Ed Balls has a notional majority of 9,000 in his newly created Morley & Outwood seat. That should be taken with a pinch of salt, it is a new seat created after boundary changes, in local council elections over the last 2 years Labour has polled badly, even coming fourth on occasion.
With Labour nationally polling in third place the swing against Labour means Balls’ notional lead is likely to be negligible, his Tory opponent Antony Calvert is fighting an energetic campaign, he’s raised money online for his campaign and he has caught the imagination of many with his “Balls Moment” advert. George Osborne has decided that even though Morley and Outwood wasn’t even on the Tory’s 200 target seats list, that it is now a priority. In an email to hundreds of thousands of supporters today Osborne says
Labour’s collapse has opened up new opportunities for us that we will be making the most of in the week ahead. We are expanding our battleground against Labour and now have a good chance of winning many more seats where they are haemorrhaging votes, including Ed Balls’s seat in Morley & Outwood.
Last week Guido suggested that Tories in Islington South should vote for the LibDem to oust the sitting Labour MP, this week Guido is urging LibDem voters who want to wipe the smug smile off Ed Balls’ face to lend their vote to the Tory candidate. The LibDem can’t win, Antony Calvert can. It will be the most memorable moment of election night, just as in 1997 when Portillo was defeated. Are you up for a “Balls Moment”?
UPDATE : Punters are putting their money on Calvert to take the seat, he is now the favourite to win.
If Labour drops a few more points in polls and is confirmed as the third placed party, it represents an historic opportunity for Nick Clegg’s LibDems to displace Labour as the official opposition. Except that the electoral system means that depending on the distribution of votes Labour could, as Kevin Maguire gloats this morning, actually benefit from the strengthened LibDem’s taking votes from the Tories.
In Labour held seats where either the Tory or LibDem* candidate is a strong second place contender with a distant third place contender, the voters who want to get rid of Labour should rationally should switch their vote to the second place contender. Guido makes no bones about wanting to see the Labour Party wiped out as an electoral force. So over the following weeks the blog will be highlighting seats where an element of tactical voting would unseat the Labour incumbent.
First up, Islington South & Finsbury, where Labour’s Emily Thornberry clings onto a majority by 484 votes. If true blues want to get rid of the red, they will have to vote yellow. Free Emily and her husband to concentrate on their multi-million pound property empire…
*The same logic applies to the SNP and Plaid Cymru.
Hat-tip : Poster via LibDemVoice