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Voting opens in the general election with Stratford expecting a close contest





VOTING has opened in the general elections – and the Herald will be reporting live from the count tonight to bring you the result and reactions.

The Stratford-on-Avon constituency is expected to see a much closer fight for the seat than in previous years.

In 2019, Conservative Nadhim Zahawi won the contest with 33,343 votes – more than 60 per cent of the votes cast – with the Liberal Democrats second with 24 per cent.

Former chancellor Mr Zahawi is not standing this time, and his successor as the Conservative candidate, Chris Clarkson, is not predicted to match the 2019 result with some polls suggesting the Tories will retain the seat and others saying it will be won by the Liberal Democrats.

However, it would take a 17.8 percentage point swing for the Lib Dems to overturn the Conservative’s previous majority of 19,020.

Mr Clarkson, who was previously an MP in Greater Manchester, has said he’s worked hard in the Stratford constituency to get people to know him and his values. He was also boosted earlier this week by a visit from prime minister Rishi Sunak.

Voting at Stratford Baptist Church this morning. Photo: Mark Williamson
Voting at Stratford Baptist Church this morning. Photo: Mark Williamson

Manuela Perteghella, the Lib Dem candidate, has been promoting her local credentials – she’s a local councillor for Welford and knows the area well. Her leader – Sir Ed Davey – has visited three times to back the local campaigners. There’s a belief among the Lib Dems that they can take Stratford.

The situation for the Conservatives is also muddied by the presence of a Stratford local representing Reform UK. The party looks to have been gaining support from some traditionally Conservative voters and James Crocker has been predicted to finish third in the Stratford-on-Avon constituency.

Labour’s candidate Seyi Agboola points out that his party are expected to form the next government and, if you want to see change in Stratford-on-Avon, he will have the ear of No. 10 as a Labour MP.

Neil O’ Neil, of the New Open Non-Political Organised Leadership (NONPOL), has put forward a full manifesto of ideas and policies to shape Stratford and the country. His leaflets explaing his concepts have been landing on doormats across the area.

Kevin Taylor is also standing as an Independent. The former mayor of Stratford is well-known around town and has strong links with the business community, especially in Stratford town centre where he was recognised for his hard work during his mayor year.

The Green Party will also be on the ballot paper with Doug Rouxel, although the party has not been canvassing in the constituency.

Polling stations close at 10pm tonight (remember to take your ID). The Herald will be reporting from the Stratford count from about 11.30pm onwards with a result expected between 2am and 3am.

Visit www.stratford-herald.com.



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