This was another massive upset in 2017 as Labour enjoyed a 10% swing from the Tories to regain a seat lost in 2005, despite winning nationally. That turnaround speaks volumes about how party affiliation has changed and in this 62% Remain seat, Brexit certainly appears to have been the spark. Reading East is also much younger than the national average, with large numbers of rentors and therefore hard for the Tories to regain.
Gower has produced a big upset in both the last two elections. The Tories won by 27 votes in 2015 before a 3.6% swing to Labour last time. The fact it is a Remain seat (51%) works against the Tories but alternatively in their favour, the population is relatively old, including a very high percentage of homeowners. Tory challenger Francesca O’Brien received national publicity for saying on social media that characters from “Benefits Street” needed ‘putting down’.
Gordon Marsden has won six times in a row for Labour but his seat has been marginal for the last three elections. His 2017 victory was a surprise given the constituency voted 68% for Leave in the referendum and was probably due to the unpopularity of fracking hurting the Tories. Blackpool has been the site of Britain’s worst earth tremors caused by fracking, which may explain Boris Johnson’s commitment to temporarily halt it.
According to a new Survation poll, the Tories are leading by 13% in a constituency they haven’t won since the 1930s. Those numbers came as no great surprise given this 71% Leave area’s long, deep Euroscepticism, dating back to the Cod War during the seventies. The poll also implies that the presence of the Brexit Party in Labour defences is not working against the Tories, as their 17% appears to be hurting incumbent Melanie Onn more.
This railway town has voted Labour since 1992 and defied many predictions it would revert to the Tories after the referendum – Darlington voted 58% to Leave but in the general election, Jenny Chapman slightly improved her majority. Recent polls, whether national or in northern towns, and trends in local politics again make grim reading for her. If the Tories win a majority, this will be one of their gains.
Another impressive Labour gain from 2017 that they will do mighty well to hold in the current environment. Two factors could potentially save Mike Amesbury’s near 4,000 majority. First at 51/49 Leave, it is slightly less pro-Brexit than the average constituency. Second this victory was further evidence of a particularly strong Labour swing in the North-West region, including relatively wealthy Cheshire.