General Election 2015: Battle lines drawn for marginal south west London seats

As the general election creeps ever closer, battle lines are being drawn in the marginal and target seats in south west London.

Constituencies that promise to be the fiercest battlegrounds are Croydon Central, Sutton & Cheam and Carshalton & Wallington, which could prove vital for the major parties.

There are 73 constituencies in the capital, but only 13 of those are target seats, identified by the parties as winnable seats that could decide the election outcome.

Many of those 13 seats are marginal, meaning that a swing of around 5% in votes would decide who wins them.

Although not a major marginal seat as a swing of more than 6% would be required, former Liberal Democrat stronghold Carshalton & Wallington could still fall out of their grip.

After losing the seat in 1997, the Conservatives are beginning to claw their way back into contention, according to recent polls.

If they were to win the seat from their coalition partners, it would mean the Lib Dems would lose one of their main strongholds in south west London.

The current MP Tom Brake, who became Deputy Leader of the House of Commons in 2012, was able to retain the seat in 2005 and 2010 after being first elected to the seat in 1997.

His experiences and past success may prove vital for his party in the scrap over this seat.

Over in Sutton & Cheam lies another marginal seat, it was narrowly won in 1997 by MP Paul Burstow who has held the seat for the Lib Dems ever since.

Their victory in 1997 was driven by the large number of affluent residents pledging their support to the party, handing it back to them for the first time since the 70s.

In 2010, however, their win was another close one and was likely helped by an article in the Observer which claimed that the Tory candidate, Philippa Stroud, had once founded a church that offered to cure homosexuals.

Much like Carshalton & Wallington, the Lib Dems may have to rely on the past successes of their MP in this seat in order to retain it.

The count will be closer in Croydon Central which, at the last count, had only a 2.9% margin between Conservative and Labour, this seat will be one of the closest contests of the general election.

The seat has changed hands between the Conservatives and Labour in the past few elections, with current MP Gavin Barwell preventing Labour from retaining the seat in 2010.

It sits between the safely Conservative Croydon South and the Labour-controlled Croydon North.

Labour won the council back in last year’s local elections but UKIP also made substantial gains with 17.5% of the vote.

If that 17.5% is predominantly made up of former Tories, then they may well lose the seat in the election.

Image courtesy of FutUndBeidl, with thanks

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