There are 58 parliamentary seats in the East of England, which comprises Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Back in January I predicted this outcome…
Liberal Democrat 3
Let’s start of by revising two of my Essex predictions.
Conservative: 19806 (44%)
Labour: 6609 (14.7%)
Lib Dem: 4232 (9.4%)
BNP: 2205 (4.9%)
Others: 12174 (27%)
MAJORITY: 7632 (17%)
Sitting MP: Rebecca Harris (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Conservative hold
Revised Prediction: UKIP gain
One of the more interesting Essex seats due to its previous MP, Bob Spink. He succeeded Sir Bernard Braine in 1992 but then lost it in the 1997 Labour landslide, before regaining in four years later. He then briefly defected to UKIP before cutting ties with them. He is not standing this time, but the UKIP candidate, Jamie Huntsman, is the UKIP leader on Essex County Council. Canvey Island has the highest proportion of people in England who identified as “English” in the 2011 census. This is part of the reason why many think that behind Clacton and Thurrock, this is UKIP’s third best target seat in Essex. An upset could be on the cards here, but the most likely result is a Tory hold. UPDATE: UKIP are putting a huge amount of effort into this seat and the demographics are in their favour. I’ve now moved to thinking a UKIP victory is slightly more likely than not.
Conservative: 19691 (44.9%)
Labour: 14766 (33.7%)
Lib Dem: 5990 (13.7%)
BNP: 1739 (4%)
UKIP: 1591 (3.6%)
Christian: 101 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 4925 (11.2%)
Sitting MP: Robert Halfon (Con)
Prediction: Very narrow Labour gain
Revised Prediction: Conservative hold
Robert Halfon’s majority in 2010 was far higher than he had ever dreamed, but this is a seat that goes with the prevailing political wind. Halfon has proved himself to be an adept political campaigner but can he really hold off the Labour challenge? He must be hoping that UKIP will chip away at the Labour vote, as well as recognising that he will also lose some white working class votes to Farage’s party too. There are 6,000 LibDem votes up for grabs here too, which will also make the Tories nervous about their chances of retaining this seat. They are right to be. UPDATE: Of all my predictions in January this one drew the most criticism. Even Labour supporters reckoned I had called it wrong. I’ve also talked to several people who live there and every single one of them reckons Rob Halfon will hold on. So I’m changing my mind on this one.
In Norfolk the two seats which provide me with some concern are Norwich North and Great Yarmouth. In Norwich North I have predicted Chloe Smith will narrowly lose to Jessica Asato. Since then, Lord Ashcroft has done a constituency poll which gives Labour a lead of 1% there. In Great Yarmouth I have predicted that Brandon Lewis will hang on as UKIP will take a lot of votes from Labour but not quite enough to oust him. Had UKIP had a candidate in place for some time I might have predicted a UKIP gain here. However, in both seats I’ll stick to my original predictions. So in Norfolk, there is no change.
In Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire I make no changes to my original predictions.
So this is my updated prediction for East Anglia…
Liberal Democrat 3
This means to overall prediction changes to…
Plaid Cymru 3
Sinn Fein 5