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Tory hopes of benefitting from a first time incumbency bonus depend on first time incumbents standing again

September 1st, 2014

The more that follow Kelly route the bigger the task at GE2015

Dudley South was won by the Tories at GE2010 with a majority of 10.1% and is LAB target number 75. On current national polling it is one of a critical batch of seats that Labour needs to gain in order to secure a working majority. Currently Ladbrokes make the Tories 4/5 favourite to retain it.

It was won by the Tories in 2010 by Chris Kelly who announced last night that he will not be standing again at GE2015 making him the eighth from the CON 2010 intake to announce such a move.

The chances are that his decision will impede the Tory effort to retain it. For one of the electoral dynamics that we have seen is that first time incumbents do better than the national average for their parties when they seek to retain their seats for the first time. See my post from last year.

Labour has been seeking to undermine this factor by in quite a number of cases re-selecting former MPs to fight the LAB-CON marginals that were lost in 2010. My own seat of Bedford and Nick Palmer in Broxtowe are good examples. It will be interesting to see if this strategy has an impact.

    The Tories have been investing a lot of hope in the first time incumbency dynamic and they are probably right to expect a 1-2% boost. But this requires the MP who won for the first time in 2010 to stand again.

The more that first term Tory MPs follow the Kelly route the bigger the challenge for their party in hanging on to power.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble