Local Tories think Alex Chalk may be 'at risk'

Originally published 26 April 2017.

Sources within Cheltenham's own Conservative Party believe that incumbent MP Alex Chalk may at risk of losing the seat to former Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood in the general election on 8 June, according to the Conservative website conservativehome.com.

The website's analysis of battleground seats in the southwest (see story here) says:

"Alex Chalk captured this with an 11-point swing to secure a majority over the Lib Dems of over 6,500, but local sources suggest this pro-Remain town may be at risk. Not only do they have an overwhelming majority on Cheltenham Council but Martin Horwood, the former MP, is their candidate again. Whilst UKIP got just over 3,800 voters in 2015 there are plenty of Labour (3,902) and Green (2,689) to reinforce Horwood. Electoral Calculus give Chalk an almost four-in-five chance of hanging on, but that may be underestimating a concentration of Lib Dem strength in this seat."

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Martin Horwood commented:

"It's flattering that even local Conservatives think we may win Cheltenham back on 8 June but we're not taking anything for granted.  Our early canvassing agrees there's a swing back to the Liberal Democrats but there's a pretty big Conservative majority to overturn and they are the richest party in British politics.  If they turn the flood of slick marketing materials and web ads and posters and mailshots and telephone calls on us again as they did in 2015, we'll have the fight of our lives on our hands."

"Where the Conservative analysis is quite right though is when it points out that we need Green and Labour voters to vote Liberal Democrat this time if we're to win.  Cheltenham is always a two-horse race and if you don't want an overwhelming Tory landslide nationally, then you have to vote Lib Dem here."


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