Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A Look @: Bedfordshire

This post excludes the two seats in Luton, which are discussed here. The rest of Bedfordshire is covered by two unitary authorities, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford, and four Parliamentary seats. Currently the Conservatives hold three of the four Parliamentary seats and they run the new Central Bedfordshire council with 54 of the 66 seats. Labour hold the other Westminster seat and elections for the new Bedford unitary authority gave no party overall control. The Liberal Democrats are the largest group with 13 of the 37 councillors while the Conservatives hold 9 seats and Labour 7.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Patrick Hall




CON Gain

Bedfordshire NE

Alistair Burt




CON Hold

Bedfordshire Mid

Nadine Dorries





CON Hold

Bedfordshire SW

Andrew Selous




CON Hold


Patrick Hall has been the Labour MP for Bedford since the seats creation in 1997 but it is now well within the Conservatives reach at this election. Hall was named as a saint by the Telegraph and he'll be hoping this will aid his re-election campaign. But the Conservative candidate Richard Fuller, who is contesting this seat for the second time, will be confident of a gain with the national swing behind him. However, the council split in this seat is very interesting. The Lib Dems lead with 9 seats and Labour are second with all 7 of their Bedford councillors elected from wards in this constituency. The Conservatives lag behind with only three seats. This has resulted in the Lib Dems being placed as second favourites for this seat despite polling a distant third in 2005. Although I'm sure their candidate Henry Vann will be hopeful of causing a big surprise in Bedford I think their odds are a bit short. The Conservatives are rightly favourites and I get the impression Hall is well regarded by his constituents. This probably won't be enough to save him but I doubt he'll slip to third. This certainly has the potential to become a three way marginal, and I wouldn't rule out a close fight between the main parties this time, but the surging local Lib Dem effort is probably at the expense of Labour a so I think the Conservatives will take this; Tory Gain.

The North East Bedfordshire was created for the 1997 election and it has been held by the Conservatives ever since. Alistair Burt became its second MP in 2001 after he was defeated in his Bury North seat four years earlier. Burt had represented Bury since 1983 and his political career is set to span its fourth decade as he should be comfortably re-elected; Tory Hold.

Despite a few boundary changes Mid Bedfordshire has returned Conservative MPs without fail since World War II. Nadine Dorries is finishing her first term as an MP and in it she has cause quite a stir over her expenses. Dorries was initially implicated in the scandal after she admitted she only spent weekends and holidays at her main home. She then posted a blog complaining that the treatment of MPs by the press in relation to their expenses could lead to a suicide. This didn't endear her to the press who have spent most of the last year digging up as much dirt as they can on the MP. It has since been revealed that Dorries has given a job to her daughter and her 'main' residence is now a cottage in the Cotswolds. It's a wonder Dorries is still going, although her large majority might help her through the attention. Neither the Labour candidate David Reeves nor Linda Jack for the Lib Dems are likely to get close to unseating Dorries in what is a safe seat; Tory Hold.

South West Bedfordshire is another seat in this county to have only elected Conservative MPs since it was created, in this case in 1983. But in 1997 Labour did come close to an extraordinary gain falling only 132 votes short. Andrew Selous held the seat in 2001 with a slightly increased majority and went on to win his second election comfortably in 2005. He'll probably increase his majority further in May; Tory Hold.


Post a Comment