Amidst the routine of Christmas lights being turned on and shops putting their decorations up, a raft of MPs across the Capital have their eyes on only one present ahead of the December’s General Election. Here at Cratus, we have been closely following the campaigns, and feverishly gathering intelligence on which MPs may end up having a ‘Blue Christmas’. Provided below are a few seats we believe will be worth following closely.
There are a number of paper-thin majorities in seats which will be on all of the parties’ radars such as Richmond Park, in which former London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith currently sits. Mr Goldsmith won the seat by 45 votes, after briefly losing it in the 2016 by-election to Sarah Olney- who once again is the Liberal Democrats’ candidate. If the Liberal Democrats are to have a strong performance, this is a seat that they will see as a must win.
A similar story can be found in Kensington, where Emma Dent Coad (Labour) is hoping to see off the challenge of Sam Gyimah- the former Conservative MP for East Surrey who defected to the Liberal Democrats. Unlike Richmond Park however, Kensington is shaping up to be much more of a three-horse race, as Felicity Buchan also has a very good chance of reclaiming the seat for the Conservatives. If the start of the race is something by which to gauge the ongoing sentiment of the contest, it could be a nasty affair- Sam Gyimah calling Ms Dent Coad out for not doing more on cladding while she was an RBKC councillor, as well as Jacob Rees-Mogg making comments about the tragedy which reflect very poorly on the Conservatives. Ms Dent Coad’s narrow margin of victory over the Conservatives in 2017, as well as the Liberal Democrats strong European performance shows that all three parties will believe the seat is theirs for the taking.
The Lib Dems have brought in another high-profile candidate to contest the Cities of London and Westminster seat currently held by Conservative Mark Field. Field is not looking for re-election and, in his stead, Leader of Westminster Council, Cllr Nickie Aiken has been selected to take on Streatham’s former Labour MP and now Liberal Democrat, Chuka Umunna. Some forecasting sources do however project that Labour and the Lib Dems may split the vote, allowing Cllr Aiken to secure the seat.
London also has key Brexit battlegrounds as well, the Dagenham and Rainham seat in Havering will targeted by the Conservatives. It is currently held by Labour’s Jon Cruddas (a Remainer) and has been Labour’s since Attlee’s radical election platform in 1945. Times do of course change, and as the constituency was roughly 70% in favour of leaving the EU, despite any efforts to emulate Attlee’s success, Jeremy Corbyn will face an uphill battle in seats like these. The Conservatives have selected Cllr Damian White, the Leader of Havering Borough Council, and a strong Brexiteer, as their candidate. With a majority of just under 5,000 to turn over, Cllr White will be confident that they can capitalise on support for Brexit in the area and turn it Conservative for the first time in the seat’s history.
If you are interested in any other constituencies, or any intelligence regarding London, the General Election and how it may impact Local Authorities, do get in touch with us through the details provided in the newsletter.