The 10 crunch battleground seats which could decide the 2019 December general election

Mzalendo_Mkweli

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Jan 30, 2012
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Britain is braced for its first December general election since 1923 as all of the major parties battle for the right to take the lead on Brexit.

If Boris Johnson and the Tories win a majority at the pre-Christmas poll then he will deliver his Brexit deal.

If Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party win a majority then he will facilitate a second referendum on the UK's departure from the EU.

If Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats defy the odds to win a majority she will revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit on day one of her government taking office.

Meanwhile, a strong performance at the ballot box for Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party will bolster his calls for a 'clean break' No Deal departure from the bloc.

And if Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are able to increase their tally of MPs it will boost demands for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

The forthcoming election is likely to be one of the most volatile in the history of British politics.

These are 10 of the key battleground seats which are likely to determine the UK's Brexit fate.

1. Brecon and Radnorshire: Will the 'Remain Alliance' hold together?

2016 referendum vote: 52 per cent Leave, 48 per cent Remain

Currently held by: Lib Dems

Main challengers: Tories


A by-election was held in this Welsh constituency at the start of August this year after the sitting Tory MP Chris Davies was ousted by a recall petition.

The Liberal Democrats poured resources into the seat and their efforts were rewarded as Jane Dodds won it for Jo Swinson.

The Lib Dems were powered to victory by two things: The Tories losing votes to The Brexit Party and a successful 'Remain Alliance' with Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

The Tories finished second at the by-election, just 1,425 votes behind the Lib Dems as the Brexit Party came in third. It is safe to assume that if the Brexit Party had not contested the seat then the Tories would likely have held it.

The decision by Plaid Cymru and the Greens to stand aside allowed the Lib Dems to inch over the finish line.

The question ahead of the snap election is whether Mr Johnson will be able to squeeze Brexit Party support in Wales and whether the 'Remain Alliance' will hold.

2. Cheltenham: A Remain-voting former Lib Dem stronghold key to Jo Swinson's plans

2016 referendum vote: 57 per cent Remain, 43 per cent Leave

Currently held by: Tories

Main challengers: Lib Dems


The seat in Gloucestershire had been held by the Liberal Democrats since 1992 before the Tories snatched it in 2015.

The area voted to Remain at the 2016 EU referendum and as a result it will be at the top of the Lib Dems' list of target seats.

Tory incumbent Alex Chalk managed to hold onto the seat at the 2017 election but his majority shrunk to less than 3,000 votes.

The Lib Dems will view Cheltenham as must win at the forthcoming election and the party will be confident of victory given its history in the town and the 2016 EU vote.

Failure to win there will almost certainly mean that the Lib Dems' recent strong opinion poll numbers have not translated to votes at the ballot box.

3. Bolsover: Can Boris Johnson swing Leave-leaning former mining towns?

2016 referendum vote: 70 per cent Leave, 30 per cent Remain

Currently held by: Labour

Main challengers: Tories, Brexit Party


Mr Johnson's election strategy is likely to be based on trying to secure the support of every Leave voter in the land.

That means seats like Bolsover, a former mining town, will be firmly in his sights. The Derbyshire constituency has never had a Tory MP with Labour having held it since its creation in 1950.

It has been represented by veteran left-winger Dennis Skinner since 1970 and would previously have been viewed as off limits to the Tories.

But the area voted 70 per cent to 30 per cent in favour of Leave in 2016 and Mr Johnson will fancy the Tories' chances of overturning Mr Skinner's 5,288 vote majority.

However, the seat is also likely to be targeted by Mr Farage making it a perfect test case for whether Mr Johnson's pro-Brexit message will be strong enough to win over working class Leave voters.

4. Canterbury: Will the Tories be able to overturn the shock of the 2017 election?

2016 referendum vote: 55 per cent Remain, 45 per cent Leave

Currently held by: Labour

Main challengers: Tories


Labour's Rosie Duffield provided arguably the biggest shock of the 2017 general election when she won Canterbury from the Tories.

She became the first ever Labour MP for the constituency, winning with a majority of just 187 votes.

Labour's victory in the Kent seat suggested that Jeremy Corbyn's appeal was far broader than many had first thought.

Kent has traditionally been the Conservative Party's heartlands and Mr Johnson will be champing at the bit to win it back.

If he fails it will spell doom for his hopes of winning a majority.

5. Hastings and Rye: Amber Rudd departs - but will a Tory replace her?

2016 referendum vote: 56 per cent Leave, 44 per cent Remain

Currently held by: Independent

Main challengers: Tories, Labour


Amber Rudd, who quit the Tories in protest after a number of her colleagues were stripped of the whip for backing a bid to block a No Deal Brexit, has said she will run at the next election as an independent but not in the East Sussex seat she has held for the Conservative Party since 2010.

Ms Rudd clung onto the seat in 2017 as her majority shrank to just 346 votes and whoever replaces her as the Tory candidate will face a massive battle to stop it returning to second placed Labour.

The area voted in favour of Leave which means Tory hopes could be scuppered if a Brexit Party candidate enters the fray.

Hastings and Rye has been something of a bellwether in recent decades with the winning party the one to form the government.

If Mr Johnson fails to hang onto the seat the Tories could be in big trouble.

6. Ashfield: A key Leave constituency test for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party

2016 referendum vote: 70 per cent Leave, 30 per cent Remain

Currently held by: Labour

Main challengers: Tories, Brexit Party


At the 2016 EU referendum, Ashfield voted 70 per cent to 30 per cent in favour of Leave, making it prime territory for a Brexit Party assault.

The sitting Labour MP Gloria De Piero is standing down after she clung onto the seat in 2017 with a majority of just 441 votes.

That sets up the constituency as a potentially fascinating battleground this time around as a new Labour candidate tries to keep the seat for the party as voters make a judgement on Mr Corbyn's Brexit policy.

Labour will fight the election by pledging to remain neutral on Brexit and with a promise that if Mr Corbyn forms the next government he will facilitate a second referendum.

It is unclear exactly how that policy will be received by voters in the Nottinghamshire constituency but the second placed Tories will be hopeful of a gain - if they are able to see off Mr Farage's candidate.

7. Crewe and Nantwich: A Labour/Tory marginal which Boris Johnson must win

2016 referendum vote: 60 per cent Leave, 40 per cent Remain

Currently held by: Labour

Main challengers: Tories


The Tories held the Cheshire seat from a by-election in 2008 until the 2017 general election when Labour took it back with a majority of just 48 votes.

But Labour could face an uphill battle to keep the seat given the area's pro-Brexit credentials.

The constituency backed Leave in 2016 by 60 per cent to 40 per cent and Mr Johnson will be hoping his pro-Brexit message will chime with Eurosceptic voters.

8. Richmond Park: A ultra-marginal seat whose loss could herald a Tory wipeout in London

2016 referendum vote: 71 per cent Remain, 29 per cent Leave

Currently held by: Tories

Main challengers: Lib Dems


The plush London suburban constituency is one of the closest in the country with Tory Zac Goldsmith winning with a majority of just 45 from the Lib Dems' Sarah Olney in 2017.

The aristocratic MP had lost the seat - and a 23,000 majority - to Ms Olney only the year before in a by-election.

Source : The Daily Mail
 
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