Why 17000 UKIP voters could hold the balance of power in Erdington, Edgbaston and Northfield

Just over 17,000 former UKIP voters could swing three key seats in Birmingham, according to a special analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Sutton Coldfield Local and Birmingham Eastside.

The seats — Edgbaston, Erdington, and Northfield — are among 75 key constituencies in this election identified as part of a project organised by the Bureau’s collaborative project Bureau Local.

All have Labour majorities of between 2,500 and 5,000, and have no candidate representing UKIP in this election.

The numbers of votes cast for UKIP in the 2015 election are enough to overturn those majorities in each of those seats.

Birmingham Northfield is the most vulnerable seat: Labour’s Richard Burden won the seat in 2015 with a majority of just 2,509, while UKIP finished third. The 7,106 votes cast for UKIP are up for grabs in this election.

In Birmingham Edgbaston and Birmingham Erdington — the latter a Conservative target — the numbers of UKIP votes in the last election are also larger than the majority enjoyed by the Labour candidate in the last election.

In Sutton Coldfield there is also no UKIP candidate standing. Over 7,000 votes were cast for the party in the constituency in 2015, when Andrew Mitchell won on a majority of 16,000, and the Conservative MP stands to extend that if, as expected, the majority of former UKIP voters transfer their vote to the Conservatives.

However, the proportion of former UKIP voters expected to do so has changed over the course of the election campaign: three weeks ago polling suggested that the Conservatives were overwhelmingly benefiting from UKIP voters switching allegiance across the country. But by last week indications suggested that many UKIP voters were changing their minds.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism analysis suggests there are 61 seats across the country where the former UKIP vote is large enough to unseat the local MP, and around a dozen where a lack of a Green Party candidate could also have a significant effect. New voter registrations in a further 19 seats are significant enough to overturn majorities there.

This post first appeared on Birmingham Eastside.

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