Sunday 30 June 2024


Ed Miliband (left) and his depiction as Wallace by cartoonist Peter Brookes

Last week we posted a throwaway meme to Facebook featuring Ed Miliband.  One of the comments read: "Rumours have it, he might lose his seat."  This piqued our interest and we looked into it, eagerly anticipating a potential upset.  Unfortunately, we found the exact opposite.

Ed's seat Doncaster North was drawn up in 1983 and has been held by Labour ever since.  The three seats from which this constituency was created had also previously returned Labour MPs dating back to 1964 (Doncaster), 1922 (Don Valley) and 1950 (Goole).  Doncaster North is a mostly rural area, incorporating a small part of Doncaster itself and several towns and villages to the north and west.

Miliband has been the MP here since 2005.  His majority peaked in 2017 with 14,024, but then crashed to an all time low in 2019 of just 2,370.  Now a marginal seat, it's easy to see why someone would assume Ed is now vulnerable. He's not...

The Tories nearly always finish second here, as they did in 2019.  However, in order to win they would need Labour to lose votes and in the very least hold their own.  That is simply not going to happen, with Miliband set to gain votes as the Tories lose thousands.  There could have been another challenger to Miliband this time around, but sadly it's not to be.

The Red Wall overwhelmingly voted Leave in 2016 and as such, there is a healthy Euro-sceptic vote in Doncaster.  The only year the Tories were pushed into third was 2015, when UKIP garnered an impressive vote share of 22.6 per cent.  With an EU referendum secured, their vote dropped significantly in 2017, but then the Brexit Party scored big here in 2019.

With Brexit now under threat from opposition parties stalling the process, the Tories came close to unseating Remainer Miliband.  This was not so much through increasing their own vote as the collapse in Labour's vote.  Ed lost just shy of 10,000 votes, while the Tories gained 1,683 votes.  The large majority of Miliband's AWOL voters went to the third placed Brexit Party.  The newcomers received an impressive 8,294 votes and 20.4 per cent.

The Brexit Party vote in Doncaster North was their fourth best result across the country and one upon which they could have built on this time around, taking votes from the Tories as well as Labour.  However, they have bizarrely opten not to field a candidate this time, apparently due to a deal they made with the Social Democratic Party in which the two parties would not contest the same seats.  As the SDP did not stand stand in Doncaster North in 2019, this decision is mind-numbingly dumb and if Reform did manage to win seats at this election (big ask) Doncaster North could have been one of them.  There are no other potential threats to Miliband to speak of and the SDP itself would do well to get one per cent of the vote, as they traditionally tend to finish last or at the lower end of the table.

It's a crowded ballot in Doncaster North with nine candidates standing on Thursday, including candidates from the Party of Women, the British Democrats, Yorkshire Party and trade unionists (TUSC).

Dave Bettney (SDP)
Glenn Bluff (Con)
Catherine Briggs (Wom)
Frank Calladine (BDem)
Christopher Dawson (Yrks)
Jonathan Harston (LDem)
Andy Hiles (TUSC)
Ed Miliband (Lab)
Tony Nicholson (Gren)

BTLP seat prediction: Lab HOLD

No comments:

Post a Comment