THE latest 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. See below for how to submit your own report.
Current MP: Harriett Baldwin (Conservative)
Gavin McEwan writes: In rural, sleepy West Worcestershire, sitting Tory MP Harriett Baldwin seems to have imbibed a key lesson from the Duchess of Cambridge: never say or do anything interesting, smile a lot, and you’ll do just fine.
The constituency isn’t as true Blue as one might assume – the largely contiguous Malvern Hills District Council is currently under joint LibDem, Green and Independent control. Yet Baldwin, a former City banker, has increased her vote share from 50 per cent in 2010 (when she took over from former 1922 Committee chairman and ERG founder Michael Spicer), to 56 per cent in 2015, to 62 per cent in 2017.
She has put her name to a number of uncontroversial local causes, and her junior ministerial career rarely made the headlines before she was returned to the back benches by the incoming Boris after she supported Jeremy Hunt in the leadership contest.
A Remainer, she backed May’s Withdrawal Agreement but has opposed taking no-deal off the table. As the constituency’s referendum vote mirrored the national picture, no candidate is likely to be hugely helped or hindered by their Brexit stance. I feel safe voting TBP as a protest vote only.
In previous elections I’ve barely seen any campaigning in our small, largely apolitical market town, other than fleeting Labour visits which made little impact, and I expect the same again this time. In short, if you want to escape any excitement over the month ahead, come to West Worcestershire!
Grantham and Stamford
Current MP: Nick Boles (Conservative to 16 March 2019, thereafter Independent Progressive Conservative)
Sudi Nonym writes: Grantham and Stamford hasn’t had a happy political recent history for any side. Our previous MP Quentin Davies was a stereotypical ‘nasty’ country Tory who was fined for mistreatment of farm animals (pigs). In 2007 he crossed the floor to Gordon Brown, the then PM.
2010 saw Nick Boles parachuted in as a Cameron Tory. A gay who eventually took advantage of gay marriage, he was quietly tolerated (as was Alan Duncan nearby in Rutland) but was not often seen outside Westminster. Boles had a 20,000-plus majority in 2017.
With a leave count in the EU referendum of more than 60 per cent, he derided and ignored his local association as ‘Leave’ bumpkins. It was a harsh reminder of how CCHQ emasculated the local associations.
His stubborn Remain ‘Norway’ stance prompted outrage among the 60 per cent-plus and it became clear he was a closet Lib Dem in attitude if not as an activist. Perhaps ‘liberal’ would be more fair. Eventually he resigned and sat as Independent but, as many others, felt no obligation/refused to ask his electorate for a by-election. He was bright enough to avoid the ‘Change UK’ lot. He did not join Swinson and will not be standing in December.
The MEP elections saw a huge positive TBP response but the local elections returned Tory councillors.
Much has happened in a short space of time since summer ’19 but I doubt if that 20,000 majority is assailable with 8,000 Labour and 3,000 LibDems.
The TBP candidate, last time I saw, is a trans woman. Whether TBP do not see this constituency as a viable target or misjudge just how ‘modern’ this area is, I’ve always noticed Eddie Izzard is a plague on Labour aspirations.
The new Tory candidate, Gareth Davies, a younger white hetero Christian businessman, seems like a return to the conventional Tory status quo, which I predict as the next result.
BOGNOR REGIS AND LITTLEHAMPTON
Current MP: Nick Gibb (Conservative)
David Rabey writes: Gibb (brother of Theresa May’s director of communications Robbie Gibb) is a dutiful, unfailingly courteous and loyal Tory Minister who voted three times for May’s deal.
Majority GE 2017: 17.5k (over Labour in 2nd with UKIP and Lib Dems nowhere).
EU Referendum 2016: Constituency voted Leave (along with Arundel and Chichester – all three MPs Remainers).
Currently there is some noticeable Lib Dem and BP activity but it would be a major shock to see either dent traditional GE voting patterns.
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