Tuesday, 2 March 2010

A Look @: Dorset

Dorset is fairly straight forward when it comes to the General Election. It is the definition of a Conservative heartland and the Tories go into this election holding 6 of the 8 seats in the County. They also control the County Council, which excludes the Bournemouth and Poole metropolitan areas, with 28 of the 45 seats. Given the current political climate the Conservatives will expect to hold all their current seats and have to potential to turn the entire county blue.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Dorset South

Jim Knight




CON Gain

Dorset West

Oliver Letwin




CON Hold

Dorset North

Robert Walter




CON Hold


Christopher Chope




CON Hold

In 2005, Jim Knight holding Dorset South for Labour was one of the shocks of the night. Knight managed to increase his wafer thin majority against the swing, but he'll be lucky to survive this time round. Knight has been in a bit of a pickle with his expenses claims, which still haven't been paid back in full, but it's the political tide that the Employment Minister should be most worried about. Labour lost their four remaining county councillors in the 2009 election, all of whom held their seats in Knight's constituency. The Conservative Candidate, journalist Richard Drax, could be forgiven for acting like the next MP for Dorset South, but Labour won't go without a fight. Knight has already produced one shock result and a recent by-election gain by Labour will have given him a glimmer of hope. The Tories should take this though.

The other three seats in the rural areas of Dorset all look set to stay with the Conservatives. Oliver Letwin held Dorset West in 2005 despite being targeted by the Liberal Democrats interestingly named decapitation strategy. This time he is up against Berkshire Councillor Dr. Sue Farrant, and is likely to win a fourth term. Robert Walter is defending a majority of 4,000 in Dorset North against Emily Gasson; the wife of Lib Dem Campaign Chief Ed Davey. Walter should also cruise to victory in a seat the Tories have held since 1950. Finally, Christopher Chope is one of the fortunate MPs to enjoy the support of over 50% of his constituents. He'll do well to lose his Christchurch seat, which he has held since 1997.


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