Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is among the unitary authorities with a third of seats up for election on May 6. The Council is hung – since 2007 there has been a Conservative/Lib Dem/"For Darwen" coalition and the Council has a Conservative leader, Cllr Michael Lee. The Council has worked hard to attract business to the area – last month it was announced that Capita are expanding their workforce in the area doing more worked outsourced by other Councils. It has worked effectively with the police to fight crime and promote community cohesion and was given a top four star rating by the Audit Commisson.

Blackburn constituency is one of our more ambitious General Election targets. Gaining the seat would mean ousting the Justice Secretary Jack Straw and on a uniform swing equate to a Conservative overall majority of around 100. But then voters aren't automata that tidily fall into a swingometer. So who knows.

In the Council elections two years ago the Conservatives won five of the 15 wards that make up the Blackburn constituency (including a stonking majority in the splendidly named Livesey with Pleasington Ward.) Labour won eight but they were lucky to do so – several were held with tiny majorities. Then again some of these were wards the Conservatives did not contest.

One factor could be the high level of Postal Votes in the constituency. the Labour machine is well organised – although sometimes allowing their enthusiasm in this respect to get a bit carried away.

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