THIS is the second batch of readers’ reports from and about your constituencies, 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: Michael Ellis (Conservative)
Martin Ward writes: Before Northampton North constituency was created in 1974, there was Northampton, whole and complete. And from 1945 until its dissolution it elected just one MP, Reginald Paget, a fox-hunting Labour MP: the town remembered its country roots. London overspill to the east and later massive house building to the south and west has seen an overwhelming increase in population whilst the town centre dies.
Our MP is Michael Ellis (Conservative). He is hard-working and responsive to requests for help. But he was hard pushed at the last election by evergreen Sally Keeble (Labour), a former MP of the constituency and ‘Blair babe’, winning by only 807 votes. So Northampton North is an obvious seat for a split Leave vote to let in Labour (though UKIP only polled 1.2 per cent in 2017). And if I am a typical voter that is what will happen. Initially won over by Boris’s energy and optimism, I supported his agreement. I now see it as highly vulnerable and will vote for the Brexit Party despite my real affinity being with the SDP (its time will come). By highly vulnerable may I quote the excellent Briefings for Brexit newsletter: ‘Boris Johnson’s deal offers a path to economic freedom for the UK, but it is a narrow one.’ I just don’t think Boris or the Conservative Party is capable of staying on that path.
Do I fear Labour? Not in the long run. Millions can see and experience the expensive farce that is the privatisation of the power utilities and the railways. As a former worker in the water industry, that privatisation particularly sticks in my craw. Even now consultants crow over coming up with ‘smart’ solutions to London’s water supply to enable the Victorian infrastructure to cope with ever increasing demand. Well, over 30 years ago Thatcher was extolling this privatisation because the new companies would be able to go to the markets to fund overhauling said infrastructure!
Current MP: Stephen Lloyd (Lib Dem)
Nigel Ford writes: You used to weigh the Conservative vote in Eastbourne, like many formerly safe Tory seats in Sussex. In 2010 I knew the Lib Dems were going against the tide of Conservative gains as Stephen Lloyd’s hard work paid off in deposing Tory MP Nigel Waterson, who wasn’t helped in being disowned by his own constituency chairman, as you couldn’t move for the sea of orange posters.
In 2015 it seemed a foregone conclusion Lloyd would be re-elected as he was a hands-on MP, unlike his semi-detached predecessor (although I found Waterson, who always got my vote, very personable). Some research carried out by Lord Ashcroft in marginal constituencies shortly before the Election showed LD with a 20-point lead in Eastbourne.
It looked like easy money to put a sizeable sum of cash on an LD victory and when I saw some LD canvassers telling them that, even though I was abstaining, they exhaled in surprise as if to say ‘I wish I had your confidence, mate.’ The Conservative, Caroline Ansell, won the seat by 733 votes.
In May 2017 I caught up with Stephen Lloyd and he said: ‘I lost it in the last few days when Cameron’s warning of not voting Tory would usher in a Lab/SNP government.’ When I said Remain-supporting Lewes was more likely to vote LD in this Election than Leave backing Eastbourne, he disagreed with me, saying ‘Lewes is a lost cause, but I’m pretty hopeful.’
I wasn’t so sure, thinking if he couldn’t win in 2015 why should he win in 2017? The Conservative, Caroline Ansell, had done a good job. But he pulled it off (helped by my vote and 1,608 others) although the national LD percentage was even lower than their poor showing two years earlier.
Can he win again? I haven’t a clue. Nice chap, that Stephen Lloyd.
Current MP: Keith Simpson (Conservative) Majority: 15,816
Michael Fahey (39 Pontiac Dream) writes: Keith Simpson has been the Conservative MP for our constituency since 2010, his majority lifting year upon year: a 2.8 per cent jump in 2010, 4.3 per cent in 2015 and 7.4 per cent in 2017. Our constituency also voted leave in 2016 by 54.4 per cent to 45.6 per cent. Despite being a remainer, he has been a strong constituency MP and has diligently and thoughtfully helped Tina and me out on a couple of occasions. If he had been standing again, I have no doubt, even in the present political climate, he’d have won the seat again. He isn’t, though, and so far no Conservative candidate has been selected.
I have no idea how people will vote here come December 12. With neither Tory nor Brexit Party selecting a candidate so far, our constituents are playing the waiting game but in a strong Conservative seat, I can’t see further than Broadland turning blue again on election night.
As for me, I’m also playing the waiting game. I haven’t read anything from TBP which would make me vote for them and I don’t think I could vote Conservative again, especially since they are now a progressive party. When all the candidates are announced, I can start looking and put my cross where I think it should be. You know my views on tactical voting. If I go that way, it will be with a heavy heart.
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