With only a week until polling day, pundits differ on Stevenage’s election victor

Leader of Stevenage council Sharon Taylor, TTI apprentice Sydney Finn and Labour party member Tristr

Leader of Stevenage council Sharon Taylor, TTI apprentice Sydney Finn and Labour party member Tristram Hunt at the Stevenage Business Technology Centre - Credit: Archant

With exactly a week to go before the general election bookies and pundits are split over who will be Stevenage’s next MP.

Eric Pickles and Stephen McPartland campaigning in Stevenage town centre, April 2015

Eric Pickles and Stephen McPartland campaigning in Stevenage town centre, April 2015 - Credit: Archant

Spread betting website Sporting Index have Conservative candidate and the town’s former MP Stephen McPartland on course to reclaim his seat – just.

But former Conservative politician and prolific election blogger Iain Dale has tipped Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor to gain the seat for Labour by a ‘very narrow’ margin.

It seems that whatever the differences in opinion over who’s going to win the seat everyone agrees it’s going to be a very tight contest when the ballot papers are counted at Stevenage Leisure Centre next week.

Political spokesman for Sporting Index Ed Fulton said: “The race in Stevenage is shaping up to be one of the closest in the country – and it could come down to just a few votes here or there.


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“The Tories are still marginally ahead but it’s going to go right down to the wire.

“Yet, there is still a long way to go until May 7 and there will certainly be twists and turns in the road ahead for both candidates.

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“As quickly as fortunes can change for politicians, so do the markets. It’s still all to play for.”

Meanwhile Mr Dale, who unsuccessfully ran for the Tories in North Norfolk in the 2005 election said: “It’s another bellwether seat, held by the Conservatives from 1983 to 1997 and Labour from 1997 to 2010.

“Stephen McPartland will do well to hang on here if Ed Miliband comes within a sniff of Number 10. Could be one of the closest results of the night.”

In the 2010 election Mr McPartland won the seat with a majority of 3,500 votes. Stevenage has been won by the party which went on to form a goverment at every election since the seat was created in 1983.

All the candidates will appear on Sunday at a Churches Together election hustings at the Grace Community Church in Hydean Way at 7.15pm.

l More election news, page 44.

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