views

Cameron fails to turn Britain blue

TORY leader David Cameron had hoped to turn Britain blue today but the party’s plan to target swing voters waned the further the Conservatives moved away from their heartlands in the South East.

Conservative strategists masterminded wins from Labour in seats like Kingswood in South Gloucestershire with a swing of 9.4 per cent, or Sutton and Devonport in Plymouth with a swing of 6.9 per cent.

But in Labour’s urban strongholds in the Midlands and the North, Cameron’s Tories failed to take key seats – such as Birmingham Edgbaston, or Bradford West – that would have helped them towards an overall majority.

Labour’s vote also held up in Scotland where it regained two seats it lost in by-elections.

Labour won 41 out of 58 seats, while the Tories ended up with just one MP, David Mundell, who held onto his seat in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

Mundell said: “It wasn’t my intention five years ago to be the only Conservative MP in Scotland and it certainly wasn’t my intention tonight.”

On the night Labour secured more than 40 per cent of all votes cast in Scotland, more than the last general election in 2005.

Elsewhere, the Scottish National Party (SNP) failed to reach its 20-seat target, while the Lib Dems also fell short in key target seats.

However, SNP leader Alex Salmond said it was “blatantly obvious” that people in Scotland had voted against the Conservative Party, and challenged their mandate to govern north of the border.

However, the Conservatives won five seats in Wales, including key marginals Cardiff North, the Vale of Glamorgan, Aberconwy, and the prize of Montgomeryshire, which had been the seat of flamboyant Lib Dem Lembit Opik.

The swing to the Conservatives was around five per cent across the Principality.

The new Conservative MP for Aberconwy Guto Bebb said the party had made “very significant gains in Wales”.

Some commentators suggested the new political map of Britain would see the Tories under-represented in Scotland and the North, undermining Cameron’s calls for a nationwide “Big Society” project.