On Thursday the country goes to the polls for the 2019 General Election. Political expert Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) looks at the betting and pinpoints a few selections for a collection of consistencies.
General Election | Thursday 12th December 2019
While the Conservatives are heavy favourites with the bookies to win the General Election overall, there’s some value to be had on the outcome of individual marginal constituencies across the country.
There’s a lot to factor in when considering the winner in these seats given the complex political environment we currently live in but I’ve found some selections in areas of the country which will be the big difference between winning and losing the election.
Situated in the suburban area of Greater Manchester, the Cheadle constituency was a three-way battle in 2017 between the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour and those are the only three parties standing here again.
Traditionally, Labour has a strong network of support in and around Manchester and has more than doubled its number of votes in the seat since the 2010 election, however the ‘remain’ votes are likely to end up being split between Labour and the Lib Dems.
If you combined the number of votes Labour and the Lib Dems received at the last election it stands at over 29,000 which would be a 5,000 odd majority over the Tories, but with the Conservative candidate Mary Robinson standing as the only pro-Brexit candidate (despite originally backing remain), leave voters may well feel that they only have one real way to go.
The Lib Dem campaign as a whole has not made the impact the party would have hoped – Jo Swinson’s ‘stop Brexit at all costs’ message failing to hit home and the party are seemingly losing voters to Labour as the only viable candidates to stop a Tory majority government.
Some Labour voters will no doubt switch to the Lib Dems here in a tactical vote but I simply can’t see enough numbers doing so to overturn a 8.3% current majority.
Cheadle may have voted to remain in the EU referendum but a constituency with a majority 65 or over population is unlikely to switch to one of the other two contenders in sufficient numbers to cause an upset here. Therefore, I’m backing the Conservatives to win the Cheadle seat at evens with Betway.
Chingford & Woodford Green
This is a straight fight between the current incumbent, former minister and Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, and Labour’s activist Faiza Shaheen.
IDS, as he’s sometimes referred to, has been member of parliament here since 1992 but will have never been under as much threat to losing his seat in Westminster as he is at this election. As minister for the Department for Work and Pensions, Smith’s hard-line reputation grew and grew and many Labour voters saw him as one of the main faces of austerity in the early part of this decade.
One memorable scene in parliament was Smith punching the air with delight at a budget speech given by then Chancellor George Osborne announcing further cuts. Moments like this will stick in the mind of Labour voters who, no matter their views on Jeremy Corbyn, will want to oust a big name figure in this election.
Labour’s core support in central London expanded to more of the outskirts in the last election and with more and more young, ethnically diverse families are moving out of the city centre to areas like Chingford to seek more affordable housing, the potential share of the vote Labour could pick up here is increasing.
The seat has gone from being a safe Tory seat to marginal in the last 2 elections with a combined 12.4% swing to Labour in that time which indicates that a change in the party controlling this seat is not too far away.
Faiza Shaheen went to school in the area and is connecting with local people which share her background more than the typical figure of the establishment, Duncan Smith, has done for years. The Guardian identified her as a rising star in 2017 and having been selected as a candidate for this seat for over a year, it’s clear that Labour are backing their candidate big time to topple IDS.
Indeed, bus loads of supporters have been arriving from Labour’s ‘Momentum’ wing at weekends to canvas for Shaheen who has been knocking on doors for over a year to rally votes. A rather incredible 700 people knocked on doors in support for Shaheen in one weekend back in November, demonstrating how hard Labour has pushed this as one of their key target seats. With the Green party candidate stepping aside here, it’s clear that Labour are not the only ones who would like to see Smith sent packing.
Having run her own economic think tank, Shaheen has been studying class divides for years so knows what areas of people’s lives to talk about to win votes. The constituency voted marginally for remain back in 2016 but with Duncan Smith being such a staunch Brexiteer, the message he has been putting across to locals could put off a lot of moderate voters who would rather an orderly Brexit or a second referendum than anything the Tories are proposing through their ‘get Brexit done’ message.
Labour to win the seat at 15/8 with Bet365 is my second selection.
Based in north Wales, Delyn is currently with Labour but the leave voting constituency could well follow the national polling trend for Wales in turning increasingly blue. Current MP, David Hanson, is a staunch remainer and even admitted earlier on this year that he’d sacrifice losing his seat in parliament if it meant Article 50 was revoked.
The nearby constituency of Wrexham is seeing a 20 point drop off for Labour in polling and the polling for Delyn itself is indicating a shift to the Tories too. Whilst Labour may hold most seats in Wales, they will largely be contained in the south of the country and more rural areas of the north contain largely white and older voters which traditionally vote Conservative.
The Conservatives to win the seat is 23/20 with Unibet and is my final selection.