Thursday, 6 May 2010

A Look @: Somerset (Part III)

We've split Somerset into three posts. This post will focus on the constituencies within the unitary authority of Somerset, and you can find Bath and North East Somerset here and the North Somerset here. The county in general is a hard fought CON/LD battleground and currently the Lib Dems have the upper hand with three of the five Parliamentary seats. However, they lost control of Somerset Council to the Conservatives last year and they will be defending some small majorities in May. The Tories will be hoping to pick up at least two seats in the southern part of the county which would go a long way to helping Cameron to a workable majority.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed



Somerton & Frome

David Heath




LD Hold


David Heathcoat-Amory




LD Gain


David Laws




LD Hold

Taunton Deane

Jeremy Browne




LD Hold

Somerset W & B'water

Ian Liddell-Grainger




CON Hold


David Heath has held Somerton & Frome since 1997 when he defeated the Conservative incumbent, Mark Robinson, by just 130 votes. He has increased his vote at each subsequent election but still only managed an 812 vote majority in 2005. This has been cut back by the boundary changes and Health is ready for another close battle. His opponent, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, is the sister of the gaffe prone Conservative PCC for Somerset NE but has thus far managed to avoid her brothers mistakes. However, given Heath is not only squeaky clean on expenses he has squeaked home in his last three elections. I, for one, will not be betting against him regaining his seat; Lib Dem Hold

Wells should be high on the Lib Dems target list as they have an excellent chance of unseating David Heathcoat-Armory. Heathcoat-Armory has been asked to pay back almost £30,000 in expenses and if this plays out badly he could be in trouble. His expenses were by far the worst in the area and it has put him in serious danger. The seat has been closely fought in recent years but the Conservatives have held it for 99 out of the last 100 years. Tessa Munt probably felt she'd missed her chance to take Wells in 2005 but Heathcoat-Armory has given her an excellent opportunity to secure a historic gain for the Lib Dems.

Yeovil is an iconic seat for the Liberal Democrats. Paddy Ashdown won it in 1983 and they've held it ever since. David Laws replaced the former leader in 2001 and has a very comfortable majority. His Conservative challenger is Kevin Davis but Laws should keep his seat in 2010; Lib Dem Hold.

The Lib Dem's Treasury Spokesman, Jeremy Browne, won his Taunton Deane seat at the last electing ousting the Tory incumbent by only 573 votes. He's had his majority strengthen by the boundary changes but his seat is still a prime target for the Tories. Browne looked to be in expenses trouble over mortgage claims but he successfully appealed against the repayment demands. He is up against Mark Formosa for the Conservatives, who contested Cornwall North in 2005. This is another that is going to go right to the wire but, again, if the Lib Dems concentrate on keeping the MPs Browne has a very good chance of holding on. He's considered a good MP and I think he'll be the first incumbent to win in Taunton since 1992; Lib Dem Hold.

Finally, Ian Liddell-Granger has a very safe seat in Bridgewater & West Somerset. The Conservatives have held the seat since 1950 and that's unlikely to change this year; Tory Hold.


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