The LibDems in Sutton could be facing a Bluewash at the 2015 General Election, and may lose both the borough’s MPs, the “charismatically challenged” Tom Brake, the deputy leader of the House in the ConDem Government, and the former health minister Paul Burstow.
That’s according to predictions published today by ubiquitous Tory blogger Iain Dale, who reckons that Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats will be cut down from the powerbroking 57 seats in the House of Commons won in 2010 to as few as 30 MPs at the next election, largely as a consequence of the party’s attempts to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds by shoring up the Tory-led coalition government.
The (untenable) positions in Sutton of Brake and Burstow being within the coalition government were highlighted yesterday with the announcement that a £219 million project to upgrade St Helier Hospital may not now go ahead, raising further doubts about the future of the hospital’s A&E and maternity units. This will look like a decision of the ConDem government, which Brake and Burstow will be unable to oppose, highlighting the dilemma of the LibDems after being enablers for Tory policies.
Sutton is effectively as two-party a borough as Croydon, except that the political contests there are usually between Blue and Orange, rather than Blue and Red.
Dale says that the great imponderable is the rise and rise of UKIP, while he also notes that in Brake’s Carshalton and Wallington, he expects an improved showing by Labour to win votes from the LibDems.
Dale predicts the Conservatives will possibly win Carshalton and Wallington, which Brake has held since 1997 and won in 2010 with a 5,260-vote majority, and that they will probably take the far more marginal Sutton and Cheam, a previously long-standing Tory seat which was lost to the LibDems in 1997, and which Burstow retained in 2010 with a vulnerable-looking majority of 1,608.
CARSHALTON & WALLINGTON
Maj: 5.260 over the Conservatives
Prediction: *POSSIBLE CONSERVATIVE GAIN
Somewhat charismatically challenged Brake is nevertheless a very good constituency MP and this could see him through, but the Labour vote here is bound to recover. However, I’d say this was a 50/50 prediction and could easily go the other way. This would be the sixth time Brake has fought the seat and that counts for a lot.
SUTTON & CHEAM
Prediction: PROBABLE CONSERVATIVE GAIN
The Labour vote has halved to 7.7% since 1997 and will inevitably rise in 2015. Paul Burstow is standing again and incumbency could play a vital role if he is to retain his seat, but if the Tory vote holds up, he may have a problem.
Where this could have some particular impact in Croydon is that, if they find themselves under-threat in the two Sutton seats at the 2015 General Election, the LibDems locally could divert campaigning resources across the borough boundary to assist Brake and Burstow, rather than waste their efforts in contesting the unwinnable Croydon Central and Croydon South. Any undecided centre-left voters in Croydon Central, for instance, might then be more likely to vote Labour than LibDem.
If they can be bothered voting at all.
Coming to Croydon
- Purley Swimathon: Feb 8 and 13
- Mark Steel at Ashcroft Theatre, Feb 12
- Croydon Arts Network meeting, Feb 15
- Chinese New Year children’s event, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 18
- Welsh myths children’s event, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Mr Pooter comes to Croydon, Feb 20-22
- Warm and Well event, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 22
- Stop the Incinerator fund-raiser, Feb 24
- Fairtrade event, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 1
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Mar 3
- Patchwork and quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 3
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Mar 15
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
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