Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A Look @: Somerset (Part III)

The final part of this series on Somerset contains some very close marginals. The county in general is a hard fought CON/LD battleground and currently the Lib Dems have the upper hand with three of the five Parliamentary seats. However, they lost control of Somerset Council to the Conservatives last year and they will be defending some small majorities in May. The Tories will be hoping to pick up at least two seats in the southern part of the county which would go a long way to helping Cameron to a workable majority.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Somerton & Frome

David Heath




LD Hold

Taunton Deane

Jeremy Browne




LD Hold


David Laws




LD Hold


David Heathcoat-Amory




LD Gain

Somerset W & B'water

Ian Liddell-Grainger




CON Hold

David Heath has held Somerton & Frome since 1997 when he defeated the Conservative incumbent, Mark Robinson, by just 130 votes. He has increased his vote at each subsequent election but still only managed an 812 vote majority in 2005. This has been cut back by the boundary changes and Health is ready for another close battle. His opponent, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, is the sister of the gaffe prone Conservative PCC for Somerset NE but has thus far managed to avoid her brothers mistakes. However, given Heath is not only squeaky clean on expenses he has squeaked home in his last three elections. I, for one, will not be betting against him regaining his seat.

The Lib Dem's Treasury Spokesman, Jeremy Browne, won his Taunton seat at the last electing ousting the Tory incumbent by only 573 votes. He's had his majority strengthen by the boundary changes but his seat is still a prime target for the Tories. Browne looked to be in expenses trouble over mortgage claims but he successfully appealed against the repayment demands. He is up against Mark Formosa for the Conservatives, who contested Cornwall North in 2005. This is another that is going to go right to the wire but, again, if the Lib Dems concentrate on keeping the MPs Browne has a very good chance of holding on. He's considered a good MP and I think he'll be the first incumbent to win in Taunton since 1992.

Yeovil is an iconic seat for the Liberal Democrats. Paddy Ashdown won it in 1983 and they've held it ever since. David Laws replaced the former leader in 2001 and has a very comfortable majority. His Conservative challenger is Kevin Davis but Laws should keep his seat in 2010.

Wells should be high on the Lib Dems target list as they have an excellent chance of unseating David Heathcoat-Armory. Heathcoat-Armory has been asked to pay back almost £30,000 in expenses and if this plays out badly he could be in trouble. His expenses were by far the worst in the area and it has put him in serious danger. The seat has been closely fought in recent years but the Conservatives have held it for 99 out of the last 100 years. Tessa Munt probably felt she'd missed her chance to take Wells in 2005 but Heathcoat-Armory has given her an excellent opportunity to secure a historic gain for the Liberal Democrats. I'm going to go against the bookies here and say Lib Dem gain.

Finally, Ian Liddell-Granger will hold his very safe seat barring any hiccups. The Conservatives have held the seat since 1950 and that's unlikely to change this year.


  1. What a ridiculous analysis thaty yoiu make based on absolutely nothing whatever. On the ground the Lib Dems are going to be very lucky if they hold on to any seats in this area.

  2. What a ridiculous suggestion that I've based this on 'nothing whatever'. Did you read it all or just take a glance and quickly comment? Judging by the typos it's perhaps the latter... It's based on the fact the Lib Dems are pretty good at holding onto their MPs and one of the Tory incumbents has been heavily burnt on expenses. If you are 'on the ground' in Somerset perhaps you should out yourself and nail your own colours to the mast?

  3. RE: Anonymous post.

    Can you give a more detailed analysis of the view on the ground?

  4. I just had to comment on how ridculous my analysis here looks now :-D

  5. I think I deserve to take a bow here :-D