ELECTION UPDATE: Morecambe and Lancaster seats could be crucial to future government

David Morris at the election count at Salt Ayre Sports Centre in the early hours of Friday morning.
David Morris at the election count at Salt Ayre Sports Centre in the early hours of Friday morning.

The eyes of the UK could be on Morecambe and Lancaster in a few hours’ time as the battle for Parliamentary seats goes down to the wire.

With experts now predicting the Conservatives could win a narrow overall majority, who wins the Morecambe and Lunesdale, and Lancaster and Fleetwood seats is taking on national importance.

Neither seat had declared by 6am and a declaration of results was expected between 8am and 10am.

Talk in the count room at Salt Ayre Sports Centre was that Cat Smith could win Lancaster and Fleetwood for Labour with the battle between David Morris (Conservative) and Amina Lone (Labour) too close to call in Morecambe and Lunesdale, although Mr Morris may be edging it.

Mr Morris said he was quietly confident of victory while Labour sources in the count room were mixed over Ms Lone’s chances of unseating him.

Matt Severn, Liberal Democrat candidate for Morecambe, predicted Mr Morris would nick it and UKIP candidate Steven Ogden had gained enough support to come third.

Phil Chandler, Green party candidate in Morecambe and Lunesdale, said: “It would be a brave man who would make a prediction on what might happen.

“It’s looking very tight.”

His colleague Chris Coates, who is standing for the Greens in Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “From how it feels down here, Labour could win Lancaster and Fleetwood, but Morecambe is much closer.”

David Morris, who arrived at Salt Ayre on Thursday evening, said: “I have no idea how it’s going.

“Emma Smith, my girlfriend and agent, keeps coming up to me and saying I’m doing OK.

“She says I’m pulling 50% of the vote in the West End of Morecambe.

“They were queuing round the block in Bare and I’m told turnout was 75% at noon today. There were lots of people putting their thumbs up.”

His Labour rival Amina Lone was getting some rest after a hard day on the campaign trail, as was Eric Ollerenshaw, the Conservative candidate in Lancaster.

Cat Smith arrived at Salt Ayre at around 6am on Friday as the count moved into its final hours.

Turn out in Morecambe and Lunesdale was 64.62% with 43,403 ballot papers, up from 62.1% in 2010. Turn out in Lancaster and Fleetwood was 66.93% with 41,907 ballot papers, up from 61.1% in 2010.

Turn out for the Lancaster City Council elections, the results of which are due on Saturday, was 64.51%.

Steve Ogden, UKIP candidate in Morecambe, said: “I have heard lots of different rumours. But I have no idea. I think we have pinched votes off both main parties.

“I think we will get far in excess of two MPs.”

Matt Severn, Liberal Democrat candidate for Morecambe, said: “I’m really excited, it’s a real honour to be standing where I grew up.

“Hopefully in Morecambe and Lunesdale we will be able to hold our deposit and pick up a councillor or two.”

Chris Coates said early indications were that the Greens could be third in Lancaster.

But he said the Fleetwood ballot boxes may tell a different story as there has been strong support there for UKIP.

The count proper began at 2am.

Nationally, the Conservatives are predicted by exit polls to be the largest party.

They were predicted after polls closed on Thursday to win 316 seats to Labour’s 239 but on Friday morning experts were saying the Tories could win 325 seats, one short of an overall majority.

By 6.20am, 488 out of 650 seats had been declared, Conservatives 210, Labour 195, SNP 55, Lib Dems 6, UKIP 1, others 21. They were predicted to win 316 seats to Labour’s 239.

The Scottish National Party were having a great night after wiping out many Labour strongholds in Scotland, while it was turning into a bad night for the Lib Dems with cabinet members Vince Cable and Ed Davey losing their seats, as well as veteran MP Simon Hughes.

David Cameron, on retaining his Witney seat, said: “I want my party and I hope, a Government I’d like to lead, to reclaim the mantle of one nation, one United Kingdom.”

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, on holding his Doncaster North seat, said: “This has been a very difficult and disappointing night for the Labour party.”

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said on holding his Sheffield Hallam seat: “This has been a cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democrats.”

Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP, said: “The tectonic plates of Scottish politics have clearly shifted.”

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