.3 5.2 3 ^Alison McGovern 4.4 *Lindsay Hoyle

Conservative candidate Christopher Green John Bell Robert Loughenbury Mary Robinson William Wragg Lib Dem candidate

Blackpool South
Cheadle

CT
NS

Lab
LD

5.3
6.3 -

4.6 *Gordon Marsden
*Mark Hunter

Southport
Hazel Grove LIB DEM TARGETS Oldham East & Saddleworth Rochdale

CT
NS Type P P

LD
LD From Lab Lab

13.8 15.2 % maj 0.2 1.9

*John Pugh
Lisa Smart Defending party candidate ^Debbie Abrahams ^Simon Danczuk

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26 Yorkshire And The Humber Region
% %A maj maj 0.9 2.8 3.4 6.2 8.1 9.6 10.6 11.7 12.4 Defending party candidate ^David Ward Labour candidate

LABOUR TARGETS Bradford East Dewsbury Pudsey Keighley Elmet & Rothwell Cleethorpes Colne Valley Brigg & Goole Calder Valley

Type From C P NS P NS CT P R P LD Con Con Con Con Con Con Con Con

10.6 ^Simon Reevell 9.7 ^Stuart Andrew 13.3 ^Kris Hopkins 6.4 ^Alec Shelbrooke 8.7 ^Martin Vickers ^Jason 12.5 McCartney 12.2 ^Andrew Percy 15.5 Veronica King Bin Joshi Barr Josh FentonGlynn Jamie Hanley

Scarborough & Whitby
Leeds North West CONSERVATIVE TARGETS

CT
C

Con
LD

16.5

10.9 *Robert Goodwill
*Greg Mulholland Defending party candidate Alex Sobel Conservative candidate

26.5 % maj %A maj

Type From

Great Grimsby Morley & Outwood Halifax Wakefield Bradford East
    LIB DEM TARGETS Sheffield Central Hull North Harrogate & Knaresborough Colne Valley

CT NS P FST C

Lab Lab Lab Lab LD

2.2 2.3 3.4 3.6 6.9 -

3.1 *Austin Mitchell 3.2 *Ed Balls 4.5 *Linda Riordan 3.7 *Mary Creagh ^David Ward

Type From C C FST P Lab Lab Con Con

% maj 0.4 1.9 2 8.8

Defending party candidate ^Paul Blomfield *Diana Johnson ^Andrew Jones ^Jason McCartney

Lib Dem candidate Mike Bell

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27 North East Region
Fro m Con LD Type NS R Fro m Lab LD % maj 0.7 12.4 % maj 3.6 7 %A maj %A maj Defending party candidate Labour candidate Louise Baldock Anna Turley Conservativ e candidate Will Goodhand Anne-Marie Trevelyan

LABOUR TARGETS Stockton South Redcar CONSERVATIVE TARGETS Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland Berwick-upon-Tweed

Type NS

9.2 ^James Wharton ^Ian Swales Defending party candidate

5 ^Tom Blenkinsop Julie Pörksen

Page 44

28 Scotland
Tables for target seats for each party in Scotland are below. They should be taken with some caution because of the differences between Scottish and English politics and the potential for large swings between Labour, Lib Dem and SNP from election to election. LABOUR TARGETS Dundee East East Dunbartonshire Edinburgh West Argyll & Bute Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey CONSERVATIVE TARGETS Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine Angus Perth & North Perthshire Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk Edinburgh West Dumfries & Galloway Type C ScS C R R R FST/ R From SNP LD LD LD Con LD LD % %A maj maj 4.4 4.6 8.2 8.9 9.1 16.8 18.6 Defending party candidate *Stewart Hosie *Jo Swinson ^Mike Crockart *Alan Reid *David Mundell *John Thurso *Danny Alexander Cameron Day Labour candidate

Type R R FST/ R R C FST/ R Type C C

From LD SNP SNP LD LD Lab

% maj

%A maj

Defending party candidate *Robert Smith *Mike Weir *Pete Wishart *Michael Moore ^Mike Crockart *Russell Brown Defending party candidate ^Ian Murray *Mark Lazarowicz Defending party candidate *Gordon Banks

Conservative candidate

8.2 8.7 9.1 11.6 12.7 14.3 % maj 0.7 3,7 % maj 10.3 13.8

LIB DEM TARGETS Edinburgh South Edinburgh North & Leith SNP TARGETS Ochil & South Perthshire Gordon

From Lab Lab

Lib Dem candidate

Type R R

From Lab LD

SNP candidate

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Vote share in Scotland (per cent) since 1974
50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1974 1974 1979 1983 1987 1992 1997 2001 2005 2010 Feb Oct 7.9 8.3 21.9 17.3 11.8 9 36.6 32.9 36.3 30.4 24.7 31.4 28.4 24.5 24 19.2 14 25.6 21.5 13.1 22.1 17.5 13 20.1 16.3 15.6 22.6 17.7 15.8 19.9 18.9 16.7 Conservative Labour Lib Dem SNP 41.5 35.1 42.4 39 45.6 43.3 38.9 42

Politics in Scotland is different. In England and Wales there was a reasonably strong swing from Labour to the Conservatives between 2005 and 2010, averaging over 5 per cent. In Scotland, by contrast, the net movement in votes was in favour of Labour, and Gordon Brown was relatively popular. Labour held all its vulnerable marginal seats, often with increased majorities. Politics is also different in that Scottish voters are also very willing to switch between different parties at different elections. Despite Labour’s good results in 2010, the party was routed in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections by the SNP landslide. Honours were more even in the 2012 local elections, with the SNP narrowly ahead of Labour. Politics in Scotland is all conditional on the outcome of the 2014 referendum on independence. Nearly all polling and expectation is that Scotland will vote to stay within the UK, and even a Yes vote for independence would still probably involve one last UK General Election in Scotland, because the practical arrangements for independence would need to be worked out over years rather than months. The effect of the referendum result (either way) on the SNP vote in 2015 cannot really be known, but it would seem likely that a No vote would set the SNP vote back while a Yes vote could mean that voters choose a strong SNP delegation to Westminster to assist with negotiations. Opinion polls on Scottish voting intention in the UK General Election since May 2010 suggest that Labour has remained in the lead, except for a short time after the 2011 Scottish Parliament election when the SNP went ahead. However, Labour’s vote share at a little over 40 per cent is hardly changed since 2010, the SNP is up from 20 per cent to around 25 per cent, the Conservatives are up a little from around 17 per cent to 19 per cent, and – as elsewhere – the Lib Dems have plunged disastrously from around 19 per cent to 7-8 per cent.

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Labour cannot therefore expect to win any extra seats in Scotland, except from the collapse of the Lib Dems where there is one near-guaranteed pickup in East Dunbartonshire, another possible in Edinburgh West and more vague hopes in Caithness and Inverness. In 2011 the SNP swept all the seats in the Highlands and Islands except Orkney and Shetland, and are likely to take out several Lib Dems. Given that Conservative support has held steady in Scotland, they too can probably win a couple of Con/LD marginals in Scotland. Labour might be vulnerable to the SNP in a couple of seats, such as Ochil & South Perthshire, but other than dividing the spoils of Lib Dem collapse one cannot expect much change in Scotland.

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29 Wales
The arithmetic in the target seat tables for Wales is more reliable than that for Scotland, because Welsh marginal seats, other than some rural areas in west Wales behave rather like English marginal seats. LABOUR TARGETS Cardiff North Arfon Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire Vale of Glamorgan Carmarthen East & Dinefwr Aberconwy Preseli Pembrokeshire Cardiff Central Type C CT R CT FST/ R CT R C From Con PC Con Con PC Con Con LD % maj %A maj Defending party candidate Labour candidate Mari Williams Alun Pugh Delyth Evans

0.4 5.6 8.5 8.8 8.9 11.3 11.6 12.7 ^Hywel Williams ^Simon Hart ^Alun Cairns ^Jonathan Edwards ^Guto Bebb *Stephen Crabb *Jenny Willott

Mary Wimbury Jo Stephens

Clwyd West
CONSERVATIVE TARGETS

CT

Con

16.8 % maj %A maj

*David Jones
Defending party candidate Conservati ve candidate

Type

From

Bridgend Delyn Gower Vale of Clwyd
Brecon & Radnorshire     LIB DEM TARGETS Swansea West Montgomeryshire

FST CT R CT
R

Lab Lab Lab Lab
LD

5.9 6.1 6.4 7.1 9.6 -

*Madeleine Moon *David Hanson *Chris Ruane
*Roger Williams Chris Davies

Type C R

From Lab Con

% maj 1.4 3.5

Defending party candidate ^Geraint Davies ^Glyn Davies

Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds Plaid Cymru candidate

PLAID CYMRU TARGETS Ynys Môn Llanelli

Type R FST

From Lab Lab

% maj 7.1 12.6

Defending party candidate *Albert Owen *Nia Griffith

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Vote share in Wales (per cent) since 1974
60 54.7 50 46.8 40 30 25.9 20 16 10 0 1974 1974 1979 1983 1987 1992 1997 2001 2005 2010 Feb Oct 10.8 15.5 10.8 10.6 8.1 7.8 23.9 32.2 49.5 48.6 45.1 37.5 31 23.2 17.9 7.3 12.4 8.9 29.5 28.6 19.6 21 14.3 12.3 13.8 9.9 21.4 18.4 12.6 49.5 48.6 42.7 36.2 26.1 20.1 11.3 Conservative Labour Lib Dem Plaid Cymru

The Conservatives made respectable progress in Wales in 2010, winning several marginal seats (Cardiff North, Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, Aberconwy) from Labour and picking up Montgomeryshire from the idiosyncratic Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik. Labour recovered Blaenau Gwent from an Independent. Labour’s vote share across Wales was lower than it was in 1983. In terms of recovery since 2010, though, Wales has been one of Labour’s better areas, particularly in the last couple of years as the Conservatives held on reasonably well in the 2011 Assembly elections. Labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones is broadly popular. Recent polling suggests that Labour are at around 48 per cent, to 23 per cent for the Conservatives and Lib Dems, UKIP and Plaid Cymru all around 8-9 per cent each. Labour can probably expect some good results in Wales in 2015. Cardiff North looks highly likely to go to Labour’s Mari Williams, particularly as incumbent Conservative Jonathan Evans is standing down. The Conservatives seem to be holding up a bit better in rural Wales than in the Cardiff area, but in the 2012 local elections they even lost Monmouthshire council. In general election conditions, Monmouth and Clwyd West can be regarded as being the only two safe Tory seats in Wales (even though both were Labour in 1997 and 2001), and the Pembrokeshire seats are next most reliable. Some Welsh seats are strongly affected by local issues and personalities and can change hands in rather unpredictable ways. Plaid Cymru lost Ynys Mon to Labour and Ceredigion to the Lib Dems in 2001 and 2005 respectively and cannot be entirely ruled out from making a recovery, although both seats will probably stay with their new parties. The same applies to Montgomeryshire, a Conservative gain from Lib Dem in 2010 and again in 2011 for the Assembly.

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30 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has 18 constituencies. The party system in the province is completely different from that in any other part of the UK. The main three Westminster parties are not contenders (although the Conservatives were running in alliance with the Ulster Unionist Party in 2010, that link has now been dissolved). There are two key determinants of who wins a Northern Ireland constituency – the balance between Nationalist and Unionist communities, and to what extent each community rallies around one candidate. Since the end of the Troubles voting in Northern Ireland has polarised, with the Democratic Unionist Party becoming the leading Unionist party, and Sinn Fein becoming the leading Nationalist party. Sinn Fein MPs do not vote at Westminster, so they can be excluded from any calculations about majorities and hung parliaments. All five Sinn Fein seats appear safe – two (Belfast West and Mid Ulster) have been successfully defended in by-elections. The Nationalist SDLP holds three seats, all of which it looks set to hold – majority Nationalist Foyle (Derry) and South Down, and mixed Belfast South. The DUP holds eight seats and is likely to retain most if not all of them. Antrim South seems to have more of a UUP base than some other seats and that party poses something of a threat, and two seats (Belfast North and Upper Bann) have relatively narrow Unionist majorities that could be vulnerable if Sinn Fein performs strongly. The other two seats have strong Unionist majorities but are represented by an MP from the cross-community Alliance Party (Belfast East) and an independent ex-UUP MP close to Labour (North Down). The probability is that both will stay with incumbents, although in theory the DUP could challenge strongly. It is quite possible that no Northern Ireland seats will change hands between 2010 and 2015.

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A constituency to watch…

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31 Hampstead And Kilburn 1

‘Hampstead liberal’ is often used as a term of abuse by the right-wing press and politicians – and even sometimes the more law-and-order Labour minister like David Blunkett. However, politicians in 2015 may wish to avoid anti-Hampstead comments, because it is a crucial marginal seat.

31.1 Result 2010 Most of the constituency is in the London Borough of Camden, but since 2010 it has included three wards from the neighbouring borough of Brent, just across the Kilburn High Road. The Conservatives are strongest in the ultra-affluent Frognal & Fitzjohns ward, essentially the western half of Hampstead which slopes up from Finchley Road, and in Swiss Cottage at the bottom of the hill. The wards of Hampstead Town itself and Belsize are contested between Conservatives and Lib Dems, while the separate community of West Hampstead (West Hampstead and Fortune Green wards) has been the Lib Dem stronghold. Labour’s strength is to be found in Kilburn and Queens Park, although it has had to cope with Lib Dem competition in recent years. Hampstead and Kilburn (and its predecessor constituencies) have a fascinating electoral history. Labour won Hampstead for the first time ever in 1966, defeating former Conservative Home Secretary Henry Brooke, but lost it again in 1970 to Geoffrey
(Mapping image produced from the Ordnance Survey electionmap service © Crown copyright and database right 2013)
1

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Finsberg. Finsberg hung on until 1992, when Labour’s Glenda Jackson made a notable gain on a disappointing night for her party. For a while it looked like a safe Labour seat, but the Liberal Democrat vote rose in 2001 and 2005 and it became a three-way marginal. The constituency has a strange record in politics, in that there have only been two elections in the last half-century where it has swung in favour of an incumbent government – 1966 and October 1974. It is therefore something of an oppositional seat! Boundary changes in 2010 were thought to have made it more vulnerable to the Lib Dems, and they campaigned extremely hard, but in a cliff-hanging result Jackson had eked out one last victory, by 42 votes over the surprisingly strong Conservative campaign run by their candidate Chris Philp. The Lib Dems were close behind in third place. All three main parties have, by contemporary standards, high levels of membership and activism locally. In the long term, demographic change may push Hampstead over into the Conservative column (as it has for instance in Fulham and Battersea) but looking forward to 2015 the most important factor is likely to be Hampstead’s tendency to react against the government of the day, which should favour Labour. Labour may also benefit from the adherence of left-wing voters in both Kilburn and Hampstead who voted Lib Dem in 2010. Against this, Labour will lose a certain amount from Glenda Jackson’s personal vote. Labour are the most likely winners, but Hampstead & Kilburn is of interest to all the parties. This is apparent from the candidates selected by the three main parties – they are all interesting and significant people, and the quality of campaign and debate in the seat in 2015 is likely to be very high.

31.2 The candidates Tulip Siddiq (Labour) Tulip Siddiq defends the constituency for Labour. She is a Camden councillor, in the Cabinet with responsibility for Culture and Communities, and came within one vote of being elected leader of the council in 2012. She was first elected in 2010. She has national connections, having worked as a researcher for Philip Gould, Tessa Jowell and assisted Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010. She won a fiercely contested all-women shortlist selection for the constituency in summer 2013. In internal selections she has generally been regarded as the ‘left’ candidate although she is within the party mainstream. She is personable, articulate, extremely hard-working and fiercely ambitious. She comes from a notable Bangladesh political dynasty – her grandfather founded the country in 1971 and her aunt is currently the Prime Minister – and was born in London.

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Simon Marcus (Conservative) Simon Marcus is one of the most interesting Conservative candidates to be selected so far for a hopeful seat. He stood in Barking in 2010 and is proud of having beaten Nick Griffin of the BNP for second place to Labour. He is founder of a charity working with troubled and deprived young people in north London and was a member of a panel of inquiry into the 2011 riots. He writes that “My father was an immigrant and an NHS doctor. He and my grandparents grew up in poverty. They taught me never to forget their struggle and about values. That’s not about judging people. That’s about hard work, respect, compassion, taking responsibility for yourself, for society and doing the right thing.” He is probably one of the most persuasive exponents of Ian Duncan Smith style ‘compassionate social conservatism’. Demographic trends, and the retirement of Glenda Jackson, suggest he may have a better chance in this three-way marginal than many other Tory hopefuls.

Maajid Nawaz (Liberal Democrat) Nawaz is one of the most interesting candidates so far declared for the 2015 election. He is a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir who has renounced extremism. He now works with organisations such as Quilliam educating against extreme Islamism and has written a memoir, Radical, describing his ideological journey. He is a persuasive, intelligent speaker and thinker and recruiting him as a candidate was a bit of a coup for the Lib Dems. The party will no doubt give him considerable prominence, as it has been embarrassed in the past by its lack of diversity. However, he first needs to win Hampstead & Kilburn where his predecessor Ed Fordham came a narrow third in 2010 despite the party throwing everything into the campaign.

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Candidates to watch – the stars of the next Parliament?

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While many of Labour’s notable new entrants in 2001 and 2005 and were often former special advisers, journalists or other people connected with the party centrally, the pattern for all parties in 2015 looks a little different. Constituency organisations in all parties are increasingly demanding local credentials, and the process of winning a selection in a marginal or safe seat is increasingly rigorous and expensive for the candidates. Many observers feel that the 2010 and 2015 intakes are lacking in ‘star quality’ and this feeling is probably justified. However, each intake has its new MPs who are expected to make a mark – some as future ministers, some as awkward backbenchers. The majority of ‘ones to watch’ are currently Labour candidates for a couple of reasons. The next election, as discussed, is likely to see Labour making net progress while it is harder to see where Conservative and Lib Dem gains might come from. The Conservatives have also, in contrast to their nearly full slate in target seats, been slow to select candidates in their safe seats with retiring MPs (perhaps as a conscious strategy to encourage strong candidates to apply for target seats). The number of retirements and seats changing hands in 2010 mean that the new intake of 2015 might be comparatively small, because so many current MPs started their service only at the last election.

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32 Labour
32.1 Polly Billington Constituency: Thurrock Incumbent MP: Jackie Doyle-Price (Con) Likelihood of winning: Likely

Polly Billington is something of a force of nature – extrovert, confident and down to earth. From 2007 until 2011 she was press adviser and spokesperson for Ed Miliband and before that she was a journalist for Today and other BBC news programmes. She is currently working as head of campaigns for Citizens Advice. She is a canny populist and a strong campaigner, and with her background with Ed Miliband and journalism it is easy to see her with a public-facing role at the centre of the government. She is perhaps a Labour analogue to Harlow’s Rob Halfon, one of 2010’s star new entrants. 32.2 Mari Williams

Constituency: Cardiff North Incumbent MP: Jonathan Evans (Con), retiring Swing required: 0.2 per cent Likelihood of winning: Very Likely

A former Deputy Head teacher, Mari Williams is seeking to represent Cardiff North, the area where she grew up. She notes that her “career in the public sector has given me experience and perspective of the world outside politics”. She is also an active member of the Fabian Society, and sat on the National Executive until recently. She is a keen cyclist and swimmer. Likeable, intelligent, and a good public speaker, she is likely to quickly rise up the ranks of the Parliamentary Labour Party if she is elected in 2015. The omens look good for her.

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32.3 Rowenna Davis

Constituency: Southampton Itchen Incumbent MP: John Denham (Lab), retiring Swing required: Defending Likelihood of winning: Very Likely

Rowenna Davis is probably the most prominent of Labour’s likely new MPs after 2015. She is defending a very marginal seat where Labour hung on in 2010. She is known as a frequent commentator in the press and broadcast media (Guardian, New Statesman, Sky) and author of a sympathetic book about ‘Blue Labour’. Elected to Southwark council in a 2011 by-election, she lived in Southampton for six months prior to selection. While ambitious and young, she is principled and pleasant. She will turn 30 years old during the 2015 election campaign. 32.4 Anna Turley

Constituency: Redcar Incumbent MP: Ian Swales (Lib Dem) Swing required: 7.2 per cent Likelihood of winning: Likely

Anna Turley started her career as a civil servant but became a special adviser to David Blunkett and Hilary Armstrong. Her policy interests are local government, equality and social inclusion, and she has worked since government as an IPPR North policy fellow and an adviser to (and on) local government including a spell as Deputy Director of the New Local Government Network. Despite what sounds like a typical ‘insider’ CV, Anna Turley is a warm and down-to-earth person, with roots in County Durham. The mixture of Whitehall experience, charm and intelligence suggests Turley might be one of the first members of the 2015 intake to get a ministerial job – although she first has to win the seat. Redcar is one of the larger majorities in a Labour target seat, although the party can legitimately hope that the extraordinary result in 2010 (Lib Dem gain on a 22 per cent swing) in this working class seat was a freak. 32.5 Others Other candidates with something of a profile and from whom things are expect include Amina Lone (Morecambe & Lunesdale), Catherine West (Hornsey & Wood Green),Luke Pollard (Plymouth Sutton & Devonport), Nick Bent (Warrington South) and Jessica Asato (Norwich North). Many of these candidates have a local government background, and it is also worth noting that many of Labour’s ones to watch are female.

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33 Conservative
33.1 Kevin Foster

Constituency: Torbay Incumbent MP: Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem) Swing required: 4.2 per cent Likelihood of winning: Not very likely

Kevin Foster is the type of hardworking candidate the Conservative Party needs to perform the difficult task of winning seats in 2015. He is seeking to represent Torbay in Devon. He learned his political skills as a councillor in Coventry after studying at Warwick University, but has returned to the Devon, the county where he was born. He notes that “I have many happy memories of time spent in Paignton as a child and of working in the area to help fund my University studies”. Kevin has also worked in the past as a Criminal Defence Paralegal. As a key battleground with the Lib Dems, this will be a seat and candidate worth watching in 2015. 33.2 Rachel Maclean

Constituency: Birmingham Northfield Incumbent MP: Richard Burden (Labour) Swing required: 3.4 per cent Likelihood of winning: Not very likely

Given the strength of Gisela Stuart’s Labour campaigning operation in traditionally Tory Edgbaston, Northfield (in the far south west of the city), this might actually be the Conservatives’ best hope in Birmingham. Rachel Maclean is a local candidate who comes to politics from a publishing business she founded with her husband. She says she “is anything but a career politician, having come into politics later in life, after bringing up her family and experiencing some very tough times as the business went through rocky periods.” Some of the more likely Conservative entrants in 2015 are resolutely local candidates, such as Anne Marie Trevelyan (Berwick upon Tweed), and indeed many of the Conservative candidates portray themselves as almost ‘not party political’ – including Maclean and Marcus among the ‘ones to watch’. This, in turn, suggests that many of them will be likely to put constituency first and be difficult to whip in future parliaments, rather like 2010’s Zac Goldsmith and Sarah Wollaston.

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34 Lib Dem

Given that there are not many safe Lib Dem seats, and prospects of further gains are limited by the party’s weak national position in the polls, one can expect few new Lib Dem MPs to take office in 2015. 34.1 Lisa Smart

Constituency: Hazel Grove Incumbent MP: Sir Andrew Stunell (retiring) Swing required: Defending Likelihood of winning: Very likely

Perhaps the one new Lib Dem candidate who can be very confident of winning is Lisa Smart, who has worked in the financial sector (and stood as a GLA candidate in 2012) but stresses her local credentials in the safe Hazel Grove seat in suburban Manchester vacated by Sir Andrew Stunell. She is currently a charity Chief Executive. It is notable that in the three seats where Lib Dem MPs have retired and successors have been selected, all three are women. This will be welcome to the party which has been embarrassed by its lopsided parliamentary delegation (50 men and 7 women). Lisa Smart is one of the graduates of the Lib Dem Candidate Leadership Programme intended to train and develop parliamentary candidates.

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35 Conclusion

Our analysis suggests that, regardless of short-term fluctuations in morale, the fundamental dynamic of the next election is that Labour is on the offensive. The key question is really whether Labour can win enough seats from the Conservatives and Lib Dems to lead a government (as a minority, coalition or majority) or not. Notwithstanding the benefit Conservative MPs will receive from incumbency, both long term and short term trends appear to be favouring the Labour Party. By long term trend, clusters including coastal towns, London outlying suburbs, Northern suburbs and Pennine and Black Country are moving towards Labour, and this is supported by reports from campaigners on the ground. Labour have been boosted by the failure of the proposed boundary changes and returning support in the North and Midlands. Conservatives are publicly and privately committed to their strategy to protect 40 seats and gain another 40, and the assiduous way they have selected candidates in nearly all those seats suggests they are serious about it. Campaigners in all parties believe Lib Dem support is more resilient than the polls suggest, and coupled with the deserved reputation of Lib Dem MPs for tenacious campaigning and maximising incumbency, it makes it harder to see the Conservatives making significant gains at their expense. That said, the Lib Dem bravado, expressed in the media, does not appear matched by their record in selecting candidates in winnable seats, suggesting their strategy is largely defensive (the ’57 by-elections’ strategy). The rise of UKIP throws uncertainty into the mix, with Conservatives playing down their challenge, and Lib Dem and Labour strategists feeling confident they will predominantly take votes from the Conservatives. All parties were surprised by the scale and pattern of the UKIP advance in the May county elections. IT will play an important role in all the Parties’ attempts to “micro-target” key voters, but it appears the Conservatives are having the most difficulties in this area. Overall, it appears that rhetoric from Parties about “micro-targeting” is over-exaggerated, and is not focused on types of property ownership. So, all in all, there is all to play for in the run-up to 2015. Individual candidates can make a difference, with the right techniques and strategies, changing opinion in their own localities to win seats that might not have been secured otherwise.

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36 APPENDIX A: Selected candidates in target seats
36.1 Labour candidates in target seats # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Constituency Warwickshire North Thurrock Hendon Cardiff North Sherwood Norwich South Stockton South Broxtowe Lancaster & Fleetwood Bradford East (Lib Dem incumbent) Amber Valley Waveney Wolverhampton South West Morecambe & Lunesdale Carlisle Stroud Weaver Vale Lincoln Brighton Pavilion (Green incumbent) Plymouth Sutton & Devonport Dewsbury Warrington South Brent Central (Lib Dem incumbent retiring) Bedford Brighton Kemptown Pudsey Brentford & Isleworth Hove Enfield North Hastings & Rye Reg ion WM EE LN WA EM EE NE EM NW YH EM EE WM NW NW SW NW EM SE SW YH NW LN EE SE YH LN SE LN SE Patrick Hall Nancy Platts James Hanley Ruth Cadbury Peter Kyle Joan Ryan Sarah Owen MP for seat 1997-2010 Nick Bent Candidate for seat in 2010 SELECTION AUTUMN 2013 MP for seat 1997-2010 Candidate for Pavilion in 2010 Kevin Gillott Bob Blizzard Rob Marris Amina Lone Lee Sheriff David Drew Julie Tickridge Lucy Rigby Purma Sen Luke Pollard MP for seat 1997-2010 MP for seat 1997-2010 MP for seat 2001-10 Labour candidate Mike O’Brien Polly Billington Andrew Dismore Mari Williams Leonie Mathers Clive Lewis Louise Baldock Nick Palmer Cat Smith MP for seat 1997-2010 MP for seat 1997-2010; London Assembly member Notes MP for seat 1992-2010

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31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61

Manchester Withington Burnley (Lib Dem incumbent) Ipswich Dundee East (SNP incumbent) Dunbartonshire East (Lib Dem incumbent) Halesowen & Rowley Regis Nuneaton Gloucester Northampton North Bury North Kingswood Erewash Blackpool North & Cleveleys City of Chester Arfon (Plaid Cymru incumbent) Croydon Central Worcester Keighley Wirral West Cannock Chase Loughborough Harrow East Warwick & Leamington Birmingham Yardley (Lib Dem incumbent) Swindon South Ealing Central & Acton Pendle Stevenage Elmet & Rothwell Edinburgh West (Lib Dem incumbent) Watford

NW NW EE SC SC WM WM SW EM NW SW EM NW NW WA LN WM YH NW WM EM LN WM WM SW LN NW EE YH SC EE

Jeff Smith Julie Couper David Ellesmere Leader of council since 2011

Stephanie Peacock Vicky Fowler Rupi Dhanda Sally Keeble James Frith Catherine Atkinson Sam Rushworth Chris Matheson Alun Pugh Sarah Jones Joy Squires Margaret Greenwood Janos Toth Matthew O’Callaghan Lynette Kelly Jess Phillips Anne Snelgrove Azhar Ali Sharon Taylor Veronica King Cameron Day Matthew Leader of council and candidate in 2010 MP for seat 2005-10 Candidate for seat 2010; AM for Clwyd West 19992007 PCC candidate 2012, wife of past MP MP for seat 1997-2010

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Turmaine 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire Vale of Glamorgan Argyll & Bute (Lib Dem incumbent) Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale Carmarthen East & Dinefwr Norwich North High Peak Milton Keynes South Rossendale & Darwen Cleethorpes Somerset North East Great Yarmouth Dudley South Dover Colne Valley South Ribble Peterborough Stafford Stourbridge Harlow Aberconwy Ilford North Preseli Pembrokeshire Brigg & Goole Crewe & Nantwich Bristol North West Battersea Finchley & Golders Green Calder Valley Redcar (Lib Dem incumbent) Crawley Hornsey & Wood Green (Lib Dem incumbent) Reading West Rugby WA WA SC SC WA EE EM SE NW YH SW EE WM SE YH NW EE WM WM EE WA LN WA YH NW SW LN LN YH NE SE LN SE WM Adrian Heald Darren Jones Will Martindale Sarah Sackman Josh FentonGlynn Anna Turley Godfrey Daniel Catherine West Victoria Groulef Claire Edwards PCC candidate 2012 Leader, Islington Council Paul Miller Todd Foreman Lara Norris Natasha Millward Clair Hawkins Bin Joshi Barr Veronica Bennett Lisa Forbes Kate Godfrey Peter Lowe Suzy Stride Mary Wimbury Jessica Asato Caitlin Bisknell Andrew Pakes Will Straw Leader of council Candidate for Milton Keynes North in 2010 Delyth Evans

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96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106

Burton Cardiff Central (Lib Dem incumbent) Basildon South & East Thurrock Tamworth Redditch Chatham & Aylesford Swindon North Cambridge (Lib Dem incumbent) Bermondsey & Old Southwark (Lib Dem incumbent) Bristol West (Lib Dem incumbent) Leeds North West (Lib Dem incumbent)

WM WA EE WM WM SE SW EE LN SW YH

Jon Wheale Jo Stevens Mike Le Surf Carol Dean Rebecca Blake Tristan Osborne Mark Dempsey Daniel Zeichner Neil Coyle Thangam Debbonaire Alex Sobel Candidate for seat in 2010

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36.2 Lib Dem target seats

From Labour Constituency 1 Oldham East & Saddleworth 2 Sheffield Central 3 Ashfield 4 Edinburgh South 5 Chesterfield 6 Hampstead & Kilburn 7 Hull North 8 Rochdale 9 Edinburgh North & Leith 10 Derby North Reg. Candidate NW YH EM SC EM LN YH NW SC EM Lucy Care Contested seat 2010 Julia Cambridge Maajid Nawaz Mike Ross Notes

From Conservative Constituency 1 Camborne & Redruth 2 Oxford West & Abingdon 3 Truro & Falmouth 4 Newton Abbot 5 Harrogate & Knaresborough 6 Watford 7 Montgomeryshire 8 St Albans 9 Weston-super-Mare Hereford & South 10 Herefordshire 11 Devon West & Torridge 12 Winchester 13 Cornwall South East 14 Dorset West 15 Richmond Park Bosworth Reg. Candidate SW SE SW SW YH EE WA EE SW WM SW SE SW SW LN EM Robin Meltzer Michael Mullaney Contested seat 2010 Jackie Porter Phil Hutty Jane Dodds Sandy Walkington Mike Bell Lucy Hurds Contested seat 2010, 1987, 1983 Contested seat 2010 Richard YoungerRoss MP for seat 2001-10 Layla Moran Notes

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36.3 Conservative target seats From Lib Dem Constituency 1 Solihull 3 Wells 4 St Austell & Newquay 5 Sutton & Cheam 6 St Ives 7 Somerton & Frome 8 Chippenham 9 Berwick-upon-Tweed 10 Cornwall North 11 Cheadle 12 Eastbourne 13 Brecon & Radnorshire 14 Torbay 15 Cheltenham 16 Portsmouth South 17 Devon North 18 Hazel Grove Reg. Candidate WM SW SW LN SW SW SW NE SW NW SE WA SW SW SE SW NW Julian Knight Michael Tomlinson James Heappey Stephen Double Paul Scully Derek Thomas David Warburton Michelle Donelan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Scott Mann Mary Robinson Caroline Ansell Chris Davies Kevin Foster Alex Chalk Flick Drummond Peter Heaton-Jones William Wragg Notes

2 Dorset Mid & North Poole SW

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36.4 From Labour Constituency 1 Hampstead & Kilburn 2 Bolton West 3 Wirral South 4 Derby North 5 Dudley North 6 Telford 7 Walsall North 8 Morley & Outwood 9 Newcastle under Lyme Middlesbrough S & 10 East Cleveland 11 Nottingham South 12 Derbyshire North East 13 Chorley 14 Birmingham Northfield 15 Harrow West 16 Corby (by election) NL NL NL NL   ‘NL’ in table above means a seat with a small Labour majority which is not listed in the official Conservative ‘40/40’ strategy. Southampton Itchen Great Grimsby Birmingham Edgbaston Wakefield Reg. LN NW NW EM WM WM WM YH WM NE EM EM NW WM LN EM SE YH WM YH Candidate Simon Marcus Christopher Green John Bell Amanda Solloway Afzal Amin Lucy Allan Douglas Hansen Luke Andrea Jenkyns Tony Cox Will Goodhand Rowena Holland Lee Rowley Robert Loughenbury Rachel Maclean Hannah David Tom Pursglove Royston Smith Contested seat 2010, led council 2008-12 Notes

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37 APPENDIX B: Confirmed Retiring MPs and replacement candidates
The lists here include only fully confirmed retirements; there are several other cases of MPs who are widely expected to stand down at the next election but whose decision has not been formally announced (e.g. George Mudie), and senior MPs who may decide to retire (e.g. Sir Peter Tapsell, Dennis Skinner, Gerald Kaufman) 37.1 Conservative Seat Cambridgeshire South East Cardiff North Croydon South Hampshire North East Newark Northampton South Reigate South Ribble Tonbridge & Malling Wealden Worcestershire Mid R EE WA LN SE EM EM SE NW SE SE WM Status Safe C/L marginal Safe Safe Safe-ish C/L marginal Safe C/L marginal Safe Safe Safe Retiring MP James Paice Jonathan Evans Richard Ottaway James Arbuthnot Patrick Mercer* Brian Binley Crispin Blunt Lorraine Fullbrook John Stanley Charles Hendry Peter Luff New candidate

Open primary

Mercer is suspended from the Conservative parliamentary party. 37.2 Labour
Seat Bristol South Coventry North East Falkirk Greenwich & Woolwich Gower Lewisham Deptford Hampstead & Highgate Southampton Itchen R SW WM SC LN WA LN SE SE Status Safe Safe Safe-ish Safe Safe-ish Safe 3-way marginal L/C marginal Retiring MP Dawn Primarolo Bob Ainsworth Eric Joyce* Nick Raynsford Martin Caton Dame Joan Ruddock Glenda Jackson John Denham Vicky Foxcroft Tulip Siddiq Rowenna Davis New candidate Karin Smyth

Joyce is currently suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party.

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37.3 Lib Dem
Seat Berwick-upon-Tweed Brent Central North East Fife Gordon Hazel Grove Mid Dorset & Poole North Somerton & Frome R NE LN SC SC NW SW SW Status LD/C marginal LD/ Lab marginal Safe LD? LD/ SNP marginal Safe LD/C marginal LD/ C marginal Retiring MP Sir Alan Beith Sarah Teather Sir Menzies Campbell Malcolm Bruce Sir Andrew Stunell Annette Brooke David Heath Lisa Smart Vikki Slade New candidate Julie Pörksen

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38 APPENDIX C: Notes on method

38.1 Local election results 2013 The basis of the calculation is simply to add up the votes cast for each party in the county electoral divisions that make up a parliamentary constituency. This may sound uncomplicated, but in practice it is not. One basic complication is that in a number of cases a county electoral division has parts which are in more than one parliamentary constituency (both county divisions and constituencies tend to be made up of district council wards). This means that one has to divide the votes cast between two parliamentary constituencies. One can be a bit more sophisticated than just splitting them 50 per cent each side – it is usually possible to work out from the component district ward electorates in what proportion the county division is split. But this will be imprecise, as turnout varies within electoral divisions, and so do political preferences. Another complication is that parties do not run complete slates of candidates in county elections, while the major ones will do in general elections. If a party leaves some areas uncontested, its vote across the constituency will be artificially low in the projection – for instance, Great Yarmouth is a weak area for Lib Dems but they are realistically on more than 1 per cent of the vote. The same applies for uneven appearances by the smaller parties. Sometimes the apparent complexion of a constituency will be distorted by personal votes for council candidates – county electoral divisions can have as many as 22,000 electors so personal and local factors in one area can have a large overall effect. Take Lewes, for example. Lewes town was won overwhelmingly by an Independent in 2013, but in district and general elections Lewes town is one of the better Lib Dem areas of the constituency. Without the Independent, the Lib Dems may well have led rather than come third when the votes for the constituency are added up. Above all, one should not lose sight of the fact that turnout in local elections is around half of what one can expect in general elections.

38.2 The adjustment method for marginal seats There are three adjustments applied to the majorities in the seats contested between the Conservatives and Labour in order to obtain the ‘adjusted’ majority. The adjusted majority is intended to be a more accurate reading of which seats will change hands for a given national swing in opinion between Conservative and Labour than the raw majorities. 1. Incumbency. It has been noted in elections since 1970 that incumbency increasingly matters in British politics. An MP at the end of his or her first term will tend to do better than the national average, in part because of direct personal votes and in part through indirect mechanisms e.g. the local party probably working harder and being

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more engaged. An MP will retain this bonus throughout their term, but it cannot be passed on to their party’s successor candidate. ‘Double incumbency’ is when an incumbent MP is defeated at one election, and their party loses the incumbency bonus at the next election, while the new MP of the other party gains their first incumbency bonus. This effect can be quite strong, for instance there was an appreciable national swing from Lab to Con in 2001 but this hardly appeared in the marginals because it was counteracted by double incumbency in many places. Incumbency effects dampen the effects of a national swing, in either direction, making it harder than it may appear for either Conservatives or Labour to win an overall majority. 2. Locality. Most elections in recent times have shown variation in electoral performance between different regions and sorts of seat – for instance in 2010 Labour did well in Scotland, reasonably in London but badly in Eastern England, and in 2001 there was a higher swing in rural than urban seats. 3. Liberal Democrats. A feature of the current political landscape is that a left-leaning section of the electorate who voted Lib Dem in 2010 now – quite strongly – intend to vote Labour. It seems reasonable to incorporate this into the model so that the higher the 2010 Lib Dem vote in a Lab/Con marginal seat, the better the Labour performance will be. There are a couple of other factors that the adjustment does not take into account – but could be modified to do so. One is that it makes no explicit assumptions about how different social and demographic categories are varying. It may be, for instance, that one has to put in adjustments to assume a higher swing in seats with a lot of young people. Another possible adjustment would be to assess the potential of UKIP to take votes from the other parties and affect the swing. The working here takes the three factors into account as follows. 1. An incumbency factor of 1.5%. This means that the model adds 1.5% to the majority of first-time incumbents, and adds 1.5% to the majority if an incumbent MP was defeated in 2010. If an MP defeated in 2010 is standing again in 2015 (as in Bedford for instance) only 1.0% is added, reflecting a remnant of the previous personal vote. If the incumbent MP is standing down in 2015 (or is assumed to be doing so in a couple of cases), 1.5% is deducted from the majority. 2. Lord Ashcroft published a report in March 2013 ‘Marginal Territory’ with the results of a large poll he had undertaken in the marginal seats. Some regions (London) had below-average swing and therefore the Conservative majorities in London marginals will be more difficult to overturn, while Labour is doing better in seats in Kent and Essex. 3. Seats contested between Con and Lab, whose Lib Dem vote is above the average, are adjusted to reflect the larger pool of Lib Dem voters, and conversely Labour will find it harder to gain the votes needed to win in seats where there were not many Lib Dems in 2010.

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The overall effect is to make it harder for Labour or the Conservatives to win outright – it seems unlikely that Labour can win a majority without at least a slim lead in the national share of the vote. As evidenced in some previous elections (1987, 2001) the model builds in a bias towards the status quo. Several marginal seats are actually notionally ‘switched’ from one party to another. With all the adjustments considered, the following seats will change hands even if there is no national swing at all between the main parties. Labour gain from Conservative (4) Warrington South Lancaster & Fleetwood Weaver Vale Thurrock Conservative gain from Labour (3) Telford Walsall North Dudley North

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