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How election may shape our region

By Mark Andrews | Politics | Published: | Last Updated:

Make no mistake, a general election is in the air – Boris Johnson’s recent campaigning alone shows politicians are flexing their muscles in readiness.

Top; Daniel Kawczynski, Mark Pritchard, Phil Dunn. Bottom; Owen Paterson, Glyn Davies and Lucy Allan

Telford looks set to be the county’s key battleground when Britain next goes to the polls, with Lucy Allan fighting to defend a slim majority of 720.

While Shropshire is unlikely to throw up too many upsets, with most of the county’s Tory MPs sitting on comfortable majorities, Ms Allan, who surprised many by snatching the traditionally Labour seat four years ago, will have a fight on her hands in what looks to be a key battleground seat.

Telford is just the kind of key marginal that Labour will need to win if it is to have any hope of forming a government, while defeat for the Tories would represent a big dent to any hopes of gaining a majority.

Telford looks too close to call this time around

Ms Allan retained the seat in 2017 with a slightly reduced majority, but it will be another tough fight this time around with the Brexit Party’s Elaine Adams threatening to take votes from the Tories. Labour’s candidate will be Katrina Gilman, who had previously contested the neighbouring Wrekin seat.

In the north and south of the county, Ludlow’s Philip Dunne and North Shropshire’s Owen Paterson look fairly certain to retain their seats, while Bill Wiggin’s North Herefordshire constituency looks even safer, with a majority of more than 21,000.

In Wales, Montgomeryshire looks to be an interesting fight between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Glyn Davies, the Tory MP since 2010, will not be contesting the seat, and it is hard to gauge what impact that will have on a constituency previously held by the Liberal Democrats. Neighbouring Clywyd South looks like a Labour hold.

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While Shrewsbury and Atcham and The Wrekin have previously been held by Labour, it would be a major upset if they were to take them off the Conservatives this time around.

Further afield, Brecon and Radnorshire looks an interesting battleground. Held by Tory Chris Davies since 2015, the seat was recalled after Mr Davies’s conviction for making expenses claims that were false or misleading, and he lost this summer’s by-election to Liberal Democrat Jane Dodds.

Constituency by constituency

TELFORD

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Lucy Allan

Current MP: Lucy Allan (Conservative)

Prediction: TOO CLOSE TO CALL

In 2015 Lucy Allan became the first Conservative to win the ex-Labour stronghold since the seat was formed in 1997. She has become well-known for campaigning against child sexual exploitation, and is an outspoken Brexiteer. She retained the seat with a majority of 720 in 2017, but that was without a Ukip challenger – and this time she faces the Brexit Party’s Elaine Adams. Labour’s Katrina Gilman will hope to capitalise on a split vote.

THE WREKIN

Mark Pritchard

Current MP: Mark Pritchard (Conservative)

Prediction: TORY HOLD

Jacob Rees-Mogg unsuccessfully tried to unseat former Labour MP Peter Bradley in this seat in 2001, but Mark Pritchard took it for the Conservatives four years later with a majority of 942. Since then, Mr Pritchard has held The Wrekin with majorities around the 10,000 mark. Labour’s Dylan Harrison returns to fight the seat for a second time, but it is hard to see past another Tory win this time around.

SHREWSBURY & ATCHAM

Daniel Kawczynski

Current MP: Daniel Kawczynski (Conservative)

Prediction: TORY HOLD

With a majority of around 7,000 last time around, MP Daniel Kawczynski will be confident of retaining the seat. The Brexiteer has backed the government’s hard line on Europe and also campaigned hard for a single emergency department in Shrewsbury under proposed hospital changes. Labour’s Laura Davies has had her own battle within the party to stand. She is a respected local GP who will hope to get close – if she stands.

LUDLOW

Philip Dunne

Current MP: Philip Dunne (Conservative)

Prediction: TORY HOLD

Ludlow briefly turned yellow in one of the shock results of 2001, but is once again Shropshire’s safest Tory seat. Once held by eurosceptic Christopher Gill, who led the rebellion against the Major government’s European policy in the 1990s, it has been held by Philip Dunne for the past 15 years. Mr Dunne, who was Jeremy Hunt’s campaign manager during his Tory leadership bid, holds a majority of more than 19,000.

NORTH SHROPSHIRE

Owen Paterson

Current MP: Owen Paterson (Conservative)

Prediction: TORY HOLD

A Conservative stronghold since the seat was formed in 1983, there was a brief scare for the Tories during the Blair landslide of 1997 when the party’s majority was slashed to 2,195, but since then it has proved safe ground for the Conservatives. The seat was held by John Biffen until 1997, when he was replaced by present incumbent Owen Paterson. Anything other than a strong Tory win would represent a remarkable turn-up for the books.

MONTGOMERYSHIRE

Glyn Davies

Current MP: Glyn Davies (Conservative)

Prediction: TORY HOLD

One thing we can be certain of is that incumbent MP Glyn Davies will not be the Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire after the General Election. Mr Davies, who took the seat from flamboyant Liberal Democrat Lembit Opik in 2010, has announced he will not be fighting the seat again. Welshpool-born ex-Cardiff North MP Craig Williams will be the Conservative candidate attempting to fend off the Lib Dem challenger Kishan Devani.

CLWYD SOUTH

Susan Jones

Current MP: Susan Jones (Labour)

Prediction: LABOUR HOLD

The seat, which covers Chirk and Llangollen, was where Boris Johnson cut his teeth as a parliamentary candidate in 1997. The seat has been Labour’s since it was created 22 years ago, and incumbent Susan Jones was returned with a comfortable majority of nearly 5,000 two years ago. The area voted Leave in the 2016 referendum, but the likelihood is that Labour will hold on to the seat.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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