YESTERDAY we invited readers to send 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. Here are some of the early replies:
Current MP: Justin Tomlinson (Conservative)
Alan Potts writes: Tomlinson comes across as a cipher, a man with the charisma of a four-day-old Chelsea bun and the oratory of Marcel Marceau. He seems to have no political principles above the retention of his cushy job and the attendant salary. He was a self-proclaimed Leaver, who voted three times for the May WA and supported her in the December confidence vote. He converted into an ardent Boris lover as soon as it was clear that Johnson would become leader.
I swallowed my pride and voted for him in 2017 – it won’t happen again. The party and the MP have lied to me too often and will never have my vote in future. The addition of thousands of new-build homes since 2005 ensure this constituency won’t revert to Labour, so Tomlinson will carry on as an overpaid piece of lobby fodder.
As a fully committed Leaver, I will abstain or vote BXP.
This eloquent column says so much of how I feel, but written more clearly and precisely than I could ever manage. Disillusion writ large!
Sitting MP: Maria Miller (Conservative)
Hank Rearden writes: The Conservatives have held the Basingstoke constituency since the 1930s, typically achieving between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of the vote. The current incumbent, Maria Miller, has held the seat since 2005; she enjoys a majority of approximately 9,500. She had held a number of ministerial posts including Minister for Disabled People, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport and Minister for Women & Equalities. On the last one she really swallowed the kool-aid and is a proponent of the gender pay gap theory. She voted for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement every time it was put before the Commons.
There are four declared candidates: Sashi Mylvaganam (Liberal Democrats), Kerena Marchant (Labour), Caroline Gladwin (Brexit Party) and the incumbent Maria Miller for the Conservatives.
I will vote Brexit Party. I didn’t vote Conservative in the last election and I regard the MP as a CINO like so many of the current parliamentary Conservative Party.
Miller was forced to resign from the Cabinet in April 2014 because she had over-claimed expenses. This did not however unseat her, so her position looks to be strong. In the 2015 election UKIP achieved a high water mark of 8,290 so there is a Eurosceptic flavour in the constituency. In 2016 it voted to leave by a majority of 4,000. So whilst the Brexit party probably can’t win here, a really strong performance might see them shear away enough of her support to give the seat to either Labour or the Liberals. This is unlikely but possible.
ESHER & WALTON
Sitting MP: Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Timothy R Sullivan wrote:
Majority: large. Seat has always been Tory.
In the 2016 Referendum, the constituency voted overwhelmingly to Remain. Although there is great wealth in this area (council tax akin to Kensington) there is clearly great fear that leaving the EU will make au pairs and other live-in conveniences very much more expensive. Nearby constituencies, such as Guildford and Sutton, have been over taken by the Lib Dems. These were once also Tory strongholds. If the Referendum result in Esher & Walton is an indicator, it could well be that the Lib Dems eat into the Tory vote here as well, perhaps overturning it altogether. Given also that Dominic Raab (once considered leadership material) faded away quite so quickly, both as ‘Leaving the EU’ Minister, and as party leadership candidate, his personal popularity has been considerably dented. Ultimately, the decider here will be whether Boris persuades enough of the country to follow him (with the promised tax cuts, of course) or whether, in the end, the rampant self-interest of the average Elmbridge resident will win out, with Remain sentiment to the fore.
Send your reports (no more than 250 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘Election watch’ in the subject line.
Give your own name or your TCW commenter name and don’t forget to name your constituency and your MP in the last Parliament. We hope readers will write from all 650 constituencies. We will publish as many as we can!