Election 2015 England

General Election 2015: Lancashire 'no longer a two-horse race'

Woman posting her paper into ballot box at polling station
Image caption A range of parties, new and old, are locked in fierce competition for votes in Lancashire

A general election used to be a two-horse race between the two main parties in Lancashire, the voters having to make a simple choice between Labour and the Conservatives.

Nowadays that is very much not the case, as the UKIP bandwagon rolls on and the continued presence of the Green Party leaves this election looking much more complicated.

Labour is looking at winning back the seven seats it lost last time but that may prove to be much more difficult.

The two vulnerable seats of Lancaster & Fleetwood and Morecambe & Lunesdale, one would think, are there for the taking.

But winning back the seats of Rossendale & Darwen and Pendle and South Ribble may prove to be a challenge.

So what has happened to the Labour heartland? If Ed Miliband can't get his message across to voters in this election it may mean Labour missing out on some of its target seats.

Image copyright The Northern Party
Image caption The new Northern Party has former Conservatives and Labour Party members among its recruits

And what has happened to the Liberal Democrats? We've seen no sign of leader Nick Clegg anywhere in Lancashire, despite the fact that, over in Burnley, Gordon Birtwistle is hanging on to his coat tails trying to hold on to his seat.

Meanwhile, to make things even more complex, we have the arrival of The Northern Party, a group made up of politicians from various parties whose main stated aim is to improve the economy across the north.

They say they want build a stronger and fairer Britain, and are targeting the marginal Conservative seats promising to take on Labour after that.

So we might see Harold Ellotson, the former Conservative MP for Blackpool North, attempting to oust Conservative candidate Eric Ollerenshaw.

Yet it remains to be seen whether The Northern Party will make a significant impact in this election.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fracking is one of the issues on the agenda in Lancashire in the run up to the election

A whole host of candidates from the various parties will be standing for the first time, not knowing whether they face triumph or setback.

For the voters, it seems many are still weighing up the options.

Some have told me that they won't decide on where to mark the cross until the last minute.

One thing's for sure - it promises to be an evening to remember for all concerned.

You can read my Lancashire general election guide here, and hear our daily coverage of the campaign - including a report from each of the county's 16 seats - on BBC Radio Lancashire.

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