Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Lincoln is the Local Battleground to Watch in May

Whilst for many across Lincolnshire 2012 represents a break in the usual electioneering that we have come to expect at this time of year, not so for residents of Lincoln, who still elect the City Council by the 'thirds' method, an authority tipped to be at the centre of attentions over the coming weeks.

Lincoln City is the only part of the county that still holds elections for council members every year. Lincoln City Council has one third of its members elected each year and in the fourth year elections take place for the city's County Councillors.

Lincoln City Council, which covers the majority of the the parliamentary constituency - both before and after proposed changes to the constituency boundary - is a 'bell-weather' constituency. With Conservative Karl McCartney MP, gaining only the slightest of majorities (1,058) in the 2010 general election, the machinations of the locals are observed with keen interest by the political classes.

Currently the Council is under Labour control, with a majority of one. The Labour party took back control from a Liberal Democrat supported Conservative administration in local elections last year in 2011.

The Local Government Information Unit says of the Lincoln contest:
"The political balance in Lincoln is on a knife edge between Labour and Conservatives. The outcome this time has extra significance as this is now a top parliamentary marginal."
UK Polling Report suggests that under the current boundaries Lincoln is the Labour Party's nineteenth target at  a future general election. And with substantial changes to the Lincoln constituency boundary, Mr. McCartney will have to work hard to gain votes from new voters to the constituency.

Forty-six individuals from six parties will contest these seats. The three main parties, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Labour, have all fielded full slates of eleven candidates. The United Kingdom Independence Party are fielding seven, there are five candidates from Trade Unionists and Socialist Against Cuts and the British National Party have fielded one candidate in the Bracebridge ward.

Already the Lincoln Labour Party have been throwing big guns at the contest; the selection of their parliamentary prospective candidate (Lucy Rigby) and visits from David Miliband and Caroline Flint are giving impetus to a campaign which appears to lack foot soldiers - no reports of any literature being delivered. Meanwhile both Conservative and Liberal Democrat campaign teams have been out delivering literature to local residents in key wards.

Time will tell if the Lincoln Labour Party are suffering the ill-effects of a manpower shortage. The Conservatives in the city have determination to win and have mobilised a significant force of volunteers to aid their campaign. This suggests that Lincoln's Conservatives may do respectably on election day.

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