The East Midlands cover the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire. Major centres include the cities of Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and Northampton.
The East Midlands is a marginal region, with areas of support for both Labour and the Conservatives. The Labour Party holds a majority of seats, although the Conservatives held a majority when they were last in government. Labour dominates in Derbyshire and Northamptonshire, while the Conservatives dominate in the other three less urbanised counties.
The race in the East Midlands is almost a clear two-party race. The Liberal Democrats only hold one seat and came second in only a handful of others.
- 1987 – 33 CON, 11 LAB
- 1992 – 28 CON, 14 LAB
- 1997 – 30 LAB, 14 CON
- 2001 – 28 LAB, 15 CON, 1 LD
- 2005 – 25 LAB, 18 CON, 1 LD
The Conservatives held three quarters of East Midlands seats at the 1987 election, and held on to two thirds of seats in 1992. Upon the election of the Blair government in 1997 the tables turned, with Labour winning 30 seats to 14 for the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats failed to win a seat in the region at either election.
In 2001, Labour lost two of its seats. They lost Newark to the Conservatives and Chesterfield to the Liberal Democrats. In 2005, Labour lost three more seats to the Conservatives, all in Northamptonshire.
The key seats
- Loughborough, Corby, Northampton South, Broxstowe, High Peak, South Derbyshire – These Labour seats are 18th, 28th, 34th, 42nd, 44th and 53rd respectively on the Conservative target list. If the Conservatives are to become the largest party, all these seats will need to fall.
- North West Leicestershire, Lincoln, Gedling – these three seats are 81st, 83rd and 90th on the Conservative target list, seats that are likely to fall if the Conservatives are on track for a majority.
- Amber Valley, Erewash, Sherwood, Bassetlaw – these Labour seats are 137th, 154th, 159th and 162nd on the Conservative target list. If the party is winning these seats then it’s majority is probably going to be substantial.
- Derby North – a key three-cornered contest, the Liberal Democrats are 9% behind Labour, with the Conservatives a further 5% behind. In the current situation, this seat would appear to be a contest between the Lib Dems and Tories, with both parties claiming to be in a two-horse race with Labour, and Labour are doing it themselves.
- Northampton North – another three-cornered contest, the Tories trail Labour by 9% with the Liberal Democrats a further 3% behind.
- Leicester South – the Liberal Democrats trail Labour by 9% in this seat. It is the only two-way race where the Lib Dems are in with a real chance of winning in the East Midlands.