Friday, 26 February 2010

Liberal Democrats Hope One Becomes Two

Matthew Taylor’s (LD) constituency Truro & St. Austell has been split into two by the boundary commission. Terrye Teverson and Stephen Gilbert are hoping they can secure both these new seats for the Liberal Democrats in an area that has returned a Liberal MP every election since 1974. Gilbert is running in St. Austell & Newquay and he’s encouraged by the recent Council election results in the area.

“We did very well in the unitary elections in June electing 10 Lib Dem Cornwall Councillors to 7 Conservatives. Towards the end of the year we also won by-elections in Newquay and in St Austell. Labour had no candidate in the Newquay by-election and in St Austell polled less than 5% of the vote - clearly the Labour Party is out of the race. Overall, the St Austell by-election took the Cornwall Councillor numbers to 11 Lib Dems, 6 Conservatives (plus 5 independents and 1 MK).”

Gilbert’s notional majority is very awkward to calculate due to the success of independent candidates in the local elections. Figures range from 600 to 6000 votes making any prediction on the seat extremely difficult. Gilbert, naturally, disagrees with my inclining that the Conservatives will pick up this seat but that is based on the assumption that the Tories would strongly target this seat. This contest is one of the most intriguing in the local area and is we’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on it. As the Lib Dem PPC states himself, “I have no doubt that the St Austell & Newquay seat will be a keenly fought contest”.

A bit further west Terrye Teverson is contesting Truro & Falmouth. She is also confident of winning and feels that her ties to the local area and the tradition of Liberal MPs in Cornwall will see her elected to Parliament.

“I have an excellent chance of winning Truro and Falmouth and am tipped to win. My 20 years of personal campaigning in Cornwall will also help. The Liberal Democrats have a strong following in the SW due to the MP’s that are elected working hard all year round. Even David Cameron acknowledged that Liberal Democrats made ‘good local MP’s’”

I’d have to admit I wouldn’t bet against the Lib Dems taking both these seats which would be an excellent result for the third party. Regardless of what the polling figures are currently 2010 is going to be a Conservative year and so if the Liberal Democrats to hold many of their rural seats in this environment they are sure to play a significant role in the next Parliament.


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