Saturday, 10 April 2010

A Look @: Essex (Part III)

This post will look at the northern seats in Essex. For South Essex (Including Thurrock and Southend) click here and for the Central Essex seats click here. Politics in Essex is dominated by the Conservative party and that's unlikely to change this year. They won 14 of the 18 Parliamentary seats in the county at the last election and they'll be hoping to push towards the full set in May. As for the Council, they currently hold 60 of the 75 seats with the Liberal Democrats a distant second with just 12 councillors.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Bob Russell




LD Hold

Harwich & Essex N

Bernard Jenkin




CON Hold


Douglas Carswell




CON Hold


New Seat




CON Hold


Brooks Newmark




CON Hold

Saffron Walden

Alan Haselhurst




CON Hold


Bob Russell won his Colchester seat in 1997 and he has increased his majorities in the subsequent elections. He's another MP who has had to repay mortgage claims and I'm sure the Conservative candidate Will Quince will feel he has a chance with the national swing behind him. But I think Russell will be difficult to shift. The Lib Dems out number the Conservatives in Council seats in Colchester and incumbent Lib Dem MPs are notoriously hard to beat; LD Hold.

Bernard Jenkin is arguably the most high profile MP to be heavily implicated in the expenses scandal and seek re-election. The North Essex MP will be defending the new Harwich & North Essex seat and he has seen his majority halved in the boundary change. The new constituency has lost a number of rural wards to the new Witham seat and has gained the town of Harwich. But Jenkin's bigger problem is the fact he was renting his sister-in-law's house whilst the taxpayer pick up the bill. The initial £63,000 Sir Thomas Legg ordered Jenkin to repay was by far the largest penalty in the scandal. But the sum has been halved on appeal and he now slips down to second place behind Stevenage MP Barbra Follett. The good news for Jenkin is there is no obvious challenger. Labour are a bit of a spent force in most of Essex, so their PPC Darren Barrenger will struggle to win against the swing. The Lib Dems might benefit from this constituency's close proximity to their stronghold in Colchester but James Raven has a lot of ground to make up if he is to succeed in unseating Jenkin in his second run against the Tory incumbent. As for the rest, Simon Amselmi of UKIP will probably win the battle of the minor parties, but he's unlikely to win enough support to take the seat. Unless there is a big push to rally around an anti-Jenkin candidate I can't see him losing this; Tory Hold.

Douglas Carswell has seen his Harwich constituency renamed after the wards the seat was named after have been moved into Bernard Jenkin's North Essex seat. Carswell narrowly defeated the Labour incumbent in Harwich at the last election but I doubt he'll be too nostalgic over the name change. He'll be defending the new Clacton seat with a notional majority three times that which he secured five years ago and he'll probably add to it in May. The fact Carswell had to repay £2,000 over a claim for a deposit on a house might give
Ivan Henderson a chance of regaining the seat he lost in 2005 for Labour but with the political winds behind him Carswell should be fine; Tory Hold.

Witham is the new seat in Essex and notionally it's a safe Tory Seat. With the exception of the town of Witham it's a fairly rural constituency; the sort the Conservatives win comfortably in each year for decades! Their candidate here is Priti Patel and I can't see her having any problems. Labour do have a pocket of support in Witham, which helped them hold the old Braintree seat between 1997 and 2005. But the boundary alterations have left John Spademan with a lot of work to do to make Labour competitive in this new seat; Tory Hold.

Brooks Newmark is finishing his first term as the MP for Braintree and he'll be very confident of a second. As discussed above, the boundary commission have removed Witham from this constituency leaving the Newmark with a notional majority over double the size of the one he secured in 2005. As a result he'll be easily re-elected; Tory Hold.

Sir Alan Haselhurst has been the MP for Saffron Walden since 1977 and the Conservatives have held this seat since World War II. Haselhurst was implicated in the expenses scandal due to the fact he submitted gardening claims £1 under the threshold for which receipts were required. This might result in the Lib Dem candidate Peter Wilcock eating into Haselhurst's majority slightly, but nowhere near enough to put him in danger; Tory Hold.


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