Thursday, 6 May 2010

A Look @: Somerset (Part II)

We've split Somerset into three posts. This post will focus on the constituencies within the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), and you can find North Somerset here and the rest here. Neither of the two seats contained within the BANES are currently held by the Tories. This is a situation they'd like to change! The council elections in 2007 didn't go as well as those in the adjacent North Somerset council but the Conservatives do hold the majority of seats. They over took the Liberal Democrats as the largest party but their haul of 31 seats is not enough to control the 65 seat council. Labour and the Lib Dems share the two Parliamentary seats within the council area and the Conservatives will be looking to take both off their opponents' hands.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Somerset NE

Dan Norris




CON Gain


Don Foster




LD Hold


Dan Norris won his, what was then called, Wandsyke seat in the Labour landslide of 1997 and has enjoyed comfortable and then not so comfortable re-election campaigns since. Sitting on a 1,839 cushion would have been difficult to defend but Norris has suffered at the hands of a boundary change that has completely wiped out his majority in this renamed North East Somerset seat. Norris is also appealing against his expenses repayments, demanded as a result of the retrospective limits on cleaning allowances. Although this can't be helping his re-election chances his Conservative opponent, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is lending Norris a hand. The son of former Times Editor William Rees-Mogg has been somewhat of a gaffe machine, with the latest error of judgement occurring over Christmas. The Tory candidate was pictured with one of his employees posing as a constituent for a campaign leaflet. The local party are behind him for now but any more cock-ups and he'll be in serious trouble of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. As it stands this should be a Conservative gain, but it's one to keep an eye on!

Don Foster won this seat for the Liberal Democrats from Chris Patten in 1992 and has been relatively safe ever since. Foster has been asked to pay back over £4,000 over his mortgage claims and this may help his Conservative opponent, Fabian Richter. Richer is a former advisor of Shadow Universities minister David Willetts, and certainly has a chance of taking the seat for the Tories. But the Lib Dems have the swing and a comfortable majority so Foster be ok; Lib Dem Hold.


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