Monday 6 April 2015

10 Rural Seats Labour will need to win:

Now in the comments section we were asked if we would like a constituency guide. Always open to anything to do with the General Election we said "Yes!" Now here is the Second instalment. What are your thoughts? Do you have your own guide prediction AND you would like us to post it? (something better than I think "X" will win) Then mail us on

1st Instalment 10 Seats UKIP will be hoping to win
Constituency Guides By Sam Beesley

We often think of Labour generally doing well in cities, not least due to the large industrial areas and housing estates which typically favour the party. But if Labour wants to be the party in government, they will need to win rural seats as well. In England  and Wales Labour already have Copeland, Ynys Mon and Durham North West, but are under pressure in rural Scotland for obvious reasons.  Here are ten less urban seats that Ed Miliband wants to be coloured bright red on the map.

Somerset North East

MP at Dissolution: Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative

Likely Outcome: Conservative Hold

Popular MP Jacob Rees Mogg, (sometimes nicknamed the ‘Honourable Member for the early 20th century’) is standing again after gaining the seat in 2010. He has a majority of over 4,000 and the seat mainly consists of small villages which generally favour the Conservatives. Yet this seat is a Labour target due to the two small towns in the seat. Midsomer Norton and Keynsham have historic ties with coal-mining, a profession which typically favours Labour. The Labour candidate is a new one, and Rees-Mogg is generally popular locally, so I think he is staying put for now.

Vale of Glamorgan

MP at Dissolution: Alun Cairns (Welsh Office Minister), Conservative

Likely Outcome: Conservative Hold

Alun Cairns is a former Welsh Assembly member and is well known and fairly popular, and polling has  put him well ahead of Labour, and this constituency only really has one Labour bastion, Barry Docks. UKIP are doing well in South Wales so unless the quantity of UKIP votes taken  from Labour are very small,  this is a probable Conservative hold.

Preseli Pembrokeshire

MP at Dissolution: Stephen Crabb (Secretary of State for Wales), Conservative

Likely Outcome: Conservative Hold

Alun Cairns’ superior, Stephen Crabb is the local MP, and the same circumstances  pretty much apply here as in Vale of Glamorgan. Both Welsh Office ministers should stay. Crabb is under a bigger threat, but there are many Tory retirees who should see him through.


MP at Dissolution: Neil Carmichael, Conservative

Likely Outcome: Labour Gain

If former MP David Drew wasn’t the Labour candidate I would have been unsure, but Drew is very popular. The rural seat contains the small towns of Dursley and Stonehouse as well as the larger Stroud, which itself is home to a large literary community and Green and Labour councillors. Green supporters will be likely to tactically vote Labour, and UKIP and the Lib Dems are outsiders. Carmichael will have to perform very well to stop David Drew.

Rossendale and Darwen

MP at Dissolution: Jake Berry, Conservative

Likely Outcome: Unsure

Despite the 9% swing needed to oust Jake Berry, Labour is doing well. The local Labour candidate is Will Straw, son of former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. This area is the one of the odd patches of blue in the Northern city areas, and the area is more industrial than others in the area. UKIP will probably have an impact on the result, so this will be hard to call, but Will Straw is local and well-known, which could give him the edge.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

MP at Dissolution: Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru

Likely Outcome: Plaid Cymru Hold

It’s Plaid’s only seat outside of the Gwynedd area, but is home to a Welsh speaking community, who tend to vote Plaid. If this wasn’t Plaid it would be Labour but Edwards is very likely to return to Parliament.

Brigg and Goole

MP at Dissolution: Andrew Percy, Conservative

Likely Outcome: Narrow Conservative Hold

Andrew Percy is often seen at PMQs asking about local issues, so I should think he’s popular with locals. Goole is a Labour bastion, and borders Yvette Cooper’s stronghold of Normanton, whilst Brigg is the exact opposite. The key to this is Percy himself, and he’s popular, so why should this not be a Conservative hold? Like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Percy was frequently seen on Inside the Commons.

Colne Valley

MP at Dissolution: Jason McCartney, Conservative

Likely Outcome: Narrow Conservative Hold

Jason McCartney is a huge promoter of the Colne Valley, even at PMQs (much to the disgust of Nadine Dorries, who was sat behind him). An Ashcroft poll put him one point ahead. Both Labour and the Lib Dems are strong here, so it is possible it will be a Labour seat afterwards, but McCartney has a slightly split opposition, which is likely to let him through.

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

MP at Dissolution: Sandra Osborne, Labour

Likely Outcome: SNP Gain

This seat just happens to be fairly rural.  Like most Scottish seats the MP’s personal vote will not be enough to see them through.

Ynys Mon

MP at Dissolution: Albert Owen, Labour

Likely Outcome: Narrow Labour Hold

Plaid think they can win here, but they tend to overestimate their chances. They thought they had a chance of taking Ynys Mon (Angelsey in English) in 2010, but they failed. At that point the Labour vote had dropped, rather than increasing. Despite a reportedly strong campaign, I think Albert Owen is staying in the Commons. No other parties are really in contention.

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