Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A Look @: Devon (Part I) [Update]

Devon is split into 12 seats for the 2010 election, one more than in 2005, of which 5 are notionally held by the Conservatives, 3 by the Liberal Democrats and 3 by Labour. This post is looking at the constituencies not hugely affected by the new Devon Central seat – not the Eastern constituencies, basically, which can be found here. Rural Devon is CON/LD battleground but one in which the Tories have the upper hand. They'll be hoping to take a couple of seats from the Liberal Democrats this year to help them get that coveted majority. In the 2009 County Council results the Conservatives made sweeping gains at the expense of the Lib Dems taking control of the council with 41 of the 62 seats. The Tories will hope to repeat this success in May.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Adrian Sanders





LD Hold


Anthony Steen




CON Hold

Devon South West

Gary Streeter





CON Hold

Devon W & Torridge

Geoffrey Cox




CON Hold

Devon North

Nick Harvey




LD Hold


Torbay is its own Unitary Authority and the Conservatives were the big winners in the 2007 local elections. They gained 16 seats completely flipping the council from Lib Dem majority to Conservative run. The Tories won 23 of the 33 seats which doesn't bode well for the Lib Dems in their quest to hold their Parliamentary seat. Adrian Sanders won Torbay in 1997 from the Conservative incumbent. However, Sanders has been unable to solidify this gain for the Lib Dems and with a small majority he is facing a tough fight. The Lib Dems vote dropped 10% here in 2005 although none of this when to the Conservative candidate Marcus Wood who is standing again in May. Sanders himself has come off fairly well in the expenses row relative to other MPs in Devon but he still endured some scrutiny and had to pay back over £600. This is sure to be another closely fought contest with a lot riding on whether Labour hold on to their 5% increase from the last election. I think the majority either way is going to be small but I'm not sure Wood can take this against the swing; LD Hold.

Totnes has been left open by Anthony Steen (CON) after revelations about his expenses, in particular his claims for tree surgery, forced him to stand down. This shouldn't affect Tory PPC, GP Sarah Wollaston, as it will be difficult for her opponents to paint her with the same brush. Wollaston is clearly a different candidate to Steen; and is unlikely to hire a tree surgeon anytime soon! Although Steen has represented this corner of Devon since 1983, his recent majorities have been consistently small. There is definite potential for local councillor Julian Brazil to pick up Totnes, especially with their recent bounce in the polls. UKIP and the Greens both have a district councillors elected from this seat, could be strong here too so that could affect the outcome. This is another close one but the Conservative's dominance of local politics here lead me to predict a tight Tory Hold.

Although Gary Streeter paid back over £3,000 over his mortgage he'll almost certainly be returned in South West Devon. He has held the seat since it was created in 1997 and had represented Plymouth Sutton in the previous Parliament. The opposition vote is evenly split between the Lib Dems and Labour which has helped Streeter consistently increase his majority. Conservative Hold.

Geoffrey Cox (CON) took Torridge and West Devon from the Lib Dems in 2005 after John Burnett stood down. He's defending a small majority in a seat that neither the Lib Dems nor the Tories have made their own in recent years. Torridge Cllr Adam Symons will be hoping to win the seat back for the Liberal Democrats however Cox has very little on him regarding expenses. More ominously the Conservatives gained all the Lib Dems County Council seats in this constituency and they are the largest party on the two district councils with wards in this seat. I think this is another seat where local Tory strength will blunt the Lib Dems progress. Yet again, sure to be close but Tory Hold.

Liberal Democrat MP Nick Harvey is in a much stronger position than Sanders. He won his Devon North the seat from the Conservatives in 1992 and has enjoyed consistently strong majorities since. Harvey was not bothered by Sir Thomas Legg and has fairly comfortable majority to defend. The Conservative PPC here is businessman Philip Milton and he'll do well to take this seat for the Tories; LD Hold.


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1 comment:

  1. Glad I changed Torbay! Clegg bounce looks like it will hold in the South West!