Welcome to The Conversation: Will Keighley hold the key to determining election result?

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent

If there is a ‘Red Wall’ of Labour-held constituencies in Leave-supporting areas waiting to be smashed down by the Tories in a couple of weeks’ time, then Keighley is probably that line of stakes in the ground that Boris Johnson’s Brexiteer cavalry will have to clear before they get there.

This metaphor is getting too Game of Thronesey. And Keighley market, where I spent a couple of days this week, is about as far away from Westeros as it’s possible to get.

Suffice to say Labour has a majority of only a couple of hundred votes here, so if the Conservative strategy of going after Jeremy Corbyn in Labour’s heartlands is going to work, Keighley is key.

Traders in Keighley have found 2019 the toughest in years. Credit: ITV News

Stall holders in the market told me 2019 was the toughest year they could remember.

The exodus of customers online and out of town has taken its toll on their profit margins.

There are lingering loyalties to political parties - some see Labour as the best bet for breathing life back into their town, others back the Conservatives because they see them as more favourable to small businesses.

Voting intentions are being revised - often going against long-held beliefs. Credit: ITV News

Customers in the cafe at the entrance to the market reflected the same sense of flux I have found elsewhere in this campaign.

Voting habits which have lasted lifetimes are being jettisoned either because of a profound dislike of party leaders, or because of frustration over the lack of progress on Brexit.

Which brings me to the great unknown in Keighley - what effect the presence of a Brexit Party candidate will have.

Has Johnson done enough to protect the Tory vote? Will angry Labour leavers lend their votes to the Conservatives or to the Brexit Party?

We shall see here - for a look back at electoral history will tell you, where Keighley goes, the country almost always follows.

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