Seats in Bradford district will be ‘up for grabs' in general election drama (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Seats in Bradford district will be ‘up for grabs' in general election drama
Updated 10:27am Tuesday 27th May 2014 in News
The district is poised to be at the heart of general election drama – with nine out of 11 Westminster seats “up for grabs”
That is the conclusion of a new electoral website, which warns gloomily that the number of exciting contests is “shrinking” in most of the country.
But the opposite is true in the Bradford area, where only two seats are declared “foregone conclusions”.
Of the nine “in play”, Labour is the challenger in no fewer than six of the constituencies, with three of those described as must wins.
Top of Ed Miliband’s target list for the district is Bradford East, held by David Ward for the Liberal Democrats with a wafer-thin majority of just 365.
That makes it number 10 of Labour’s targets for the entire country, with 67 the magic number if Mr Miliband is to win a Commons majority.
In Pudsey Stuart Andrew will defend a majority of 1,659 and Kris Hopkins, the housing minister, 2,940, in Keighley.
Two other Tory seats are Labour long shots, Calder Valley (6,431) and Shipley (9,944). However, Philip Davies won there by only 422 votes back in 2005.
The Tories will challenge the Lib Dems in Leeds North West (9,103), where sitting MP Greg Mulholland can take nothing for granted.
The wild card is Bradford West, where George Galloway won a 2012 by-election for Respect, with a 10,140 majority in a once safe Labour seat.
According to the website – www.election-data.blogspot.co.uk – the two “foregone conclusions” are Labour-held Bradford South and Tory-held Skipton and Ripon. At first sight Bradford South is a surprising inclusion, given Gerry Sutcliffe’s 4,622 majority.
However, the 2010 election was a debacle for Labour and Mr Sutcliffe was 9,167 votes ahead back in 2005.
Next year, for the first time, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all have genuine hopes of at least sharing power after the results are counted.
But twin failures to change the electoral map – the defeats of the alternative vote (AV) referendum and of the Conservative attempt to redraw boundaries – will reduce the tension in most areas.
The Lib Dem attempt to replace first-past-the-post with AV – where second votes are redistributed until one candidate has more than 50 per cent – was crushed in 2011.
David Cameron tried to axe 50 seats nationwide and redraw boundaries, but Nick Clegg blocked the move after Tory backbenchers killed his House of Lords reform dream.
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