by Stephen Tall on January 18, 2010
Alex Finnegan at the Mandate blog has identified Burnley as one of the key seats to watch at this year’s general election, with the Lib Dems tipped to take the challenge to Labour in one of its heartland seats:
With former Government Minister Kitty Usher standing down because of her expenses’ claims, Burnley is the sort of seat the Liberal Democrats need to gain from Labour in order to do well. The Lib Dem candidate, Gordon Birtwistle, is the current leader of Burnley Council and has strong local roots and the Liberal Democrats have performed well in recent local elections. The BNP is also a factor. It could steal some of Labour’s traditional voters away, allowing the Liberal Democrats to sneak in. A defeat for Labour in its heartland would send shockwaves around the Party.
The Lib Dems have been leading the fightback against the BNP in Burnley – just seven years ago, the BNP formed the official opposition on the council until a crucial by-election in June 2003. By June 2009, the party topped the poll in both the local and European elections, ahead of Labour and the BNP.