Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 1 January 2015


It's all over again for another year. Put the fairy lights back in the attic and take the empties to the bottle bank. The focus switches to the New Year. Thank goodness we cannot see the future clearly.

One thing we can accurately predict is that 2015 will contain at least one general election, on 7th May to be precise. Now that we have five year fixed term Parliaments, the date is established years in advance. All of the pundits are predicting an election too close to call, a nail-biting result impossible to predict. Let me take you through the possible numbers to explain why.

In 2010 the Conservative Party got 36% of the national vote which resulted in 307 seats. You need 326 seats to have a majority of 2, so we fell short, hence the coalition with the Lib Dems whose 23% earned them 57 seats. Labour, under Gordon Brown slumped to 29% which delivered 258 seats. 

Since then we have had the arrival on the scene of a strengthened UKIP and a rejuvenated SNP in Scotland.

If current opinion polls are repeated in May, the Conservative and Labour Party will win about 33% of the vote each, representing a small swing to Labour, with some seats likely to turn from blue to red. The Lib Dems have collapsed to a consistent 8% and are likely to lose half of their seats. At a steady 15% UKIP are not predicted to win any seats, but most of us think that they will win maybe 4 or 5. Their real impact is likely to be in the contest between red and blue in the marginal seats.

In Scotland it is now predicted that the SNP who had 6 Westminster seats in 2010 could win as many as 30 – mainly taking from Labour. What is the likely upshot of all this? 

Labour seats will probably increase, but not dramatically, especially when the SNP impact is factored in. Let's say they get up to 285 seats.   Lib Dems might be halved in number to 33. The Conservative team might be reduced to, say, 285. UKIP might have 4, the SNP 35.

Labour and Conservatives might well have a similar number of MPs. Neither can get to the magic 326 in coalition with one other party. Can a stable coalition be forged out of that result? 

It might all be very different. It is up to you. Happy New Year. 

posted by Gary @ 08:58