Polls open in Lancaster and Morecambe for 2017 snap general election

Who will you be voting for?
Who will you be voting for?

The countdown begins with polls now open across Lancaster and Morecambe for this year’s snap general election.

Polling stations opened at 7am across the district today, June 8, and will close at 10pm tonight.

The countdown begins

The countdown begins

The race for the Lancaster seat is likely to go down to the wire.

Bookmakers had the former Conservative MP Eric Ollerenshaw as a narrow 1-3 favourite to unseat Labour’s Cat Smith (2-1) who beat him in the 2015 election.

In Morecambe and Lunesdale, David Morris (Conservative) was a heavy favourite (1-40 with some bookmakers) to retain his seat.

National polls showed Britain could be heading for a hung parliament as Labour continued to close the gap on the Tories – who had a healthy lead in the polls whenthe snap election was announced.

The count takes place at Lancaster Town Hall with Lancaster City Council chief executive Susan Parsonage as acting returning officer.

Results are expected around breakfast time on Friday, June 9.

New voters in the Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency could decide the outcome of today’s general election locally.

Lancaster and Fleetwood has been identified as one of the areas where newly registered voters could decide the result, according to a study by Bureau Local and The Times.

Over the last two years, 5,249 people have newly registered to vote in Lancaster and Fleetwood.

Labour beat the Conservatives to the seat by 1,265 votes in 2015.

Voters go to the polls today, Thursday June 8, in what is being billed as one of the most important elections in a generation.

Issues including Brexit, the NHS, austerity, the economy, education, foreign policy and police numbers will all be on people’s minds as they go to cast their vote at the ballot box.

There are four candidates vying for the seat in Lancaster and Fleetwood.

Robin Long, for the Liberal Democrats, Rebecca Novell, for the Green Party, Eric Ollerenshaw, for the Conservative Party, and Cat Smith, for the Labour Party.

In 2015, 41,738 people turned out to vote, which equates to 68.6 per cent of the electorate.

A total of 4,060 people voted for UKIP in 2015, but the party has not put forward a candidate this year.

According to bookmakers Paddypower, Eric Ollerenshaw and The Conservative Party is a narrow favourite at 1/3 to win the seat.

This is compared to Cat Smith and Labour at 2/1, Robin Long and the Liberal Democrats at 22/1 and Rebecca Novell and The Green Party at 100/1.

The odds for Theresa May to remain as Prime Minister are 4/1.

In Morecambe and Lunesdale, there are five candidates vying for the seat, previously occupied by Conservative MP David Morris.

The candidates are Robert Gillespie (UKIP), David Morris (Conservative), Matthew Severn (Liberal Democrat), Cait Sinclair (Green Party), and Vikki Singleton (Labour Party).

In 2015, David Morris won the race with 19,691 votes, against Amina Lone’s 15,101, a majority of 4,590.

UKIP won 5,358 of the votes.

The turnout was 65 per cent.

In 2010, the margin was much narrower, after David Morris beat Geraldine Smith by just 866 votes.

The Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency includes Morecambe, Heysham, Carnforth, Bolton-le-Sands, Hest Bank, Halton, Over and Nether Kellet, Overton, Silverdale, Torrisholme, Upper Lune Valley and Warton.

Once a safe Conservative seat, Morecambe voted Labour in the 1997 General Election.

The results in the general elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005 had remarkably similar majorities with virtually no swing to the Conservatives. But the Conservatives gained the seat at the 2010 General Election with an above average swing.

The Wyre & Preston North Seat up for grabs in the general election today, June 8, is considered a safe seat for the Conservative Party.

Standing this year are Ben Wallace (Conservative), Ruth Norbury (Green), Michelle Heaton-Bailey (Labour), and John Potter (Lib Dem).

The constituency was formed in 2010 from parts of the former Lancaster and Wyre, Ribble Valley and Fylde, constituencies.

Tory Ben Wallace first represented the area after he was elected for the former seat in Lancaster and Wyre in 2005 and was elected to the new seat in 2010 and again in 2015.

It is regarded as a safe seat with a reliable turnout - nearly 71 per cent at the last election. But last time Labour caused a surprise coming second with UKIP in third place.

In South Lakeland Liberal Democrat leader and previous MP Tim Farron will be contesting his Westmorland and Lonsdale seat.

James Airey, from Ulverston, will represent the Conservative Party, Eli Aldridge, from Kendal will represent Labour, and the infamous Mr Fishfinger is standing as an independent. The Green Party withdrew their prospective candidate Ian Rodham in May, urging voters to back the Liberal Democrats instead.

There’s still time to watch our election interviews with the Lancaster and Fleetwood and Morecambe and Lunesdale candidates.

Either visit our website www.lancasterguardian.co.uk and search for the videos in the politics section, or have a look at our Facebook page and scroll through for the videos.

There’s still time to watch our election interviews with the four Lancaster and Fleetwood and five Morecambe and Lunesdale candidates.

Either visit our website www.lancasterguardian.co.uk and search for the videos in the politics section, or have a look at our Facebook page and scroll through for the videos.

Follow our coverage through Thursday night and Friday morning at www.lancasterguardian.co.uk and facebook.com/lancasterguardian .