Election 2015: My Prediction

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So this is it. It has all come down to this. That one day in five years when the British public get to change the course of the country (or not as the case may be...). You'll have seen many thousands of polls predicting the outcome and politicians saying what will happen, but in the coming hours we'll actually find out. But before then I thought I’d throw my hat of predictions into the ring.

HUNG PARLIAMENT

Conservatives – 285 seats

For the second election in a row Cameron will fail to win a majority (they now haven't won in 23 years), however it won't be as disastrous as some believe. Like it or not the party is seen as safe pair of hands with the economy, which means many who switched to Cameron last time will be sticking by him this time.

The Tories will win a few key marginals from the Liberal Democrats (especially in the South-West of England), as well as holding on to a few key seats in Labour-Tory marginals.

The main issue the Tories have is that the key to forming the next government will be which parties can get the all important number of seats to command a majority. 290 seats and they could probably continue with a coalition, but anything less and they'll struggle.

Labour – 270 seats

In opposition, Labour have failed to capitalise on the relatively unpopular government, which is seen by some as helping the privileged few over the poorer many. However Labour's biggest struggle has come from an unexpected battleground – the fight for Scotland!

I expect many thought the SNP were a flash in the pan, but tomorrow they'll be fighting for their political lives north of the border. Although I doubt they will lose every seat like some polls suggest, it isn't looking good. Labour have taken the Scottish vote for granted for way too long and tomorrow they may well feel the consequences.

Conversely, Labour will win some seats back from the Lib Dems who will be punished for joining the Tories in coalition. Seats like Burnley, Manchester Withington and Bradford East will probably return to Labour fold, bolstering their position and minimising, to some extent, the damage done in Scotland.

Liberal Democrats – 30 seats

30 seats?! But the Lib Dems are polling terribly I hear you cry, and while this is true, I don't believe they'll do as badly as everyone is claiming. The party has an on-the-ground operation that is second to none, they are so embedded in their constituencies and their communities, that they may well hang on. Despite their abysmal polling numbers they've regularly got 13% of the vote in local elections where people often vote as a protest, and I can't see them getting any less than this.

The most recent poll has them wiped out in Scotland, but I’ll eat my hat if they lose their safe Orkney and Shetland seat, and I believe that a one or two of the Highland MPs will cling on as well. Even though they are set to lose over 20 seats, their 30 – 35 will ensure that they remain a key part of any coalition negotiation.

SNP – 40 seats
The SNP is the party that have been grabbing all the headlines over the past few weeks, and although there will be a massive swing towards the SNP, they won't have as many seats as some predict (Cleggmania anyone?). But they'll certainly be big enough to extract some concessions for Scotland.

The important fights for them are against the Lib Dems in Gordon (where former leader Alex Salmond is standing) and against Labour in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath (Gordon Brown's former seat)  – capturing this seat will send a message to Scottish Labour – people have left you for someone better.

UKIP – 3 seats

Oh how far they've fallen from the highs of 20% in the polls and the 20 seats everyone was claiming they'll win. I think they’ll be lucky if they win three seats, but they'll probably get several second places. They're odds on for both Clacton and Thurrock, and then it's a toss up between Rochester and Strood or South Thanet.

I can't look past Nigel Farage winning his seat in South Thanet. Despite the recent low polling, I reckon the potential of such a high profile MP will be to appealing to the electorate.

Respect – 1 seat

Although it's the sort of seat Labour should be winning back, George Galloway looks set to keep the seat he won in the Bradford West by-election. Galloway is controversial, but a fantastic local campaigner. Several Bradford councillors have rejoined Respect bolstering his position too.

Greens – 1 seat

Caroline Lucas has been a great MP for Brighton Pavilion. She's high profile and stands up for what she believes in – she even got herself arrested in a fracking protest! Again, this is the sort of seat Labour should be winning back but, unfortunately for them, they won't.

Plaid Cymru – 2 seats

Plaid have not had the kind of rise that the SNP have, despite the extra publicity of Leanne Wood in the leader's debates. They currently hold three seats and I can't see them increasing that number, in fact with Labour polling so well in Wales they may well lose one.

Speaker – 1 seat

John Bercow is not being challenged by any of three main parties (as per tradition), and without a notable challenger from UKIP or the Greens, the Speaker should keep this seat with ease.

Northern Ireland – 18 seats

I don't pretend to know anything about Northern Irish politics, all I do know is that the Tories or Labour may well have to rely on support from one of these parties.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are likely to be the biggest party (with between 7 and 9 seats) - they're likely to win back Belfast East from the Alliance Party. The DUP and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) have also agreed a pact in certain seats, which could increase the overall number of unionists. Remember, Sinn Fein do not take their seat in Westminster so the more seats they win, the less seats a coalition needs to form a government.
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