Bristol North West
This constituency should act as a warning to those predicting huge Tory majorities. It is Labour’s 41st most vulnerable to a Tory takeover but they should have high hopes of retaining it even on a terrible night. 26% of the population are under 35 and the referendum split was 61/39 to Remain. Darren Jones won on a 9% swing in 2017 by squeezing Lib Dem and Green shares. Repeating that trick will be the key.
Labour had only ever won this outer-London marginal in the peak-Blair elections of 1997 and 2001 until Bambos Charalambous managed a 9% swing last time on his third attempt to unseat David Burrowes. Thethrice-elected Tory returns for a fourth showdown and that could provide a critical boost to help defy the Brexit dynamic. This was a 62% Remain seat in 2016.
Based on the fundamentals, Gedling would probably have gone Tory in one of the last three elections. Labour have been able to buck regional and demographic trends for one particular reason – Vernon Coaker. The six-term MP (he won at the third attempt in 1997) is famous for his relentless local campaigning and profile. That may well prove enough to defy bad national trends for Labour in Leave seats – 56% in this case.
Historically this has been something of a bellweather, with roughly median demographics. Bury North voted to Leave (54%), which makes Labour regaining it on a 5% swing all the more impressive. It is certainly within range for the Tories, starting from 45% and given Labour’s troubles in Northern towns. However that swing has appeared less pronounced in areas connected to Manchester – Bury is on the tram system.
This 68/32 Leave constituency deserves to be much further up the rankings and looks a banker Tory gain in the current climate. Were it not for popular incumbent John Mann, it might have gone after Labour’s last national victory in 2005. An outspoken critic of Jeremy Corbyn, Mann is standing down this time. Labour’s core in this marginal is ex-mining, much of which would likelier support the Brexit Party rather than the Tories.