This is the nineth in a series of blogposts (scroll down for the others) which will seek to predict the outcome of every seat in the run-up to the next general election. The notion of a universal swing in May 2015 can be totally discounted. Each seat has to be treated on its merits. I’m starting off by trying to analyse the counties I know best, but eventually will turn to ones I know very little about at all. Feel free to add your comments and tell me where you think I have got things wrong. I will return to update each county analysis when and if I get new information.

This is the second half of my Kent predictions. Read the first part HERE

Seats: 8
Current Political Makeup: Con 7, UKIP 1
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con 7, UKIP 1

10. Maidstone & The Weald

2010 Result:
Conservative: 23491 (48%)
Labour: 4769 (9.7%)
Lib Dem: 17602 (36%)
Green: 655 (1.3%)
UKIP: 1637 (3.3%)
Christian: 131 (0.3%)
Others: 643 (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 5889 (12%)

Sitting MP: Helen Grant (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

As in Folkestone & Hythe, the LibDems have always had high hopes in this seat. Ann Widdecombe kept them at bay even though they have consistently done well in local elections. In parliamentary elections in this seat they’ve never managed to break through. If they couldn’t do it in 2010 it’s difficult to see how they will now. Having said that, they have a hard working candidate in Jasper Gerard and Widdecombe’s successor Helen Grant is said to be unpopular with her local party as well as being a rather invisible sports minister. Despite that, it would be unbelievable if she contrived to lose this seat. The truth is that if this seat behaves like others, her majority could actually increase.

11. Rochester & Strood

2010 Result:
Conservative: 23604 (49.2%)
Labour: 13651 (28.5%)
Lib Dem: 7800 (16.3%)
Green: 734 (1.5%)
English Dem: 2182 (4.5%)
MAJORITY: 9953 (20.7%)

UKIP: 16,867 (42.1%)
Conservative: 13,947 (34.8%)
Labour 6,713: (16.8%)
Green 1,692: (4.2%)
LibDem 349: (0.9%
Others 497: (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 2,920 (7.3%)

Sitting MP: Mark Reckless (UKIP)
Prediction: Conservative gain

It was a fantastic achievement for UKIP to win this seat in the by-election. The question is, can they retain it at the general election? This depends on a number of factors, not least whether the voters UKIP took from Labour will return to their natural home. If they do, Mark Reckless is stuffed. Much may depend on turnout too. A high turnout will help Reckless. The Conservatives will put in a lot of effort into this seat and if they win it back the cheers will be heard far beyond Rochester or Strood. My guess is that there will be a lot of cheering.

12. North Thanet

2010 Result:
Conservative: 22826 (52.7%)
Labour: 9298 (21.5%)
Lib Dem: 8400 (19.4%)
UKIP: 2819 (6.5%)
MAJORITY: 13528 (31.2%)

Sitting MP: Sir Roger Gale (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

Safe as safe can be, with a split opposition. Even a north Kent UKIP surge is unlikely to affect the result in any serious way.

13. Sevenoaks

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28076 (56.8%)
Labour: 6541 (13.2%)
Lib Dem: 10561 (21.4%)
BNP: 1384 (2.8%)
UKIP: 1782 (3.6%)
English Dem: 806 (1.6%)
Independent: 258 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 17515 (35.4%)

Sitting MP: Michael Fallon (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

An increased majority for Michael Fallon, methinks.

14. Sittingbourne & Sheppey

2010 Result:
Conservative: 24313 (50%)
Labour: 11930 (24.6%)
Lib Dem: 7943 (16.4%)
BNP: 1305 (2.7%)
UKIP: 2610 (5.4%)
Independent: 158 (0.3%)
Others: 319 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 12383 (25.5%)

Sitting MP: Gordon Henderson (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold

A Labour seat throughout the Blair/Brown years, Gordon Henderson won it in 2010 with a massive swing, akin to those in neighbouring seats. I can’t see any of these Medway and North Kent seats returning to the Labour fold unless Ed Miliband wins a substantial majority throughout the country.

15. South Thanet

2010 Result:
Conservative: 22043 (48%)
Labour: 14426 (31.4%)
Lib Dem: 6935 (15.1%)
UKIP: 2529 (5.5%)
MAJORITY: 7617 (16.6%)

Sitting MP: Laura Sandys (Con)
Prediction: UKIP gain

Laura Sandys is standing down after only one term. People interpreted this move as being ‘frit’ by Nigel Farage’s UKIP candidacy. Not true. However, as a popular local MP, it’s certainly not helped the Conservative cause. She has been replaced by Craig Mackinlay, a former UKIP deputy leader, but better known for his failure to beat the hapless Ann Barnes in the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner election. Constituency polling, which is notoriously unreliable, puts Nigel Farage behind, but the UKIP campaigning machine will be deployed. The question is whether the candidate, Nigel Farage himself, is able to put in the time needed to win the seat. He’ll have to. Even then, victory won’t be assured. This is the seat that every single media organisation will be represented at on election night. It has the potential to change the very nature of British politics. No one can be sure what will happen here, and I openly admit that my prediction is based on nothing more than thirty years of observing these things and my own political instinct. And that’s been wring before, as those who heard me threatening to run down Whitehall naked if the LibDems got 57 seats in 2010 will testify to!

16. Tonbridge & Malling

2010 Result:
Conservative: 29723 (57.9%)
Labour: 6476 (12.6%)
Lib Dem: 11545 (22.5%)
Green: 764 (1.5%)
UKIP: 1911 (3.7%)
English Dem: 390 (0.8%)
Others: 505 (1%)
MAJORITY: 18178 (35.4%)

Sitting MP: Sir John Stanley (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold

One of the safest seats in the country. And this won’t be changed by the fact that Sir John Stanley is standing down.

17. Tunbridge Wells

2010 Result:
Conservative: 28302 (56.2%)
Labour: 5448 (10.8%)
Lib Dem: 12726 (25.3%)
BNP: 704 (1.4%)
Green: 914 (1.8%)
UKIP: 2054 (4.1%)
Independent: 172 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 15576 (31%)

Sitting MP: Greg Clark (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority

A decline in the LibDem vote should see Greg Clark home with a majority of not far short of 20,000. This is assuming UKIP don’t filch votes from the Tories. They had made a breakthrough here on the local council, but the 2014 results were a disappointment for Nigel Farage.

Coming next: East Sussex

To see the complete list of predictions click HERE