In May, the next General Election is scheduled to be held. At the last General Election in 2010, the result for Dartford was as follows:
|Gareth Alan Johnson||Conservative Party||24428||48.78|
|John Paul Adams||The Labour Party||13800||27.56|
|James Martin Willis||Liberal Democrats||7361||14.70|
|Gary Rogers||English Democrats||2178||4.35|
|Richard Frank Palmer||UKIP||1842||3.68|
|John Ernie Crockford||Fancy Dress Party||207||0.41|
It would be nice to list the many benefits Mr Johnson has brought to Dartford during his term as our representative at Westminster; however, I am not sure there have been any. In fact on the one topic he should have been able to influence, a further Lower Thames Crossing, he has been unable to date to convince the Government that Dartford should be ruled out as a possible location.
From a Labour perspective, the national party chiefs have not included Dartford as one of their top 100 seats to target. Surely even the most optimistic Labour supporter will not expect them to regain the seat they lost in 2010. Certainly the result of the recent Rochester and Strood by-election doesn’t suggest that Labour will make any significant progress in our part of North Kent.
So what of the Liberal Democrats who finished in third place last time around? From what I have been told, it appears unlikely that they will be putting up a candidate in May. In fact in recent years, they have only shown an interest in Dartford at General Election time and have only put up a few candidates for the Borough Elections. If this is the case, it would mean that over 7000 voters will be looking to vote for a different party in 2015. It is unlikely that these would all switch to one party so if these are spread around the various parties, it should not make a significant dent in the Conservative majority.
UKIP have been gaining support in other parts of Kent over recent months but the performance of UKIP in both of the recent by-elections for Dartford Borough Council in Brent and Littlebrook Wards doesn’t suggest that they will be challenging the Conservative majority at this time.
It appears that for the first time at a Parliamentary Election, the Dartford electorate will get the chance to vote for a Green Party candidate. They may pick up their share of the previous Liberal Democratic voters, but as with UKIP, will not be able to mount a realistic challenge to the Conservatives.
Whilst there are still over four months to go until the General Election, with a comfortable majority exceeding 10000, I would expect Mr Johnson to re-elected as our MP with a comfortable, if reduced majority.