James Forsyth

Your guide to tonight’s entertainment

Your guide to tonight's entertainment
Text settings
Comments

The Electoral Reform Society has produced an invaluable briefing on tonight’s event. Handily, it includes the times that the key results are expected to be called—remember that the counting in London doesn’t begin until tomorrow although there should be an exit poll after the polls close at ten.

The results to look for are Bury (expected at midnight) which is currently under no overall control, if the Tories can  go from having a plurality of the seats to a majority it will suggest that the Cameron effect is spreading beyond London. North Tyneside (another one at midnight) is very possibly the win the Conservatives want most as it would show that they have friends in the north. Coventry (not expected to declare until 3am) could slightly sour Cameron’s night. Losing one seat would see the Tories lose control and provide whichever poor Labour Minister is sent on the Today Programme with a much-needed talking point. Other top Tory targets are Worcester and Redditch (we should know the result in both by midnight); losing the home of Worcester woman and the Home Secretary’s home patch would send shivers down Labour spines.

For comparison’s sake here are the national vote share equivalent from the last three sets of local elections:

2004:

Conservatives 37%

,

Labour 26%

,

Lib Dems 27%

2006:

Conservatives 39%

,

Labour 26%

,

Lib Dems 25%

2007:

Conservatives 40%

,

Labour 27%

,

Lib Dems 26%

The Conservatives will be keen to get comfortably into the forties, 42 percent would be OK for them but if they make it to 44 percent then they really would be in clover. Brown will be desperate for Labour not to fall below 26 percent. If they do, the comparisons with Blair will be incredibly unflattering. Nick Clegg will just be eager to push Labour into third to put a stop to the various mutterings about whether or not the Lib Dems are doing well enough under his leadership. 

You'll, obviously, be able to follow all of tonight's events on Coffee House.  

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Comments
Topics in this articlePolitics