Everything pointing to tight results in two constituencies

Our two constituencies were won with narrow margins in 2010.
Our two constituencies were won with narrow margins in 2010.

With politicians in Lancaster and Morecambe facing an anxious wait next month for the results of the General Election in two of the country’s most marginal seats, Guardian reporter Gayle Rouncivell looks at the recent history of the two constituencies.

Conservative parliamentary candidates Eric Ollerenshaw and David Morris will be waiting to discover whether they’ve done enough to repel Labour’s challenge in Lancaster & Fleetwood and Morecambe & Lunesdale respectively.

Eric Ollerenshaw.

Eric Ollerenshaw.

In the 2010 election, Ollerenshaw won with majority of just 333, while Morris had an 866-vote advantage.

Lancaster and Fleetwood was formed as a constituency in the House of Commons in 2010.

Following their review of parliamentary representation in Lancashire, the Boundary Commission created a new constituency involving Wyre and Preston North for the 2010 General Election, which split the previous linking of Lancaster and Wyre.

The new seat of Lancaster and Fleetwood was subject to public consultation following the decision to create a new seat in Lancashire in the run-up to the 2010 election, which caused major consequential changes to the central and southern parts of the county.

Conservative David Morris.

Conservative David Morris.

During the consultation process, the Wyre ward of Cabus was moved from Lancaster and Fleetwood to Wyre and Preston North.

The seat has the following electoral wards in the City of Lancaster: Bulk, Castle, Dukes, Ellel, John O’Gaunt, Lower Lune Valley, Scotforth East, Scotforth West and University.

Previously, Lancaster being paired with Wyre made for a relatively easy Conservative gain at the 2005 election.

The new seat was much more of a challenge for the Tories, with Fleetwood being largely Labour voting and with much Labour and Green party strength in Lancaster.

In the event the Conservatives managed to win the seat by only the narrowest of margins, 15,404 votes (36.1 per cent) to 15,071 (35.3 per cent).

Morecambe and Lunesdale is a constituency which since 1979 has been a ‘bellwether’ – a geographic region where results can predict the eventual result of a wider area – and includes the seaside resort and many surrounding villages as well as the north bank of the city of Lancaster, which is largely Skerton.

This seat brings together northern semi-rural reaches of Lancashire bisected by the M6, including Silverdale and Carnforth south of the Cumbria border, Morecambe and Heysham.

The constituency was formerly Morecambe and Lonsdale and gained a new name and adjusted boundaries in 1983.

For the General Election of that year, sections of the constituency removed to be united with the former county of Westmorland in the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency.

In boundary changes in the 2000s, only minor adjustments were made. The constituency has City of Lancaster electoral wards: Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Halton-with-Aughton, Harbour, Heysham Central, Heysham North, Heysham South, Kellet, Overton, Poulton, Silverdale, Skerton East, Skerton West, Slyne-with-Hest, Torrisholme, Upper Lune Valley, Warton and Westgate. Once a reliable Conservative seat, like many others this fell to Labour in their 1997 landslide and was only narrowly regained by the Tories in 2010, with 18,035 votes (41.5 per cent) compared to Labour’s 17,169 (39.5 per cent).