Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A Look @: Luton

Currently Labour hold both Parliamentary seats in Luton but they face a tough battle to keep hold of them with the Conservatives eyeing at least one gain in the town. What will give Labour hope though is their performance in the local elections in 2007. They took control of Luton Council by gaining 5 seats. They now hold 26 of the 48 seats with the Liberal Democrats as the second largest group. The Conservatives are way back with just 5 councillors, which could hinder their General Election campaign.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Luton North

Kelvin Hopkins




LAB Hold

Luton South

Margaret Moran




LD Gain


Kelvin Hopkins won his Luton North seat for Labour in 1997 and he'll be hoping to secure a fourth term in May. Hopkins was applauded by the Telegraph for his impeccable expenses claims and considering the majority he's defending it'll be a tough ask for to unseat him. The Conservatives are hoping Jeremy Brier will gain this for his party and if he finds himself in Parliament in May then I think we'll be looking at a large Conservative majority. As it is I feel Hopkins will be ok; Labour Hold.

Luton South is set to be the far more exciting race of the two. A smaller swing required, a disgraced MP standing down and a celebrity candidate hoping to win the seat as an Independent! Margaret Moran was one of the first MPs to be set upon by the press after it was revealed she'd claimed £22,500 to remove dry rot in her second home…in Southampton. She quickly decided to stand down, but not before TV Presenter Esther Rantzen had announced she was considering standing against Moran as the expenses claims had made her 'sick' and 'angry'. Without actually having Moran to stand against Rantzen has far less chance of winning, but she's running anyway which leaves an interesting dynamic to this race. Labour have selected Gavin Shuker and the church worker seems as far removed as Moran as possible. What is likely to foil the Conservative candidate Nigel Huddleston's attempt to gain this for his party is Rantzen. Her support is likely to come from the sort of voters that would usually back the Tories and so if she polls a few thousand this is likely to be the difference between a Labour Hold and a Conservative Gain. It's also worth noting the Conservatives do not have a single Councillor elected from Luton itself, but they do have a couple from one the South Bedfordshire ward in the seat. The Lib Dems could also turn this into a four way contest. They lost 4 seats in Luton in the 2007 local elections but 11 of their 17 councillors are from wards in this constituency. One of them, Qurban Hussain, will be hoping of causing an upset. With so much going on it's hard to make a call. Shuker seems set to lose this but the winner won't need a lot more than 30% of the vote. I think with the Clegg bounce in their favour, and the other main parties problems with expenses and independent candidates, the Lib Dems could be set for a surprise gain. But to be honest, I'm not sure anyone knows what will happen here so; Lib Dem Gain...and we'll see what happens!

Update: 06/05/10


  1. I could have got Luton quite wrong by the sounds of this.


  2. Sorry, but I think you have got Luton South a bit wrong.

    First, while the Tories do not have any councillors in the part of the constituency which is within the boundaries of Luton Borough Council (which is most of it), the bit of the constituency which spills over into the new unitary council of Central Bedfordshire is represented by two Conservative councillors. They include the guy who stood for the Tories at the last election.

    Second, you make no mention of the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems have 11 councillors in the constituency, one short of Labour, and have a real area of strength in the East. They doubled their vote at the last election. Their candidate is Qurban Hussain who is the only asian candidate in a constituency with a very large asian community. They are also taking it very seriously. Nick Clegg visited yesterday, one of several recent visits mad by him and Vince Cable. I am not saying that they are the favourites, but given the Moran scandal and the intervention of Esther they are definately in with a chance.

    I think you are right that it is the Tories who are most worried about Esther, but you should also mention that there are a number of other independents in the mix as well.

    Full list of candidates here:

  3. Thanks for the information Andy. I'm always happy to be put straight by someone in the area! The post has been updated accordingly but this is certainly a seat we'd love to here more about from anyone on the ground.

  4. I'm now of the opinion that Labour will lose Luton South. But who to? Thoughts wanted!