Thursday, 6 May 2010

A Look @: Wiltshire [update]

Wiltshire, excluding Swindon, is a Conservative heartland. The Liberal Democrats, who are the Tories closest challengers in the county, haven't won a seat here since World War II. However, recent boundary changes and a clanger by a Tory MP have left a couple of seats in play for 2010. In last years elections for the new unitary authority the Conservatives comfortably secured a majority with 62 or the 98 seats. However, the Lib Dems did well in the council seats contained within the new Chippenham seat which could help them secure an historic gain in Wiltshire.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed








LD Hold

Wiltshire N

James Gray




CON Hold


Michael Ancram





CON Hold


Robert Key




CON Hold

Wiltshire SW

Andrew Murrison




CON Hold


The new Chippenham seat will be a closely fought contest between the Conservative candidate Wlifred Emmanuel-Jones and Duncan Hames for the Liberal Democrats. Emmanuel-Jones is an entrepreneur selected straight off Cameron's A-List (#28) and the Tories hope The Black Farmer will overturn this notional deficit. But his Lib Dem opponent, a former district councillor, will be hoping to build on his parties recent local results in the constituency to become Wiltshire's first Liberal representative for almost 90 years. This is going to be a tight one, with a lot riding on the large notional Labour vote. The current polling would suggest the Lib Dems should hang on here, Lib Dem Hold.

The Conservative MP for North Wiltshire, James Gray, has managed to give the Lib Dems a slight chance of unseating him in May. He has had to deal with allegations surrounding expenses claims for wreaths which although he denied had Tory bloggers calling for his head. He then faced more calls to stand down at the end of last summer when he married his mistress. The local party almost deselected Gray in 2006 when it came to light he'd been having an affair whilst his wife was undergoing chemotherapy. Astonishingly, Gray has limped on and will contest the seat he's held since 1997. Mike Evemy, a Swindon councillor making his third run for parliament, is hoping to capitalise on Gray's misdemeanours and take the seat for the Liberal Democrats. His biggest problem is the size of the majority he needs to overturn and I think this will be just too much. This could be a surprise but Gray should hang on; Tory Hold.

Salisbury has been held by the Conservatives since the World War II and I can't see them losing this anytime soon. The sitting MP Robert Key is standing down after 27 years in Parliament. John Glen, who contested Plymouth Devonport in 2001, will replace him for the Conservatives and he'll win with ease; Tory Hold.

Devizes is another seat the Conservatives have held since the Second World War. Michael Ancram, who stood for leader of the Conservatives in 2001, will not seek a fifth term as an MP leaving this safe seat without an incumbent. Claire Perry, a policy advisor to George Osbourne, will be pleased to be defending this huge majority against split opposition and she won't have a problem; Tory Hold.

Conservative MP Andrew Murrison's Wesbury seat has been slightly altered in the boundary review, and renamed South West Wiltshire, but this doesn't affect his safe status. Murrison should cruise to victory; Tory Hold.


Post a Comment