Monday, 12 April 2010

A Look @: Hertfordshire (Part II)

We've split Hertfordshire into two parts. This one will discuss the eastern side of the county, including Stevenage, and you can find the western seats here. Politics in Hertfordshire is dominated by the Conservatives. They currently hold 9 of the 11 Parliamentary seats in the county and the other two Labour constituencies are well within their reach this year. As for the council, the Tories currently hold 55 of the 77 seats. In the 2009 local elections they picked up 9 seats as Labour lost 13, which has left the Liberal Democrats as the opposition on the council. Both the Greens and the BNP hold a seat each as well.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Barbara Follett




CON Gain

Welwyn Hatfield

Grant Shapps




CON Hold


Charles Walker




CON Hold

Hertford & Stortford

Mark Prisk




CON Hold

Hertfordshire NE

Oliver Heald




CON Hold

Hitchin & Harpenden

Peter Lilley




CON Hold

Stevenage is a seat well within the Conservative's reach. Barbra Follett won this seat in 1997 for Labour but she is not seeking re-election. This is perhaps wise as her conduct in this Parliament led the Mail to dub her the Expenses Queen! Follett's main claim was the £25,000 for security patrols around her London home. Combined with some other extravagant claims she topped the list of expenses repayments after Sir Thomas Legg asked her to put over £42k back in the public purse. Follett has left Labour PPC Sharon Taylor, who is the leader of their group on Stevenage Council, with a tough task to hold this seat. Stephen McPartland will be confident of a gain for the Conservatives and as it's target seat #72 they'll need Stevenage to gain a majority; Tory Gain.

Grant Shapps recaptured Welwyn Hatfield from Labour in 2005 after the Conservatives had lost the seat in 1997. Shapps was named a saint Telegraph due to his exemplary use of the expenses system so it will be difficult for the Labour candidate Mike Hobday. I don't think Shapps has much to worry about in May; Tory Hold.

The Broxbourne seat was created in 1983 and the Conservatives have held it ever since. Charles Walker became its second MP in 2005 and will be extremely confident on holding onto this safe seat; Tory Hold.

Hertford & Stortford is another seat the Conservatives have held since it was created in 1983 and Mark Prisk became its second representative in 2001. Prisk was asked to repay over £7,000 over mortgage claims which will give his opponents some hope of an upset. Labour have Steve Terry running and the Lib Dem candidate is Andrew Lewin. I doubt either will get close to Prisk though; Tory Hold.

The Conservative MP Oliver Heald has represented North East Hertfordshire since the seat was created in 1997. He'll continue to do so for a little while yet; Tory Hold.

Peter Lilley has been the Conservative MP for Hitchin & Harpenden since the seats creation in 1997. Lilley was asked to repay over £40,000 after Sir Thomas Legg deemed his financial dealings on his second home were not permitted. Lilley had bought the house with a loan from his wife but he then took out a mortgage to repay the money. However, he successfully appealed against the decision which technically clears him of any wrong doing. Whether the voters feel the same is another matter, and Nigel Quinton is the Lib Dem hoping to make a surprise gain for his party on the back of Lilley's property deal. Labour, who have Oli de Botton running, aren't too far behind the Lib Dems but I can't see either getting close; Tory Hold.


  1. Hi,

    Would just like to point out a spelling error in the above article.

    I am the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Hertford & Stortford and my name is Andrew LEWIN not Letwin!

    I wouldn't want to be confused with Oliver Letwin!

    You can find out more about my campaign at

    Happy to answer any questions via e-mail at:

    You can foolow me on twitter at

    I will not be drawn on a debate about the result, but all I will say is that East Herts council is Conservative run and has never been more unpopular.

    With a real drop in the Labour vote since 2005, we do have a slightly different dynamic in Hertford & Stortford this time around. There is much to play for!


  2. Sorry for the mistake Andrew, will correct it asap. Have you actually noticed the unpopularity on the doorstep? What sorts of comments do residents give for their unpopularity?

    Thanks for your input.