The metropolitan area of South Yorkshire has had one seat removed from its allocation. It will now return 14 MPs to Parliament and currently 13 of those seats are Labour held. It's a fairly safe area for Labour with only a couple of seats under serious threat. This post will focus on the south eastern side of the county and you can find our discussion of Sheffield and Barnsley here.
The Doncaster council was still under no overall control after the 2008 local elections with Labour as the largest group with 27 of the 63 seats. More interestingly, they lost the 2009 Mayoral election to English Democrat Peter Davies. The three Parliamentary seats in this council area have undergone fairly substantial boundary changes but they're still very safe Labour seats. Rotherham is a Labour stronghold and they currently hold 50 of the 63 council seats, despite losing four in 2008. The boundary changes in this council area have been minor, although the old Wentworth constituency has undergone a name change following the inclusion of the two Dearne wards from the Barnsley council.
Wentworth & Dearne
Doncaster North is held by the current Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Miliband. He has risen fast in his first term as an MP and he shouldn't have a problem getting re-elected in a seat Labour have held since its creation in 1983; Labour Hold.
Labour have held Doncaster Central since its creation in 1983 and Rosie Winterton will be hoping to secure a fourth term in Parliament. She might need her large majority this time after she was implicated in last year's expenses scandal. Winterton initially hit the headlines for soundproofing her bedroom and eventually paid back over £8,000 in over claimed mortgage payments. This could all result in a shock but I wouldn't count on it. The regional LAB>LD swing falls just short of what's required so Patrick Wilson will need help if he's to gain this for the Lib Dems. Assistance could come in the form of a strong English Democrat showing but I'm not sure it'll be enough. I think Winterton will survive, probably quite comfortable; Labour Hold.
'Blair babe' Caroline Flint is seeking a fourth term as MP for Don Valley, a seat Labour have held for almost 90 years. She has a nice majority here but she has an unwanted high profile with regards to her expenses. Flint's is a complex case involving buying and selling of properties in London along with a fairly large bill for intermittent 8 months she didn't have a second home. This included claims for hotels and furniture storage. It was all within the rules but given the way the scandal has been portrayed in the media that is scant consolation. But with a notional 11000 vote majority it's hard to see the Conservative candidate Matthew Stephens causing an upset; Labour Hold.
Rother Valley has been Labour's since its creation in 1918 and Kevin Barron has represented the constituency since 1983. He looks set to be returned and should go on to clock up thirty years in Parliament; Labour Hold.
Denis MacShane has been the MP for Rotherham since a 1994 by-election victory. Labour have held this seat since World War II and with such a large majority it's difficult to see that changing soon. MacShane was, however, caught up in the expenses scandal with regards to the amount he claimed for his 'garage'. This is actually his converted constituency office questioned considering he doesn't pay rent it has been suggested that £125,000 over seven years is too much. MacShane hit the headlines again when it transpired he'd bought eight laptops in three years on his expenses. I don't think all this will be enough to gift Rebecca Taylor a surprise gain for the Liberal Democrats, but it could reduce his majority substantially; Labour Hold.
The changes to John Healey's Wentworth & Dearne seat have actually increased his already substantial majority by around 2000 votes. He first won the old Wentworth seat in 1997 and he has little to worry about this year; Labour Hold.