General Election 2019: Which key battlegrounds could define the contest?

Friday 08th November

Nobody can say with any certainty what Parliament will look like come 13th December. A winter election and a divided nation makes this one far too difficult to call. What we have a better idea of, however, is where this election will be won and where it will be lost.

The Conservative Party will be looking to strike a chord with Midlands and Northern Brexit voters, while also solidifying support among what should be their traditional rank and file in leafy rural suburbs. Whilst the Labour Party will try and dispel any notion that they are confused on Brexit by simultaneously trying to pick up votes from both Remainers and Leavers. We have picked out ten places where the four main parties will be looking to make inroads in six weeks’ time.

Conservative targets

Kensington – The affluent borough in South West London may seem a Conservative dead-cert to the untrained eye. However, it is currently held by Labour MP, Emma Dent Coad and with the Liberal Democrats parachuting in newly signed member and former Tory Minister, Sam Gyimah, this is anyone’s game. Kensington will be a real test of whether the Conservative Party can still cut it in London’s richest areas.

Warwick and Leamington – The former constituency of Conservative Prime Minister Anthony Eden, the West Midlands seat is currently held by Labour MP, Matt Western. It has been widely reported that the Tory Party are perceived to have lurched to the right under Boris Johnson, and this will be one of the clearest indicators as to whether the party can perform in areas that voted to remain.

Westmorland and Lonsdale – Tim Farron’s Cumbrian seat could be the destination for the second former Liberal Democrat Leader losing their seat in as many elections. In a county that voted overwhelmingly to leave and with a fragile majority, the Conservatives will class Westmorland and Lonsdale as a priority for 2019. This will be a key test for the Remain Alliance, with the Greens standing aside to give the former Leader a better chance of keeping his seat.

Labour targets

Mansfield – Perhaps the biggest shock of the 2017 General Election saw Mansfield turned blue for the first time in its almost 140-year history. Whilst the Labour Party will be trying to flex their industrial credentials in this Nottinghamshire constituency, they will face stiff competition from Former Mayor of the City and Brexit Party candidate, Kate Allsop.

Hastings and Rye – A true examination of the Labour Party’s ability to muster a parliamentary majority will be if they can convert the margins that they closed in 2017. Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd will not stand in the Sussex constituency, and this will likely be the destination for many shadow front bench visits.

Uxbridge and South Ruislip – The Labour Party taking the Prime Minister’s seat would undoubtedly be the biggest scalp in British electoral history. All indications suggest that Boris Johnson will contest the West London seat, rubbishing rumours that he was considering transferring himself to a safer constituency. With Heathrow expansion set to play a big role in this contest and Boris Johnson lining up against fierce competition in the form of Labour candidate Ali Milani, will the Prime Minister be able to hold on to his slender 5,000 majority?

Liberal Democrat targets

Fife North East – Two people were the difference between a Liberal Democrat and a Scottish Nationalist taking this Scottish seat at the 2017 General Election. However, with the newly revived and unashamedly pro-European Liberal Democrats on the up, Jo Swinson’s party will be looking to test whether remaining in the European Union or leaving the United Kingdom is the most popular sentiment in the region.

Sheffield Hallam – The Labour Party are in disarray in Nick Clegg’s former seat, with the Labour incumbent threatening to quit only a matter of months ago before postponing his resignation. This will be a difficult one for the Labour Party to defend and will speak to the wider issue of whether the Labour Party can draw in enough remain supporting voters to form a Government.

Brexit Party targets

Thurrock – Once the number one target seat for UKIP, this Essex constituency saw a significant drop in the popularity of the eurosceptic party in 2017. However, the Brexit Party is a different beast, and should the Farage faithful turn out in numbers, former Conservative Minister Jackie Doyle-Price could be out of a job.

Peterborough – Peterborough was the subject of a 15-way by-election just months ago and with an overwhelming proportion of the electorate in the area voting to leave, this will be a key destination for Nigel Farage and his band of merry Brexiteers throughout the next six weeks. However, this is truly another three-horse race, with both the Conservatives and the Brexit Party jockeying for position behind the Labour incumbent, Lisa Forbes.

A Prime Minister losing his seat? Brexit Party MPs in the House of Commons? Hold onto your hat, this is going to be a bumpy ride!

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