FABS General Election news roundup (March)

Polling Station Sign

With an announcement of the date of the General Election seemingly just days away, The Journal takes a look at how the main political parties have been building up their campaigns in the fight for the new Filton and Bradley Stoke (FABS) constituency.

The last few days have seen the first election leaflets dropping on doormats in Bradley Stoke. In case they haven’t reached your street yet, here’s a quick summary of what the main candidates have to say:

Ian Boulton

Edition 5 of Labour’s FaBs News sees candidate Ian Boulton promising to support local businesses and jobs. There is criticism of “Tory plans to cut child tax credits” and praise for Labour’s record on policing (“crime down by a third since 1997”).

Mr Boulton has nothing specific to say about Bradley Stoke but tells readers of his work on a regeneration project in Staple Hill and his position as a governor of Patchway Community College.

Jack Lopresti

Conservative candidate Jack Lopresti’s newspaper, “delivered and produced at no cost to the taxpayer”, contains mostly articles on national issues such as “controlling immigration”, “help for working families” and “supporting pensioners”.

Mr Lopresti praises South Gloucestershire Council for “pushing through the lowest council tax rise ever” and welcomes “record investment” in repairing the district’s roads.

At a local level, Mr Lopresti is pictured at the Willow Brook Centre selling poppies for the British Legion.

Peter Tyzack

The Liberal Democrats’ Focus paper is fronted by their FABS candidate Peter Tyzack, standing beside his “newly decorated car” at the Willow Brook Centre.

The bulk of the paper concerns itself with Town Council issues (youth work, health provision and road safety) but there are also mentions of national “policy points” – plans to bring empty homes back into use and raising the threshold at which income tax becomes payable.

Moving on to the online campaigns, Ian Boulton (Labour) is way ahead of his competitors, with an offering of 11 videos on YouTube. The titles of Mr Boulton’s offerings range from “Local Roots, Local Knowledge” to “Labour Values, Labour Support”.

Mr Boulton is also a frequent publisher on Twitter, where we have learned that he has subscribed to the Bradley Stoke Examiner’s channel on YouTube. He also confesses to being a fan of the Tory-mocking website mydavidcameron.com.

The ‘recent news’ section of the FABS Liberal Democrat website has a mix of national and local stories. Vince Cable’s “victory” in the recent televised Chancellors’ Debate features prominently, contrasting with an article about Peter Tyzack praising investment in Bradley Stoke Library (by the Conservative-led South Gloucestershire Council!).

Jack Lopresti’s website similarly includes national headlines (from Conservative head office, e.g. “Gordon Brown caught out for using dodgy statistics”) and local issues such as “South Gloucestershire bus cuts imposed by the current Labour government”.

So which of the candidates is  most likely to become the first MP for the new constituency? A recent South West England General Election Guide in The Guardian describes FABS as a “key seat” but says:

All three parties have some concentrations of support and it would have been a three way marginal in 2005. If the Conservatives fail to win in 2010, they will be extremely disappointed.

Jack Lopresti remains the strong favourite with the bookies, although his odds with Ladbrokes have lengthened marginally (from 1/6 to 1/5) in recent days [oddschecker.com].

Details of all the candidates and their latest news offerings can be found on our FABS General Election 2010 page.

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