Tuesday, 2 March 2010

A Look @: Bournemouth & Poole

Bournemouth and Poole have had their own unitary authorities since 1997. Both hold elections for the entire council every four years with the last taking place in 2007. Bournemouth boasts the larger of the two authorities with 54 elected councillors. At the last election the Conservatives scored a big victory, wresting control of the council from the Liberal Democrats. 23 seats orange seats turned blue and this has been attributed to, amongst other things, the Lib Dems support for a town centre casino. The Tories also control Poole council but they lost one seat in 2007 to the Liberal Democrats, who are the only other party represented. This is good news for the only Lib Dem MP in Dorset, Annette Brooke, as a significant chunk of her constituency lies within the Poole Council boundary.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Dorset Mid & Poole N

Annette Brooke




LD Hold

Bournemouth West

Sir John Butterfill




CON Hold

Bournemouth East

Tobias Ellwood




CON Hold


Robert Syms




CON Hold

Annette Brooke has a tough fight on her hands to hold onto her seat. But being the only Lib Dem in the county does have its advantages. With the party on the defensive against the Conservatives in rural areas Brooke can expect a lot of support to hold Dorset Mid & Poole North. The down side of this is that the Lib Dems are going to struggle make gains locally but given the strength of the Tories this year holding on for dear life is probably the best option. Brooke has held her seat since it was created in 1997 and has been relatively unscathed in the expenses row. On the political side a 5,000 majority is certainly defendable against the Tories, who are running businessman Nick King. Expect a reduced majority, but a concerted effort should return Brooke to Parliament.

Bournemouth West has been left open by Sir John Butterfield. It was created in 1950 and has always returned a Conservative MP. Former Times correspondent Alasdair Murray is hoping to cause an upset for Liberal Democrats but I'd be surprised if the Tories lose this. They have selected Connor Burns as their candidate and he'll be optimistic his third run for Parliament will be the lucky one. He has contested Chris Huhne's Eastleigh constituency in the last two elections and ran the Lib Dem Home Affairs Spokesman very close in 2005. I suspect he'll go one better this year and hold the seat for the Tories.

As for the other two seats, they are likely to stay with the Conservatives. Bournemouth East's MP, Tobias Ellwood, got into a spot of bother with his expenses but like Robert Syms in Poole his 6,000 vote majority should prove too much to overturn.


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