Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Look @: The Wirral

The Wirral peninsula is along the border with Cheshire. The Domesday Book reputably says that the Wirral's boundary lies 'two arrow falls from Cheshire city walls'. Wirral council is pretty evenly divided. Currently Wirral council has 25 Conservative, 20 Labour, 20 Lib Dem and 1 independent councillors. It was 24 Conservative and 21 Labour, but a councillor defected to from Labour to the Conservatives. Labour and the Lib Dems form a coalition.



Notional Majority

Swing Needed




Frank Field




LAB Hold


Angela Eagle




LAB Hold

Wirral South

Ben Chapman





CON Gain

Wirral West

Stephen Hesford




CON Gain

Birkenhead is the constituency of Frank Field, one of Labour's most right-leaning MPs. Often considered a possible defector to the Conservative Party; Field describes Margaret Thatcher as "a hero", is a member of the centre-right think tank Reform, was a member of the Conservatives in his youth, and is well known for his right-wing views on welfare reform. He has held Birkenhead since 1979, and was invited by Thatcher to give her advice when she was being forced out, he told her to resign and back John Major. Two days later she did just that. Nonetheless, his seat is extremely safe. I would not be surprised if Lib Dem candidate Stuart Kelly, a local councillor, will no doubt be accusing Field of essentially being a Tory, but I suspect he has been suffering those jibes for decades and it has not hurt him so far. Labour hold.

Wallasey is the constituency of Angela Eagle, whose twin sister Maria is the MP for Liverpool Garston. Angela is also the UK's only openly lesbian MP, and currently Minister for Pensions and the Ageing Society (a junior post). Eagle came out quite well in the expenses scandal and while the local council wards are Conservative dominated I see no evidence that there is anything like the 12.4% swing needed by Wirral councillor Leah Fraser. Labour hold.

Wirral South is home for Ben Chapman who over-claimed £15,000 on his mortgage, and promptly declared he was resigning. Alison McGovern is Labour's candidate for the seat and is currently a councillor... for Southwark in London. She will be lucky to come second. Conservative candidate Jeff Clarke contested Wirral West in 2005... for the Liberal Democrats. He joined the Tories due to the election of David Cameron. 23 year old Lib Dem candidate Jamie Saddler, a researcher for Andrew Stunnell, MP for Hazel Grove, is in with a shot as well, if the Lib Dem surge holds on election day and he can successfully convert a lot of disillusioned Labour voters to the Lib Dem cause, however I think that this constituency is more likely than not a Conservative gain.

Wirral West MP has been fairly effected by boundary changes this year. Labour MP Stephen Hesford watched his majority of 1,097 become a Conservative majority of 283. Hesford was a junior member of the government until he resigned due to Baroness Scotland not being fired from the position of Attorney General when it was revealed that she had hired an illegal immigrant. With the odds against him as it was, his expenses will not have changed his mind. He was the most expensive MP in Merseyside. Labour PPC Phil Davies is a Wirral councillor. Conservative candidate Esther McVey is a television and radio presenter who contested Wirral West in 2005, must be fairly assured of her victory. A very likely Conservative gain I think.


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