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New study finds that in the key general election marginals candidates with local links are likely to have an edge

August 29th, 2017

There’s a fascinating report in the Times this morning linked to in the Tweets above about a study by the Think Tank, Demos, on the local links of the 650 MPs elected to the House of Commons on June 8th.

By local Demos defined it as being born, educated or living within 20km of the constituency and the results on the seats that changed handed are striking.

    Of the 28 seats that LAB gained all but two were won by candidates with local links. Of the six seats that went from LAB to CON all of them were won by locals.

Looking at the main two party headcount fewer than a third (32.7%) of Tory MPs are local compared with 64.8% of LAB ones.

The numbers do not surprise me because at the very margin in key battlegrounds just a few hundred votes which might come from local links can make all the difference. The last election was characterised by many more extremely tight races than we have seen at previous elections.

What this does suggest, however, is that in heartland seats with big majorities then there is less need to choose a local.

I live in the ultra marginal of Bedford which has changed hands at two of the past three general elections and all main parties have been careful to choose contenders who meet the local test.

Mike Smithson