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Constituency profile: Wells

The Liberal Democrats fancy their chances in this battleground seat

Boris Johnson on a walkabout in the Wells constituency (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Boris Johnson on a walkabout in the Wells constituency (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Ian Jones, PA

The constituency of Wells, which Boris Johnson visited on Thursday, is one of a number of seats across south-west England where the Conservatives are on the defence.

Challenging them are the Liberal Democrats, who are hoping to make big gains in a region that was once their heartland.

Wells was last held by the Lib Dems between 2010 and 2015, when the MP was Tessa Munt.

She is standing again this time, and needs a 6.3% swing to take the seat from the Tories.

Facing her is the Conservative candidate James Heappey, who won the seat from Ms Munt in 2015 and held it in 2017 – though his majority slipped from 7,585 to 6,582.

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(PA graphic)

Labour is not in contention here. The party came a distant third in 2017 with 12% of the vote, far behind the Tories (49%) and Lib Dems (39%).

As such, tactical voting could be a factor this time.

Might some Labour supporters “lend” their vote to the Lib Dems, to increase the likelihood of a Tory defeat?

Brexit may also have an impact.

Both the Greens and the Brexit Party have stood down from the contest, to try to boost the chances of the Lib Dems and Conservatives respectively.

The constituency covers a diverse area, from the city of Wells to the seaside town of Burnham-on-Sea, along with the site of the Glastonbury Festival.

There is a diverse range of views within the seat as well.

The constituency boundaries of Wells include parts of the local authorities of both Mendip and Sedgemoor.

In the 2016 EU referendum, Mendip voted Remain while Sedgemoor voted Leave.

If the Lib Dems manage to monopolise the Remain vote within the constituency, besides wooing a chunk of former Tory supporters, they might stand a good chance of winning.

PA

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