MORE readers’ reports about your constituencies as the election campaign goes on. See below for how to submit your own report – don’t just leave it below the line – on the choice of candidates you have, which of them you plan to vote for and why, what you think of their chances and your stance on Brexit.
Current MP: Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Conservative)
Ian Cooper writes: Sir Patrick McLoughlin has stood down after over 30 years as the area’s MP.
The Conservative candidate is Sarah Dines, a London family-law barrister. An online search reveals that she stood for the no-hope seat of East Belfast in 1997, and I assume she has been continuing her attempts at the various elections since but with a low profile.
At last they appear to have found her a safe seat as the Conservatives took 60 per cent of the vote in 2017, with Labour second on half that, and her claimed rural farming background should go down fairly well in this seat.
When UKIP last stood in 2015 they beat the LibDems but BXP will not be in the race this time. It looks like a safe stroll for the Conservatives so that saves me the dilemma of deciding whether to vote BXP.
OLDHAM EAST AND SADDLEWORTH
Current MP: Debbie Abrahams (Labour)
Bruce Mills writes: OE&S’s MP since 2011 has been Debbie Abrahams of Labour. Educated, clever, articulate. Not shouty or chippy, is very active and seen to be hard-working on behalf of the disadvantaged and the deprived. She carries on the late Gerald Kaufman’s observations upon Israel’s delinquencies, particularly towards the Palestinians. She answers queries on HoC paper. Moreover, she is ruinously ‘woke’ and an avid remainer.
With a 60/40 per cent leave/remain population, it seems for this election OE&S is judged by the Daily Mail to be a key marginal which must be won by the Conservatives. Its candidate is a fella called Tom Lord who seems to want to get Brexit done’n’dusted. Beyond appearing young, shiny and polished, he’s also a legal and criminal barrister who drops his aitches.
Paul Brierley of the Brexit Party, from what I can gather, is a businessman/politico who has attempted to become an MEP a couple of times. His guff is standard, uninspired party leaflet fare.
The Lib Dems’ candidate is Sam Al-Hamdani, a 41-year-old sometime journalist and designer. Has done time (six years) proof-reading at the UN. Is a deeply involved environmentalist, and part of the LDs’ Racial Equality Working Group. Interestingly, he ‘performs improvisation’.
Wendy Olsen is the Green Party’s chump to be chucked into the fray. A professor in the party’s economics advisory group. A campaigner on lots, and particularises on socioeconomics, gender roles and sustainable development etc. Yikes!
Current MP: Rebecca Pow (Conservative)
A Concerned Resident writes: Rebecca Clark, known as Rebecca Pow, has been the MP for Taunton Deane since 2015. In 2017, she held the seat with a 52.5 per cent share of the vote. Her nearest rival, the Lib Dem candidate, took 27 per cent with the Labour Party in third place.
Rebecca Pow was a prominent Remain campaigner in the 2016 Referendum. I remember encountering her on a stall in Taunton town centre, where she was strongly advocating for a Remain vote. However, the constituency backed Leave with just under 53 per cent in favour. Even so, Rebecca held the seat in 2017, and consistently backed Theresa May’s ‘deal’.
She is standing again, as is her previous Lib Dem rival, Gideon Amos. There is also a Labour candidate and an Independent. So the electorate essentially has a choice between Rebecca the Remainer and Gideon the Remainer! The Labour Party’s policy appears to be to back a second Referendum (but I’m happy to be corrected on that point). I know nothing about the independent candidate. The Leave voting constituency does not have a clear Leave-supporting candidate, and so a section of the electorate has been disenfranchised.
The Tory approach, from a leaflet that came through the letter box, is going to be ‘Vote Brexit Party, get Corbyn’ – which is a useless statement, seeing that the Brexit Party isn’t standing. It’s not a great selling point, is it? Yes, we are rubbish, but the other lot are worse!
Who will win? I suspect Rebecca Pow will hang on, albeit with a reduced majority.
I also suspect that a lot of voters will stay at home this time round.
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