Home BREAKING Local politics analyst predicting a Labour win on Thursday.

Local politics analyst predicting a Labour win on Thursday.

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Local politics analyst predicting a Labour win on Thursday.

While England scraped through to face Switzerland this coming Saturday, it may have slipped your attention that another big match is taking place this Thursday – that’s right, the general election. But who will win in the Fylde constituency?

Last time around, the recently disgraced Mark Menzies won for the Conservatives, with a massive majority of 16,611. Menzies received 28,432 votes and Labour’s Martin Mitchell, 11,821. Menzies’ share of the votes was an incredibly high 60.9%, and Labour’s only 25.3%. The key markers in the 12th December 2019 election were: an overall majority in favour of Brexit; and antipathy towards Jeremy Corbyn who, despite being anti-EU himself, led the Labour ‘Remain’ campaign. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, it is clear that Boris Johnson engaged with the electorate and won many over in TV debates.

So, what are the key factors that will influence the result in Fylde this time around?

1. The constituency boundaries have changed and now include Poulton and Wyre. Had the same constituency boundaries existed at the last election, the transfer-adjusted votes show that Menzies would have won with 31,230 votes – 59.5% of total votes cast. Although that is a similar Conservative percentage, Labour would have received 17,390 votes, or 33.1% of all votes cast. That percentage increase is a key indication that the changes made by the boundary commission is likely to help Labour’s chances on Thursday.

2. Dissatisfaction with the Conservatives and a dislike of Rishi Sunak. The polls tell you all you need to know about how angry many people are about the last 14 years of Conservative rule and, in Fylde, many traditional Tory voters are reportedly saying they are shifting their allegiance (See point 4 below) or not voting for anyone. The anti-Conservative feeling is not an opinion – these sentiments are repeated across many opinion polls. The antics of Mark Menzies has further exacerbated the anti-Tory feeling on the Fylde.

3. Reform. In 2019 Reform Party ran under the guise of the Brexit Party. While the party didn’t oppose the Conservatives in Fylde (or all constituencies won by the Tories in 2017), it did cause damage to the Labour Party in key marginals by taking votes away from Labour’s core demographic of white, older, working class men. This meant that the Conservatives were able to gain seats in Labour’s post-industrial heartland – the red wall crumbled! Reform is now likely to do exactly the reverse. Brexit has been won, and the Reform Party is fighting the Conservatives on their failure to stem immigration. Farage and his party are likely to damage the Conservative vote in the Fylde by taking away, in my opinion, between 5% – 10% of Tory votes – the hard-line right wing anti-immigration section of Tory supporters. This is a significant number is a tight run race.

4. A strong Independent candidate – this pundit predicts Anne Aitkin will hurt the Conservatives in the Lytham St Annes area of the constituency. Anne has won many potential voters over by concentrating on matters that directly affect locals, such as sewerage pollution and the proposed windfarm caballing.

5. Other parties taking votes from the Conservatives – Last time around the Liberal Democrats would have gained 2,543 votes in the new constituency, and the Greens 1,390 (again, transfer adjusted figures). It is entirely possible that both parties could realistically see their votes double – the Liberal Democrats will likely triple their votes. Pollution, as mentioned above, and the climate are key issues with some voters, and

expect to see a few thousand ‘moderate’ Tory voters transfer their allegiance to the Lib Dems, Greens and to the Independent.

So how will this all shake out in numbers? The new constituency has 74,297 registered voters (source: 2024 Electoral Calculus Ltd). In our ‘first past the post system’, it is possible that the winning candidate will need to poll as few as 21,000 votes to win. In line with many national predictions, the Conservative vote could haemorrhage. Some Tory voters will choose to stay at home while many others will switch their votes, which are likely to be spread across all the other parties based on key issues – a flavour of which have been mentioned above.

If Labour were capable of gaining 17,390 votes under Corbyn, then it seems plausible to suggest that they could easily gain 21,000 votes this time around, or significantly higher. If the Conservatives lose say, 40% of their support in the new constituency, that will put them under 19,000 votes. Labour only need to increase their votes by 20% in the Fylde (highly probable) to put them nearer 21,000.

If turn out is similar to 2019, it means that the other c. 13,000 votes will be shared between the Independent, Liberal Democrats, Green and Reform Party. To be absolutely sure of holding Fylde, the Conservatives will need to lose less than a third of their 2019 votes. Given the anti-Conservative feeling being widely reported, is that likely to happen?

Prediction – Labour to gain a shock win in Fylde

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