The Lincolnshire Echo will begin a series of articles putting questions to candidates standing to become the next member of parliament for the Lincoln Constituency following the forthcoming General Election.
In what the paper describes as 'the tightest political battle' for the Lincoln seat 'in more than a decade' in today's Lincolnshire Echo questions from readers will be answered by the candidates of the three main parties who are looking to secure the seat at the polls.
Current incumbent, Ms Gillian Merron MP (Labour), Minister of State for Public Health, will be joined in the paper's 'Question Time' series by Mr. Karl McCartney (Conservative) and Cllr. Reg Shore (Liberal Democrat), Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on West Lindsey District Council representing Stow Ward and County Councillor for the Skellingthorpe and Hykeham South Division (which is part of the Lincoln Constituency).
Cllr. Shore will be the first to answer questions from Echo readers in today's paper followed by Mr. McCartney on Friday and Ms Merron on Saturday.
Ms Merron replaced Conservative, Kenneth Carlisle MP, in the 1997 General Election and was one of the 'Blair Babes'. She secured a landslide victory in which she gained 25,563 (54.9%) votes versus a Conservative vote of 14,443 (31%); which gave Ms Merron a respectable majority of 11,130.
In the 2001 General Election, Ms Merron's majority dipped to 8,420 as Conservative candidate Cllr. Mrs. Christine Talbot secured a similar percentage vote, 31.2% to Labour's 53.9%.
In the 2005, Mr. McCartney reduced the Labour MP's majority to 4,614. The Conservative vote was up slightly to 12,110 (32.9%) whilst Labour's vote droped slightly to 16,724 (45.4%).
Lincoln is Conservative target seat eighty-three according to ukpollingreport.com.
Electoral Calculus, which analyses opinion polls and electoral geography, is currently predicting that Conservaitve candidate Mr. McCartney will secure 42.9% of the vote in 2010, whilst Ms Merron is expected to finish second with 35%. Cllr. Shore would come third with 14% of the vote. Interestingly they predict a near four percent increase (from 3.94%) to 8.05% of the vote for other parties. In the 2005 General Election the United Kingdom Independence Party fielded the only forth party candidate. However where this notional eight percent would go if, as currently, no other parties were on the ballot is unknown; but could offer some hope for the embattled Ms Merron.
Lincoln Constituency 2005 General Election
Labour: 17,642 (43.8%), Conservative: 13,798 (34.3%), Liberal Democrat: 7,319 (18.2%), Other: 1,477 (3.7%). Giving Labour a majority of 3,844 (9.6%).
Candidates for the 2010 General Election
Ms Gillian Merron MP, Minister of State for Public Health (Labour), Mr. Karl McCartney(Conservative) and Cllr. Reg SHore (Liberal Democrat).
*Figures based on details available on ukpollingreport.com.