December 12, 2019 by Paul Goldsmith
If, like me, you are staying up for election night, it might be useful to know what you are looking for. In some seats it’s not about who won, but by how much. In other constituencies it is possible that one or two party leaders could lose their seats. Here’s some things to look out for as the results roll in.
The exit poll – I have already written about this, but the exit poll is a vital part of the night, and it drops at 10pm. The broadcasters start their programme at 9:55 and the exit will likely tell us how the night is going to go. But it could be wrong, and we will be able to tell by half way through the night.
The north east – There is a race to see which Labour strongholds in Sunderland and Newcastle can declare first. The record is 10:49 by the way. Labour will win, but if the majorities are a lot smaller, that will be a guide as to how Labour and the Conservatives have done overall.
Scotland – The SNP will want to see how many of the 20 seats they lost in 2017 can come back. As they start being announced, the key is whether Unionists have decided to all vote for the Tories. If they have, Labour could have next to no seats, and the Tories could actually gain some. However, the Tories also have some to defend from the SNP, so that will be interesting too. Look out for Ayr.
Wales – Here the battle, in a country which voted Leave, is between Labour and the Conservatives. Again, even if Labour win, if the majorities are down that could be a signal for Tory gains elsewhere. Look out for Gower.
Canterbury – Rosie Duffield’s victory here was a massive surprise for Labour. If she has lost it there are two possible reasons: The Lib Dems refused to step down, even though Tim Walker, their first candidate, did so, so the Remain vote got split. Or the Conservatives are going to win back the seats they lost (hello Kensington).
Esher – The Lib Dems have been throwing the kitchen sink at Dominic Raab’s seat of wealthy Remainers. If they have won that could be a sign of a better night than the polling suggests.
East Dumbartonshire – Jo Swinson’s seat is under attack from the SNP and if it goes, as it did in 2015, then her rather ill-starred leadership will be over six months after it started.
Uxbridge – Meanwhile, Boris Johnson’s majority is only 5000, and he could become the first sitting Prime Minister to lose his seat since Arthur Balfour in 1906. Labour have thrown a lot at it and the Lib Dems have all but stood aside.
Bristol West – I am going to assume Caroline Lucas will hold onto Brighton Pavilion. So if the Green Party are going to pick up any more seats Bristol West will be the guide. Molly Scott Cato is battling Labour but without the Lib Dems to take her vote, as they stood aside in a pact.
Northern Ireland – in South Belfast the SDLP are trying to take the seat from the DUP and in North Belfast Sinn Fein are trying to do similar. In the latter, which is Westminster leader Nigel Dodds’s seat, the SDLP have stood aside to clear the way. Could be a tough night for the party which has held so much power in its hands for over two years.
Of course, there are other interesting seats, but those are the ones I will be looking out for. Have fun!