By Hallum Cowell
Area by area, we look at how the electorate has voted in previous elections and how they may vote on Thursday in the third general election in five years.
England in numbers:
EU referendum result: 53.4% Leave
- Total 2017 turnout: 69.1%
- Party in Westminster: Conservatives and DUP Coalition
The East Midlands include; Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire among others. At the 2017 election, this area was largely Conservative with 31 Conservative seats and 15 Labour seats. The vote share, however, is much closer than the number of seats would suggest with the Conservatives on 50% and Labour on 40%. The Midlands is core leave territory and so it’s likely that pro-Brexit parties will do well here. A key marginal seat will be Warwick and Leamington, with a Labour majority of 2% and a Labour gain in 2015 from a history of Conservative MPs. The area also voted remain with 58.36% and all the remain alliance members are running in the seat. If this constituency goes Conservative or Brexit party, it could be a sign that the remain vote has been split. Peterborough is also a key seat to follow, with a 2% Labour lead on the Brexit party and a Liberal Democrat surge in the 2019 by-election the result could be an indicator of the strength of tactical voting and if the leave vote has split between the Conservatives and Brexit party.
East England includes Essex, Suffolk, Hertfordshire and Norfolk among others. This area is heavily Conservative with 50 out of 58 seats voting Conservative while seven went Labour and one Liberal Democrat. In the 2017 election Labour made gains taking two seats from the Conservatives and one from UKIP and gaining 10.8% of the popular vote. Norfolk North is a Liberal Democrat seat with a majority of roughly 8% making it a swing seat. With the Conservatives coming in second it could become a microcosm of leave vs remain, the constituency did vote 58.4% leave meaning we could see a liberal Democrat loss here however it has been Liberal Democrat since 2001 so will be a seat to watch on election night.
Due to its large population London is split into 73 different constituencies. At the 2017 elections 46 seats were taken by Labour, 19 by the Conservatives, four by the Liberal Democrats, two for independent candidates and two seats are held by the Independent Group for Change (IGC) which is made up of MPs who defected from Labour and the Conservatives. It is very likely in this election that those seats held by the IGC will be lost as they are polling at below 1%. London also holds the constituency with the lowest majority, a Labour victory by 20 votes. Kensington voted by 68.8% to remain and this could influence the electorate. A Labour victory in Kensington could represent a good night for the Labour party however a Labour defeat here could represent a split in the remain vote as pro-remain voters divide between the Liberal Democrats and Labour.
North East England
The north of England often follows the pattern of Labour strongholds in the cities and Conservative majorities in the rural constituencies. In the North East, this pattern continues with the 29 constituencies in this area with 26 being Labour and three being Conservative. The liberal Democrats hold no seats in this area and are not close to taking. The North East is Leave territory so while it is unlikely that the constituencies will go Liberal Democrat the Brexit party may be able to make a dent in labour and Conservative majorities. Marginal seats like Bishop Auckland with a Labour majority of 502 and Stockton South with a Labour majority of 888 will be good indicators of whether Labour Leave voters have decided to vote Brexit party over their traditional allegiances. Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland will also be interesting with its’ Conservative majority of 1,020 will be a good indicator of whether Conservative voters have drifted to the Brexit Party.
North West England
The North West follows the same pattern very much as the North East with Labour in the cities and Conservatives in the rural areas. Of the 75 seats in the area 54 are held by Labour, an increase of three in the 2017 election while the conservative hold 20 and the Liberal Democrats have one seat. Seats to look out for on election night are Crewe with a Labour majority of 48, Barrow and Furness with a Labour majority of 109 and Westmoreland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron’s seat which holds a 777 majority with the Conservatives coming in second. Considering that Westmoreland and Lonsdale voted to remain in the European Union with 52.94% of the result we could see a Liberal Democrat hold based on Brexit.
South East England
The South East of England encompasses areas such as West Sussex, Kent, Oxfordshire and Surry. This area is often considered a Conservative stronghold with 72 of its 84 seats being held by the Conservatives. As such many key Conservative ministers are placed here in ‘safe’ seats. The area does have a minor Labour and Liberal Democrats presence too with eight labour seats, doubling after 2015, and two Liberal Democrats seats gained in 2017. The area is also home to the country’s only Green seat in Bournemouth. The former speaker John Bercow’s seat was also in the South-East constituency of Buckingham, now that his former constituents can vote for a normal MP. Historically Buckingham has been Conservative. The Conservatives did however lose seats in the 2017 election, losing 6 to Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
South West England
Looking back at 2010, 2005 the South West was not a battle between Conservative and Labour rather it was a fight between Liberal Democrat and Conservative. Since the end of the coalition government, that support has collapsed with the Lib Dems going from 15 seats in 2010 to one seat in 2017. The area is now dominated by the Conservatives with them holding 47 of the 55 seats and Labour holding 7. We could be seeing a Lib Dem resurgence however as they become more popular again however the South West is mainly Leave constituencies and so equally the Liberal Democrats could struggle. A key seat to keep an eye on is St. Ives, held by the Conservatives with a majority of 312. If St Ives flips to Liberal Democrat, it could be a sign that they have a chance in the South West.
The West Midlands is pretty split between Labour and the Conservatives with 35 seats going to the Conservatives and 24 to Labour. There are quite a lot of marginal seats with Dudley North and Newcastle-under-Lyme being Labour held by a majority of 0.1% of the vote share and both Stoke-on-Trent South and Telford being Conservative held with 1.6% of the vote share. Expect the West Midlands to become a Microcosm to which you can judge how the parties are doing in the rest of the country.
Yorkshire and the Humber
This is Labour heartland here with Labour holding 37 seats to the Conservatives 17. The Conservatives have never been able to beat Labour in this area so if they do then it could be a sign of a disastrous night for Labour. What could influence the result here is the Brexit policy of each party. Much of Yorkshire and the Humber voted leave so it could be possible that they either flip to the Conservatives or the Brexit Party or enough of the electorate vote for these parties that is flips swing seats. Places to keep an eye on during election night would be Keighley which Labour holds by 239 seats and Pudsey and Calder Valley which are both Conservative and held by 1% or less.