POLITICS

Election Results 2017: 20 Swing And Marginal Constituencies You Don't Want To Miss

Our handy guide to some of the most significant seats.

08/06/2017 16:00 BST | Updated 08/06/2017 20:43 BST

An election campaign that started off a foregone conclusion has certainly tightened up in its final weeks.

With many polls showing Labour have closed the gap on Theresa May and a projected collapse of 2015’s sizeable UKIP vote, there is still everything to play for.

Results will start to trickle in from about 10.45pm on Thursday and while it’s not over till it’s over, below are some of the seats which could give us key clues as to how things are looking throughout the night:

1. Houghton and Sunderland South

Time expected: 10.45pm

Incumbent: Bridget Phillipson (Labour)

This safe Labour seat traditionally declares first and isn’t usually a remarkable result - but dig a little deeper and this time it could tell us more about the national picture.  The key will be in the vote share - specifically the UKIP one.  If the party collapses as expected, where its supporters put their cross will be a huge deciding factor.  If the majority of those votes go to the Tories, it could be a very good night for Theresa May.  In the EU referendum, early north east constituencies and the vote share from both camps proved to be a good indicator of the final result. 

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Houghton and Sunderland South's Bridget Phillipson.

2. Darlington 

Time expected: 1.30am

Incumbent: Jenny Chapman (Labour)

Bumping Nuneaton from its usual place in lists like this, if Darlington changes from red to blue it will be one of the earlier indications that Labour is in real trouble.  Inside sources say if Jenny Chapman’s 3,000 majority is overturned, then the party could be on course for less than 200 seats.

3. Wrexham

Time expected: 1.30am

Incumbent: Ian Lucas (Labour)

The Tories have had their eye on Wrexham as a potential steal, with the PM making two visits to the north east Wales town.  It will be a huge marker if they manage it, as Wrexham has only ever been Labour since the 1930s.  Look out for similar patterns in nearby constituencies Alyn and Deeside (Mark Tami) and Delyn (David Hanson), with results expected for both at about 3am.

4. Bury North

Time expected: 2am

Incumbent: David Nuttall (Conservative)

Bury North is among Labour’s list of top target seats and a win here would signify a good night for Jeremy Corbyn.  Labour candidate James Frith is popular locally and stands a good chance, but insiders fear a negative Corbyn effect among undecideds could thwart his chances.  Neighbouring marginal Bury South, where our HuffPost UK-Edelman focus groups were held, should declare at about the same time.

 5. Hartlepool 

Time expected: 2.30am

Incumbent: Iain Wright (Labour)

UKIP ran Labour a pretty close second in 2015, so the way in which the vote splits among former supporters of Paul Nuttall’s party will give us another good idea of the national picture.  The Tories were pushed to third place and trailed Labour by 6,000 votes at the last election and if they manage to claw their way to the top this time, Labour could be looking at a disastrous overall result.

6. Vale of Clwyd

Time expected: 2.30am

Incumbent: James Davies (Conservative)

Losing Vale of Clwyd was a sure sign things were not looking good for Ed Miliband in 2015, with Chris Ruane ousted after nearly 20 years.  He will be hoping to make a triumphant return against his Tory rival this time and will been heartened by polls having shown strong Labour support in Wales.  However, an increased majority for James Davies could spell trouble for Labour in later Welsh marginals.  

7. Glasgow East

Time expected: 3am

Incumbent: Natalie McGarry (SNP)

Probably Labour’s best chance for clawing back some seats in Scotland, the Glasgow results should show us if it’s likely.  Former Better Together campaign director Kate Watson is the candidate and will be hoping to re-energise support in what was once a Labour heartland.  Incumbent Natalie McGarry will not stand again, as she is facing fraud charges.  Local activist David Linden will replace her if the SNP keep power. 

8. Dumbartonshire East

Time expected: 3am

Incumbent: John Nicolson (SNP)

The Lib Dems are confident their former equalities minister Jo Swinson will be able to win this seat back, as well as Edinburgh West, where they are also favourites. Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie reckons the party’s low polling (5%) masks a high level of support in key areas. “There is a mood in Scotland just now which is generally fed up with the constant pressure to get another independence referendum. And people are getting really angry,” he said.  This result will help us see if he’s right.

PA Wire/PA Images
SNP leader Angus Robertson could be in trouble.

9. Moray

Time expected: 3am

Incumbent: Angus Robertson (SNP)

Senior SNP figures fear their Westminster leader could be at risk from a Tory surge north of the border.  Angus Robertson and the neighbouring constituency to his, Banff and Buchan could go to the Tories if voters endorse Brexit and want to block a second independence referendum.

10. Rother Valley

Time expected: 3am

Incumbent: Kevin Barron (Labour)

Another Labour constituency with a significantly second-placed UKIP last time around, there are whispers the Tories think they could swing it.  It would be a blow to Corbyn and Labour given their long-standing campaigning for an inquiry into the clash between police and miners at Orgreave in 1984.

11. Vauxhall

Time expected: 3.30am

Incumbent: Kate Hoey (Labour)

This could be a surprising one.  Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey has historically been popular in her south London constituency, but the Lib Dems are confident on capitalising on the ‘disgruntled Remainer’ vote - and there are a fair few to be had.  The party has thrown money at its candidate George Turner, who says he’s had a positive response on the doorstep.  Would be a very interesting switch and could show there is appetite for the Lib Dems’ pro-EU message in the capital.

12. Gower

Time expected: 4am

Incumbent: Byron Davies (Conservative)

One of the most crushing moments for Labour in 2015 was losing Gower - a seat it had held for more than 100 years - by just 27 votes.  Not surprisingly, it’s top of the list to win back this time.  Labour sources say a hung parliament would be ‘a good night’ for the party, and this would be a key get in such a scenario. 

Neil Hall / Reuters
Gavin Barwell (right) with Theresa May on a campaign visit in Croydon Central.

13. Croydon Central

Time expected: 4am

Incumbent: Gavin Barwell (Conservative)

One of London’s tightest marginals, there were just 165 votes in it last time Labour’s Sarah Jones took on housing minister Gavin Barwell.  Labour is confident of winning here and it will be a good indication of how much Corbyn has appealed to voters in the capital.  However, Barwell is not an easy opponent to beat - a popular local MP, he is held in high regard by London local government officials across the political spectrum. 

14. Hendon

Time expected: 4am

Incumbent: Matthew Offord (Conservative)

We should have a reasonable idea which way the wind is blowing by this point and Labour insiders say if they manage to turn this Greater London seat red, they will be on course to remove the Tories from power.  Matthew Offord’s majority is just short of 4,000 and if Labour performs well in London, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. 

15. Richmond Park

Time expected: 4am

Incumbent: Sarah Olney (Lib Dem)

Sarah Olney had barely any time to find her way around Parliament before being thrown into another election campaign.  The Lib Dems were triumphant when they snatched the leafy west London seat from under Zac Goldsmith’s nose in December, after he resigned as an MP in protest against Tory plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.  However, Goldsmith is returning to the fold to fight the seat for the Conservatives - and it’ll be big news if he manages to win it back.

16. City of Chester

Time expected: 5am

Incumbent: Chris Matheson (Labour)

This key north west marginal has changed hands twice since 2010, with the Tories taking it from Labour in 2010 before Chris Matheson won it back again in a good result for the party last time around.  If the Conservatives’ Will Gallagher is triumphant this time, though, it will be a clear sign Labour is going backwards against the Tories.

17. Wirral West

Time expected: 5am

Incumbent: Margaret Greenwood (Labour)

Ousting Esther McVey and turfing the Tories out of Wirral was a coup for Labour in 2015 and the Merseyside seat is just as important this time.  Like Chester, it will be an indication of Corbyn’s performance against Theresa May.  The neighbouring Wirral South result, due an hour earlier, will also be worth watching. Progress chair Alison McGovern increased her majority tenfold last time around, but could be facing a closer run fight tonight.

PA Wire/PA Images
Jeremy Corbyn held a campaign rally on the beach in Wirral West.

18. Bristol West

Time expected: 5am

Incumbent: Thangam Debbonaire (Labour)

Labour took Bristol West from the Lib Dems in 2015, but now the Greens have set their sights on making it their second Parliamentary seat.  Candidate Molly Scott Cato is a serving MEP for the South West, so is known locally.  The Greens came within 5,000 of Labour last time around and they’ve thrown a fair bit of resource behind Bristol during this campaign, but they will probably be thwarted by Corbyn’s appeal to the left.

19. Edgbaston

Time expected: 5.30am

Incumbent: Gisela Stuart (Labour)

Leave campaigner and longstanding local MP Gisela Stuart is standing down at this election.  If Labour’s Preet Gill wins this key battleground, she will become the first Sikh woman in Parliament in a constituency that  has been represented only by women for the last 50 years.

20. Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

Time expected: 5.30am

Incumbent: Calum Kerr (SNP)

The Tories are hoping they have got Scotland’s most marginal constituency in the bag for candidate John Lamont, who resigned as a Tory MSP and Tory chief whip at Holyrood to stand in the Borders seat.  During the campaign, he said Conservative voters are now happy to publicly say so for the first time in decades.