What does a General Election mean for the West Country?

I've prattled on about Brexit and the chance of an election for months and tried to explain the inner workings of Parliament as MPs try to forge a way forward, but finally they have agreed on something - and they're all giving us the chance to give them the sack on the 12th December.

Not only is an election in December rare - there hasn't been one since the 1920s - but this election will also stand out because it is so unpredictable.

MPs and officials from every party tell me that this is a massive risk and they can't guarantee getting the outcome they desire.

Credit: PA Images

Due to the political uncertainty and Brexit disagreements criss-crossing traditional party lines it means the various parties see some of the safest seats under threat this time.

Across the West Country numerous political rivalries are brewing. The Conservatives won 42 out of the 50 seats in the West Country in the 2017 election, with the Lib Dems winning one and Labour seven.

The current political picture in the West Country Credit: ITV News

What is worrying Tory candidates is the resurgence of the Lib Dems across the West Country and also the threat of the Brexit Party. Both did very well in Conservative areas during May's European elections and are doing well in the polls.

The fear amongst the Tories is they're vulnerable in places like Cheltenham, Wells, St Ives, North Devon where they could lose votes to the Brexit Party and then allow the Lib Dems in.


However, as I say this is a very unpredictable election and the concerns in some Lib Dem camps is that most of their target seats which also include Totnes, St Ives, North Cornwall, and Chippenham voted to leave the EU and the party is campaigning to cancel Brexit.

The only Lib Dem target seat that voted remain is Cheltenham. The Brexit Party is yet to announce how it'll fight this election, but it received more votes in May's election in the West Country so it could do well in December, seats in places like Plymouth, Torbay and Dorset could be in their sights. and Chippenham voted to leave the EU and the party is campaigning to cancel Brexit.

The current political picture in the West Credit: ITV News

Labour has traditionally done very well in Bristol and Exeter and has a long standing battle with the Tories in Plymouth - as things stand those trends look set to continue.

The party has a fight on its hand in Stroud where the Labour majority is less than 1000, but the party is also planning to go on the attack in Swindon, Filton & Bradley Stoke and Truro & Falmouth.

Another unknown quantity in this election is the Green Party, they came third in the recent MEP elections and have Stroud and Bristol West in mind as potential gains. Of course the debate around climate change has taken centre stage a fair bit recently and the party hopes that'll help it.

Credit: PA Images

Whatever your view this promises to be an exciting election across the West Country, as much as our politicians will say publicly that they're confident - they are far from it in private.

Strap yourselves in its going to be a turbulent and unpredictable few weeks!