Voters in Lancashire have their say as they go to the polls

Voters will go to the polls today to have their say in one of the closest-fought elections in years.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 7th May 2015, 7:00 am
Ballot box
Ballot box

The outcome of the General Election is still too tight to predict, with Labour and the Conservatives almost neck-and-neck in the polls.

But experts say Lancashire is likely to prove to be a reflection of the national picture - with some Conservative seats in the county turning red.

Prof David Denver, a political expert at Lancaster University, said: “The national polls are saying it is very close between Labour and the Conservatives and the same will apply here. In each of the swings that the national polls suggest, you would be looking for Labour to make gains in Lancashire and for the Liberal Democrats to be losing.

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“Lancaster and Morecambe, both Conservative-held marginals, they really should be going to Labour.

“The big story would be if the Conservatives held them.

“It would be absolutely no surprise if Labour won both seats, it would be a surprise if the Conservatives held them.

“But they might, because of one or two local factors like the Greens in Lancaster.”

Prof Denver said South Ribble, where Conservative Lorraine Fullbrook has stepped down, could turn out to be a “knife-edge marginal”. He said: “South Ribble is a swing seat, that might be like a knife-edge marginal with the way the national polls are going.”

“Prof Denver said he thought it was vitally important that voters had their say.

He said: “I’ve only voted for a winning candidate once in my life, but why do I do it?

“Because I think it is my duty and I always want to have my opinion registered, and I think that’s why people should go and have their opinion registered.”

In Central Lancashire and beyond, politicians are vying for nine seats, while there is a total of 16 parliamentary constituencies in the county as a whole, meaning there are 16 seats up for grabs.

Hopefuls are lining up and vying for seats in Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, Wyre and Preston North, Ribble Valley, Lancaster and Fleetwood, Morecambe and Lunesdale, Fylde and West Lancashire.

In Preston, incumbent Mark Hendrick will come up against Conservative candidate Richard Holden, Liberal Democrat Jo Barton, the Green Party’s Gemma Christie and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidate James Barker.

In South Ribble, four candidates will be hoping to take the seat - Labour’s Veronica Bennett, Conservative Seema Kennedy, Sue McGuire of the Liberal Democrats and UKIP’s David Gallagher.

Candidates in Wyre and Preston North are incumbent Ben Wallace, Conservative, Labour’s Ben Whittingham, John Potter of the Liberal Democrats, Anne Power of the Green Party and UKIP’s Kate Walsh.

In Chorley, six people will be contesting the seat - Labour incumbent Lindsay Hoyle, Conservative Rob Loughenbury, Liberal Democrat Stephen Fenn, Alistair Straw of the Green Party, independent candidate Adrian Maudsley and UKIP’s Mark Smith.

Candidates for Lancaster and Fleetwood are Conservative incumbent Eric Ollerenshaw, Cat Smith of the Labour Party, Liberal Democrat Robin Long, Chris Coates of the Green Party, Northern Party candidate Harold Elletson and UKIP’s Matthew Atkins.

In Ribble Valley, Conservative incumbent Nigel Evans will come up against David Hinder, Labour, Jackie Pearcey of the Liberal Democrats, Graham Sowter, Green, Grace Astley, independent, David Brass, independent, Tony Johnson, Independent Political Alliance and Shirley Parkinson, UKIP.

Fylde candidates are Conservative incumbent Mark Menzies, Labour’s Jed Sullivan, Freddie Van Mierlo of the Liberal Democrats, Elizabeth Clarkson of the Northern Party, Bob Dennett, Green, independent Mike Hill and Paul White, UKIP.

In Morecambe and Lunesdale, Conservative incumbent David Morris will come up against Labour’s Amina Lone, Liberal Democrat Matthew Severn, Phil Chandler of the Green Party, Michael Dawson of the Northern Party, and UKIP’s Steven Ogden.

And in West Lancashire, Labour incumbent Rosie Cooper will be vying for the seat alongside Conservative Paul Greenall, Daniel Lewis of the Liberal Democrats, Ben Basson of the Green Party, UKIP’s Jack Sen and David Braid of the War Veteran’s Pro-Traditional Family Party.

For the General Election picture across the North West, follow our results page here