I have just come in from a day on the streets of Chesterton West, one of the wards in Cambridge City, with Nick Hillman, the recently elected PPC for Cambridge. Nick and I spent the morning canvassing together then split up for the afternoon to distribute as many leaflets as possible.
Cambridge is one of the most volatile constituencies in the country: In the last 25 years all three parties have held the seat, and all three have come in third place. 2005 was a bad year for the Conservatives, taking just 16.5% of the vote, with the Lib Dems and Labour taking 44% and 34% respectively. Nick has a huge hill to climb!
However all three parties are fielding new PPCs and there is a general sentiment that the Lib Dems have failed to deliver against their 2005 election promises, nationally or in the constituency. Furthermore Conservative MPs hold all neighbouring constituencies around Cambridge, as well as the County Council, and polls show huge gains over the last 2 years since the council elections. 2010 could be the Conservative’s best opportunity to win back Cambridge City in years.
Nick has to seen as a huge asset for the Conservatives in Cambridge. Since his selection in December he has moved to Cambridge with his wife and thrown himself wholeheartedly into campaigning for the election, come snow, wind or rain (and we had a lot of that today!). He has an engaging style and is quick to detect the sentiment of voters as he canvasses. I am sure he will capture a huge share of the swing from both Labour and Lib Dem which is, from what I saw today, very strong.