Friday, 26 March 2010

A Look @: Hampshire (Part II)

We've split the rural areas of Hampshire into three parts. The other two can be found here and here and the metropolitan areas of Southampton and Portsmouth also have their own posts. This post concentrates on the central part of the county, including Winchester, Gosport, Eastleigh and everything in between. The Conservatives are in control of Hampshire's Council holding 51 of the 78 seats. However, the Liberal Democrats enjoy a great deal of support in Winchester and Eastleigh and hold the vast majority of council seats in these districts. They also hold the Parliamentary seats here and their council base will certainly help them defend against the expected Tory surge.




Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Mark Oaten




LD Hold

Meon Valley

New Seat




CON Hold


Chris Huhne




LD Hold


Sir Peter Viggers




CON Hold


Mark Hoban




CON Hold



For those who haven't heard, Mark Oaten is not contesting his Winchester seat. Although he cites 'new challenges' the truth is Oaten went from an outside bet in the Lib Dem leadership contest to have no realistic chance of remaining an MP past the current Parliament in a short space of time. Allegations that the married Oaten enjoyed the company of rent boys destroyed his leadership bid, forced him to resign as the Lib Dems Home Affairs spokesman and left him with no choice but to stand down at this election. He has left Martin Tod with a handsome majority to defend, although it has been slightly cut down by the boundary alterations. This is Tod's third run for Parliament and, more interestingly, he ran Ming Campbell's internet campaign in the leadership contest Oaten was forced to pull out of! Former radio producer Steve Brine will be hoping the Oaten scandal will help him gain the seat for the Conservatives. It's certainly going to be a close race hinging on whether the voters punish the Lib Dems as a party over Oaten's conduct. But as they've backed the party in local elections, and therefore giving them more councillors to doorstep, I think the Lib Dems will hold…just!

The major boundary change in Hampshire has been the creation of the new Meon Valley constituency, which is made up largely of wards from the old Winchester seat. The Conservatives currently have a smallish notional majority but that is probably due to Mark Oaten's popularity prior to his scandal and so the notional Lib Dem vote is artificially high. George Hollingbery, who lost to Oaten in 2005, is likely to take this for the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrat PPC, Liz Leffman, will struggle as the local party attempts to limit any long term damage stemming from Oaten's antics. They'll concentrate on holding Winchester and hope Leffman can leave them in a strong position to take this seat in future elections; Tory Hold.

Hampshire has form when it comes to electing MPs that with interesting secrets. Eastleigh was held by Stephen Milligan up until he met his death in 1994 whilst practicing autoerotic asphyxia. I'm not drawing any diagrams but it's safe to say it's an odd way to go. David Chidely Dems picked this seat up for the Liberal Democrats in the resulting by-election and have held it by fairly small margins ever since. Chris Huhne won by a very narrow margin in 2005 after Chidgey had stood down. Since then Huhne has become one of the Liberal Democrats most prominent politicians, running for leader twice and is currently the party's Home Affairs spokesman. Maria Hutchings, who is famous for taking Tony Blair to task on special schooling during a Channel 5 programme, is challenging Huhne for the Conservatives. Despite the small majority I think Huhne's high profile will see him through so although I don't enjoy constantly going with the bookies, Lib Dem Hold.

As if we haven't had enough excitement here Gosport MP is none other than Mr Duck-House, aka Sir Peter Viggers. He'd held his seat since its creation in 1974 but by making one of the most bizarre expenses claims he has been forced to stand down. Despite this the Conservatives still look very strong here. Viggers increased his majority in 2005 and former Winchester councillor Caroline Dinenage will almost certainly hold this for the Tories. Labour candidate Graham Giles will hope Viggers' conduct will provide some traction for him but he has a big gap to make up against the swing; Tory Hold.

Finally, a fairly boring seat! Fareham MP Mark Hoban had some interesting claims to defend but making his bathroom look great at the taxpayer's expense is unlikely to be enough to unseat him. This is another seat which the Conservatives have held since time began and the massive majority will save Hoban; Tory Hold.


Post a Comment