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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 first 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 email@example.com
Constituency Guides By Sam Beesley
Nigel Farage says UKIP will win ‘lots of seats’ in May. No one actually knows what number of seats he thinks he will win, or have any real idea of how many they will win. Here are 10 constituencies they will definitely have their eyes on, and how I think they will fare.
MP at dissolution: Douglas Carswell, UKIP
Likely Outcome: UKIP Hold
This should be a definite UKIP hold based on the by-election. It has high numbers of older people, a demographic which tends to favour UKIP, and has a very popular local MP, Douglas Carswell, which every politico knows defected to UKIP in late 2014. He has a 12,000 strong majority from the by-election, and had a 44 percent swing to him at the by-election also. These circumstances mean that a UKIP hold is certain.
MP at dissolution: Laura Sandys (retiring), Conservative
Likely Outcome: UKIP Gain
Local MP Laura Sandys, will not be standing again at this election and will be replaced by former UKIP deputy leader Craig Mackinlay. The more notable candidate, however is UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who will most likely receive a personal vote here. Thanet South is similar to Clacton in its makeup, with high numbers of older people, suggesting a UKIP gain here.
MP at dissolution: Ian Austin, Labour
Likely Outcome: Unsure
This constituency has been a Tory-Labour marginal, but due to many voters switching support, and a high-profile former Tory candidate, Afzal Amin, it is hard to tell what will happen here. Both Labour and UKIP are strong contenders to win, and both dbut due to the fact Ian Austin has an incumbency effect, I think Labour have the edge. This will probably one of the closest contests of them all. Bill Etheridge MEP is the UKIP candidate.
MP at dissolution: Michael Thornton, Liberal Democrat
Likely Outcome: Narrow Lib Dem Hold
Chris Huhne’s former seat. This constituency is a three-way marginal, with UKIP, the Lib Dems and the Tories doing well locally. MEP Diane James stood for UKIP at a 2013 by-election, 1771 votes short of defeating the Lib Dems but for personal reasons will not be standing again, causing a lost personal vote. I feel if UKIP couldn’t take it then, then they will not now. With few Labour supporters switching sides and more importantly, few Labour supporters anyway, some may tactically vote Liberal Democrat as well.
MP at dissolution: Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative
Likely outcome: UKIP gain
Thurrock is in a similar situation to Eastleigh, but with Labour playing the role of the Lib Dems. Conservative Doyle-Price has a majority of 92 votes, so UKIP can take votes from both parties. An Ashcroft poll put UKIP ahead of both major parties, and I feel that will stay the same. Another MEP, Tim Aker is standing for UKIP. This constituency is demographically suited to UKIP as well, with many working-class voters, and in UKIP’s ‘heartland’ of Essex and Kent.
MP at dissolution: Rebecca Harris, Conservative
Likely outcome: Unsure
Although this seat seems notionally Conservative, it isn’t. An Ashcroft Poll put UKIP one point behind, so it may go the other way. This seat has seen strong campaigning recently, so it is possible it could change hands if the campaigning works.
MP at dissolution: Austin Mitchell (retiring), Labour
Likely outcome: Narrow UKIP gain
2010 Conservative candidate Victoria Ayling is standing for UKIP this time round, and Austin Mitchell is retiring. One personal vote lost, one kept safe. This area has many unemployed people, who may vote UKIP, Labour or Conservative. It doesn’t seem like a UKIP seat, but many feel it will change hands, and is UKIP’s number one Labour-held target nationally.
Rochester and Strood
MP at dissolution: Mark Reckless, UKIP
Likely outcome: Unsure
You would think voters UKIP’s second seat would stay loyal to UKIP. But no. Mark Reckless, who also defected, had a small majority at the by-election, and when the government is at stake, many supporters may switch back to the Tories. The same Tory candidate is standing again, and is putting a strong local campaign. But a leaked list stated that this was not a Tory target. Reckless also has a personal vote, although is much less popular than Douglas Carswell.
Boston and Skegness
MP at dissolution: Mark Simmonds (retiring), Conservative
Likely outcome: UKIP gain
This seat has high levels of immigration, which could lead many to UKIP candidate and local councillor, Robin Hunter-Clarke. Tory MP Mark Simmonds stood down, ending any incumbency effect. Polls suggest this is UKIP’s most likely gain other than South Thanet. UKIP polled 9.5 per cent in 2010. These circumstances couldn’t be more favourable for UKIP.
MP at dissolution: Brandon Lewis (housing minister), Conservative
Likely outcome: Narrow Conservative hold
Here a UKIP gain is possible, and many voters could vote UKIP to oust a Tory minister. Lewis has been MP for only five years, but with this also being a Labour target, UKIP could decide the result even if they don’t win. This UKIP’s main target in Norfolk, and with more heavy campaigning in nearby Waveney (likely to be a Labour gain), there will be a big push to take this seat, yet I still feel the Tories will hold the seat, due to a lesser Labour vote share.
Based on this I predict that:
UKIP will hold Clacton and will gain Boston and Skegness, Great Grimsby, South Thanet and Thurrock.
These 10 seats will decide UKIP’s fate in May. More constituency guides are to come.