Leeds City Council has a joint Conservative/Lib Dem administration – taking it in turns to be leader. A third of the seats are up for grabs on May 6.
So far as the General Election is concerned there are eight constituencies. Three of them are pretty safe for Labour – Leeds Central, Leeds West and Leeds East. But the other five (count them FIVE) are all within our sights. Leeds North West is target 84 and currently a Lib Dem seat. The others are Labour held. Pudsey is target 98. Elmet and Rothwell is target 104. Leeds North East is target 144. Morley and Outwood is target 208 and needs no introduction as the seat where we are hoping to defeat Ed Balls.
On the basis of the relevant wards, when last contested in Council elections, there are four in Leeds North West – one of which went to us and the other three to the Lib Dems. It went rather better than it sounds as we had a very big majority in our ward putting us ahead on vote share. But this will a tough fight for our candidate Julia Mulligan to defeat the Lib Dems. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has been to meet Neighbourhood Watch representatives. Samantha Cameron has been up to visit a social action project Caring for Life.
Pudsey has four relevant wards. Two of them went to the Conservatives when last contested, one to Labour and one to the Lib Dems. At the last General Election the Lib Dems were a distant third place. Good luck to our candidate Stuart Andrew.
Elmet and Rothwell has five relevant wards. Last time fought they split two for Conservatives, two for Labour and one for the Lib Dems. Both our wards had very big majorities so giving us the overall lead so far as vote share is concerned. Good luck to our candidate in this constituency Alec Shelbrooke who is already a local councillor.
Leeds North East has four relevant wards. They went two to the Conservatives, one to Labour and one to the Lib Dems. Again we have a local councillor as our candidate Matthew Lobley so although this seat is more challenging in terms of the swingometer he will be well placed to connect with the Party's strong local base.
Finally there is Morley and Outwood where our candidate is the internet sensation Antony Calvert trying to oust Ed Balls, best friend of Charlie Whelan. There are five relevent wards including two that come under Wakefield Council. They went two to the Conservatives, two went to Independents and one to Labour. So he starts from an encouraging local base even before he did all that internet fundraising.
I expect the Lib Dem buble will burst. But if some of our targets against the Lib Dems, such as Leeds North West get missed then it will be necessary to win seats like Morley and Outwood to avert Gordon Brown hanging on to power in a hung parliament.