The most marginal constituency in Northampton is ‘too close to call’ only a week before the General Election, according to the latest YouGov poll
The national race for control of the House of Commons could not be tighter with Conservatives and Labour polling neck-and-neck, 33 per cent a piece, depending of course on which poll you look at.
Every seat counts, if a party is to claim an overall majority.
In Northamptonshire no seat can be classed as ‘safe’ in the county, though there will be large swings needed to overturn majorities in Daventry and South Northamptonshire in particular.
It means marginal seats have become key battlegrounds and one of those - the Northampton North constituency - has seen Labour and Conservative throw everything but the kitchen sink at the patch to win over voters.
The latest YouGov poll on April 23 handed Sally Keeble, the Labour candidate there, a slight win, but the seat, held by Conservative Michael Ellis, could go either way with the Green Party, UKIP and the Lib Dems all expected to poll well.
At a ‘meet the candidate’ event at the Royal and Derngate last week, floating voters attended with the hope of being wooed by the Northampton North candidates.
On his way into the theatre 64-year-old Frank Ludlow, of Aspen close, Rectory Farm, knew what he was looking for.
“What I want is an MP who has some passion and will sometimes step out of line for the things they believe in,” he said, as he dismayed at the lack of arts funding promised in the main party manifestos this year.
Elsewhere in the constituency, others are no closer to making up their mind.
Tim Brown, who runs a marketing and webs design company Media Identity, based at he Portfolio Innovation centre on St George’s Avenue, says he is no closer to deciding who to vote for.
He got the chance to meet Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna on one of many high level visits to the area.
“Obviously I’m a businessman so I’m interested in anything to do with taxes and I’ve got a young family so I’m also interested in anything involving the NHS,” he said.
But he added: “I don’t think it’s an easy decision to make at this election.”
And while much of the rhetoric at this election has centred around the ‘hard working families’ of Great Britain, 25-year-old Ali Toomey from Northampton says she is considering voting Conservative, but has been disappointed with the Coalition government of the last five years.
As a mother of a 10-month old son with special dietary needs, she still works as a carer part time and receives just £10 a week in working tax credits. “There is not enough support for young mothers,” she said. “They need to promise a lot more for working families, I would have earned around £7,000 more if I didn’t work.”
Political allegiances are teetering on a knife’s edge. It really is too close to call.
But Michael Ellis says his record in office has earned him the right to serve for another five years.
He said: “Northampton North is a crucial marginal seat and the result here will help decide whether David Cameron is Prime Minister on 7th May.
“A vote for anyone else is a vote for the chaos of Ed Miliband in Number 10, propped up by Nicola Sturgeon, as opposed to the proven competence of David Cameron.”
Sally Keeble, who held the seat between 2005 and 2010 for Labour, said; “Above all, I’ll be an MP who will be here for you. Over the past 18 months I’ve listened to thousands of people on the doorstep. That’s how I’ll continue as your MP – your priorities will also be mine.”
But with UKIP coming a close third in the YouGov poll, which predicts the party could take between 14 and 26 per cent of the vote, its candidate Tom Rubython says he is the man to represent north Northamptonians in Parliament.
He said: “If I become your MP there will be no more green fields built on in Northampton and that may mean me calling on you to come and lie down with me in front of the bulldozers.”