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BRENT Brent Council is currently run by a Lib Dem/Conservative coalition and as with all the other London boroughs has all the seats up for election on May 6. Although we are numerically the junior partner the Council's Conservative Deputy Leader Cllr Bob Blackman has had some success in keeping spending under control and delivering a Council Tax freeze this year. He is standing down and hoping to become MP for Harrow East. Brent residents will miss him – he has saved them a lot of money over the years.

In terms of the General Election the media are most interested in Brent Central where boundary changes have put two sitting MPs – Sarah Teather for the Lib Dems and Dawn Butler for Labour. Teather has the advantage of a clean record on expenses while Butler's is tarnished.

But Conservatives will be giving more attention to Hampstead and Kilburn which is our 120th target seat and includes three wards from Brent. Also to Brent North, the former seat of the magnificent Sir Rhodes Boyson. The swingometer has it as our 202nd Target seat.

On the relevant 10 wards for Hampstead and Kilburn (which includes wards from Camden) we won three and the Lib Dems seven. Yet it is a notionally Labour seat. This sounds like a three way marginal. This is one of the seats we need to win to form a Government and which if the Lib Dems snatch they could sustain Gordon Brown in a hung Parliament. The Lib Dem candidate has admitted as much. So the future of the country rests on our candidate Chris Philp coming through in what will be a tough fight.

While in Brent North of the nine relevant wards there were five that went to the Conservatives, three to the Lib Dems and one to Labour. Though while the Lib Dems are ahead of Labour on Council Wards the Lib Dems were a distant last time both in the actual results and the notional result adjusted for boundary changes. Doubtless Labour and the Lib Dems are each using this data as appropriate to say the other "can't win here." I think our Conservative candidate Harshadbhai Patel can. He is a local councillor with impressive credentials of service to the community. The Labour MP he is seeking to oust is Barry Gardiner as much of an expenses sinner as Dawn Butler.

6 comments for: The battle for Brent

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