Election 2017: Spotlight on key Fylde marginals

Polling Stations are open around the Blackpool and the borough for the General Elections
Polling Stations are open around the Blackpool and the borough for the General Elections

The spotlight is on two Fylde coast seats as voters go to the polls today.

With political commentators watching keenly to see which way the general election will go, Lancaster and Fleetwood and Blackpool South will be firmly under the microscope.

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They are the most marginal seats in Lancashire and one expert says they could act as a barometer, indicating which way the political winds are blowing.

Professor David Denver, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Lancaster University, predicts that overall the county will follow national trends.

He said: “It’s a kind of marginal place as we saw in the county council elections.

“I would be very surprised if Lancashire was in any kind of way deviated from what is going on elsewhere, although there is always the odd surprise constituency.”

At the last general election in 2015 the county returned eight Tory and eight Labour MPs. The importance of Lancaster and Fleetwood as a key battleground was highlighted this week when Prime Minister Theresa May made a flying visit.

Labour’s Cat Smith claimed the county’s most northerly seat at the last election with a majority of just 1,265, beating former Tory MP Eric Ollerenshaw, who came second.

This time both are battling again and it’s thought to be too close to call.

Other candidates are Green Rebecca Novell and Liberal Democrat Robin Long.

Professor Denver, said: “It will be tight, no doubt about it. One of the things is Cat Smith might benefit from what Americans call a ‘sophomore surge’ .

“It means somebody who was elected in an election for the first time and then defends a seat for the first time usually does better for their party – because new MPs get a chance to make their mark and help people.”

Professor Denver also flagged up Blackpool South as battleground to watch. Last time Labour retained the seat against the Tories with a majority of just 2,585.

THE LIST OF CANDIDATES

Blackpool South:

Peter Anthony (Con)

Bill Greene (Lib Dem)

Gordon Marsden (Lab)

Noel Matthews (UKIP)

John Warnock (Green)

Blackpool North and Cleveleys:

Sue Close (Lib Dem)

Paul Maynard (Con)

Duncan Royle (Green)

Chris Webb (Lab)

Paul White (UKIP)

Fylde:

Mark Menzies (Con)

Tina Rothery (Green)

Jed Sullivan (Lab)

Freddie Van Mierlo (Lib Dem)

Lancaster and Fleetwood:

Robin Long (Lib Dem)

Rebecca Novell (Green)

Eric Ollerenshaw (Con)

Cat Smith (Lab)

Wyre and Preston North:

Michelle Heaton-Bentley (Lab)

Ruth Norbury (Green)

John Potter (Lib Dem)

Ben Wallace (Con)