Friday, 26 March 2010

A Look @: Hampshire (Part III)

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 eastern part of the county, including Basingstoke, Havant and Aldershot. The Conservatives are in control of Hampshire's Council holding 51 of the 78 seats. The Tories dominate the council seats in this area of the county as well bar a pocket of support for the other main parties in Basingstoke. They currently hold all five of these Parliamentary seats and that doesn't look likely to change this year.




Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Maria Miller




Con Hold

Hampshire E

Michael Mates




Con Hold


Gerald Howarth




Con Hold


David Willetts




Con Hold

Hampshire NE

James Arbuthnot




Con Hold


Maria Miller has had her majority in Basingstoke reduced as the constituency has lost some of its rural wards to neighbouring seats. This hasn't put her in any danger this year but the demographics of the new look seat could make it interesting in future elections. For once I can't say the Tories have held this for hundreds of years. The last MP, Andrew Hunter, defected from the Conservatives to the DUP in order to stand in the 2003 Stormont elections. This made him the first MP to represent a Northern Irish party from a Great British constituency since World War II. Hunter stood down in 2005 to become more involved in Unionist politics and normality was resumed with a Conservative victory. Labour are hoping former sprinter Funda Pepperell will win this race but I can't see it happening this year. Miller will be vulnerable in the next Labour wave but for now, Tory Hold.

Michael Mates has been the MP for East Hampshire since the seat was created in 1983. He's standing down this year leaving the Conservative Candidate Damian Hinds a handy majority to defend. Adam Carew was the Liberal Democrats candidate in 2005 and he'll be running again this year after reducing Mates' majority at the last election. Despite massive boundary alterations the notional majority has only slightly changed, increasing the Conservatives lead by a few hundred votes. Not that Hinds needed any extra help to win this nice safe seat; Tory Hold.

Gerald Howarth is only the third post-war MP for Aldershot and, surprise surprise, the other two were also Conservatives. Howarth was first elected in 1997 and has enjoyed comfortable majorities ever since. The Liberal Democrat Candidate Andrew Collet has been a Hampshire councillor for almost 30 years and he is contesting this constituency for the fifth time. Collet will be hoping Howarth's failed appeal against gardening claims will lead to shock but it's a long shot. Conservative Hold.

Havant is another seat that the Conservatives haven't lost since its creation in 1983. David Willetts, the current Shadow Universities and Skills Secretary, is almost certain to hold here despite not knowing how to change a light bulb. Labour PPC Robert Smith has more chance of finishing third than becoming an MP in a constituency that epitomises his party's struggle to win over voters in the South. Tory hold.

James Arbuthnot's massive majority in North East Hampshire is likely to be his saving grace come May. He's held the seat since its creation in 1997 and has secured 50% of the vote at each election. Perhaps having such a safe seat was part of the reason for his excessive expenses claims, which include tree surgery and swimming pool maintenance. If the expenses scandal does have a significant influence on this election then Woking Councillor Denzil Coulson will be in with a shout for the Lib Dems. But it's still a very large gap to make up so it's likely Arbuthnot will hang on; Tory Hold, but with a reduced majority.


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