Will the Tories succeed this time in picking the still ‘low-hanging fruit’ of Eltham’s Brexiteers from the long-standing Labour incumbent candidate or will Labour’s well-regarded Labour candidate manage to hold on to his narrow majority (and add a bit more) despite UKIP’s no-show plumping up the Tory Brexit vote?
Eltham’s candidates for the 2017 General Election are:
The publication of the candidates on 11 May revealed that UKIP would not be standing this time round - significant because its 6,481 votes will be hotly-contested over. As a reminder, here are the 2015 General Election results:
|2015 General Election results|
In a further twist, despite there being no formal ‘Progressive Alliance’, the Greenwich Green party announced it would be standing down to give Labour's Efford the best chance.
The Conservatives have this time pitched Matt Hartley, Councillor for the Coldharbour & New Eltham ward and Leader of the Opposition on Greenwich Council. He had previously unsuccessfully contended the Greenwich & Woolwich seat.
Clive Efford, first voted in as part of the 1997 wave, continues to stand for the constituency in which he and his family have long lived. He and his campaign team kicked into action immediately and have been very active on the doorstep and with leafleting. The Conservatives followed suit with many Tory big guns visiting. The LibDems have brought in a university lecturer and charity consultant David Hall-Matthews. Here are the leaflets:
Eltham is 29th on the Tory hit list precisely because the incumbent Labour candidate is a) in a marginal constituency having narrowly won by 2,693 votes in 2015 and b) the Eltham constituency overall voted to leave theEU.
Both were written before Theresa May’s social care blunders and the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday 22 May after which campaigning was halted for a few days.
What has emerged is a changed narrative. The ‘Brexit election’ has stepped back into the shadows giving way to a new emphasis on security and generally better poll ratings for Corbyn and Labour Party.
Locally, government proposals for South Eastern trains has played large with locals up in arms over the possible axing of the all local trains to Victoria and Charing Cross, routing them instead to Cannon Street. A consultation is under way about this here, and you can read more about it on the Murky Depths blog
A week is a still a long time in politics and so the results are not a forgone conclusion, either way...