Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Look @: Sefton

The borough of Sefton is much more divided than Liverpool and the surrounding areas. Part of council is in Merseyside and part is in Lancashire, leading to local tension, but the council has also been under No Overall Control since the 1980s. As of the 2008 local election Sefton council has 27 Liberal Democrats (+1) 21 Labour councillors (nc) and 18 Conservatives (-1).



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Joe Benton




LAB Hold

Sefton Central

Claire Curtis-Thomas




CON Gain


John Pugh




LD Hold

Bootle is a Labour safe seat. Bootle was once the safest Labour seat in the country, and prior election results include 82.9% for Labour in 1997, and 77.6% in 2001. Joe Benton has been MP since 1990, after Bootle had its second by-election in a row after its previous two MPs both died of heart attacks. A Catholic, Benton is notable for a socially conservative line on abortion, gay rights and other such issues. Benton's expenses appear fine, and he will find it very easy to be re-elected. Look out for UKIP here though. UKIP PPC David Nuttall secured 38% of the vote in a local council election and he may be able to keep his deposit and beat the Conservatives into fourth. It is unlikely that anyone on this Earth could overturn Benton's majority. Labour hold.

Claire Curtis-Thomas is stepping down from Sefton Central this year. Within the constituency 4 wards were won by the Lib Dems in 2008 and 3 were won by the Conservatives. With a thin majority, and trouble with her expenses Curtis-Thomas must have figured her time was up. She claimed £9,000 for a fire escape, and submitted £12,000 worth of receipts for her kitchen and hall, in 2003/04 she had the highest expenses in all the land and in 2002/03 she had the second highest. Her high postage claims suggests good contact with her constituents, but I doubt this will reflect on her well nonetheless. Labour PPC Bill Esterson is a local councillor... in Medway, Kent. This will likely spur accusations that he has been parachuted in to fight a seat no one else wants. Conservative PPC Debi Jones is a former Television and Radio presenter who contested Crosby, which this seat succeeds, in 2005. The swing needed is only just inside what the Conservatives are projected to get, but considering the former MP and the current candidates this has to be a Conservative gain.

Southport has been held by the Liberal Democrats since 1997. The current MP is John Pugh who has been Lib Dem education, transport, health and now treasury spokesman. Pugh's expenses were fine and his website features youtube videos giving Q&As about expenses and showing the viewer around his office and second home. Conservative candidate Brenda Porter is a local councillor but even if the Lib Dem surge doesn't materialise on polling down I doubt she can defeat Pugh/ Lib Dem hold.


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