While Derby North is down in 21st place among their Labour-held targets, the Tories will be very confident of victory now that Chris Williamson is standing as an Independent. The controversial left-wing Labour MP – suspended following his response to the party’s anti-semitism crisis – is bound to split the anti-Tory vote in a Leave-voting marginal where they can ill afford to lose anyone. Banker material.
This was arguably Labour’s best result in 2017, probably in reaction to Brexit. High Peak wasn’t even close in 2010 or 2015 and few predicted Ruth George would be elected on a 7% swing. At 51/49 to Leave, this is more Remain than most constituencies and it seems that segment united around Labour. A repeat will require quite a tactical effort given today’s different national picture and a solid core Tory vote. Labour did, however, make 12 net gains at the 2019 council elections.
Battersea’s electoral fate probably depends on the scale of Lib Dem surge in London and ability of Remainers to co-ordinate tactics. A huge 78% voted to Remain and that doubtless inspired the 10% swing to elect Marsha de Cordova. This electorate is much younger than most and therefore far from fertile Tory ground, although latest polls show their share holding up in London. Hard to call.
Events here in 2017 perfectly illustrate why this election is so unpredictable. That, too, was billed a ‘Brexit election’. This working-class Yorkshire seat voted 63% to Leave. Yet despite being a vocal, arch-Remainer, Mary Creagh still secured 50%. Her 2,176 majority appears extremely vulnerable but perhaps Creagh and Labour’s core is strong and the presence of the Brexit Party could complicate matters.
Whereas the party split in most constituencies has changed to dramatic effect, especially since Brexit, this one bucks the trend. The Tories won 40% even in their disastrous, worst-ever 1997 election, but only peaked at 44% in 2017 despite winning their highest national share since 1983. A large 23% of the population are under 35 and the same number are Asian – a combination that probably limits their potential advance. Very much around the line where victory would imply the Tories are on course for an overall majority.