Election 2015 England

General Election 2015: Lancashire's key constituencies

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Media captionBBC North West political editor Arif Ansari's guide to the general election

If you want to find where the key seats are in Lancashire, all you have to do is follow the party leaders.

A whole host of politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, have headed in the direction of both Pendle and the Rossensdale & Darwen constituencies.

Labour lost both to the Conservatives in the 2010 general election, and are as desperate to win them back on 7 May as the Tories are to retain them.

I have lost count of the number of senior figures who have already toured around Pendle to stake their case.

Mr Cameron popped into the Silentnight bed factory to talk to workers, while one of his potential successors Boris Johnson has also paid a visit.

Labour have sent a couple of their biggest hitters, deputy leader Harriet Harman and the man who wants to replace George Osborne as Chancellor, Ed Balls.

Image copyright Silentnight
Image caption David Cameron spoke to workers at the Silentnight headquarters in Barnoldswick last May

In Rossendale & Darwen, meanwhile the incumbent Tory MP Jake Berry is defending a majority of just under 5,000 against Labour's Will Straw, son of former cabinet member Jack.

Can Will, standing in his first general election, ensure the family name lives on in the House of Commons following his dad's retirement after more than 30 years as Blackburn's MP?

Jack Straw's successor in Blackburn, Labour council leader Kate Hollern, should be able to defend a majority of just under 10,000.

In the north of the county, Conservatives David Morris and Eric Ollerenshaw will face an anxious wait on election night to discover whether they've done enough to repel Labour's challenge in Morecambe & Lunesdale and Lancaster & Fleetwood respectively.

Ollerenshaw only has a 333 majority in the former while Morris only has an 866-vote advantage.

The 2010 general election was not a good one for Labour in Lancashire. The party lost six seats in all to the Tories and saw Burnley snatched away from them by the Liberal Democrats.

Gordon Birtwistle, is now well-established as the town's MP and won't give up his party's best chance of keeping a splash of yellow on the county's political map on the morning of 8 May.

Image copyright Oli Scarff
Image caption Could Will Straw emulate his father by becoming a Labour MP in Lancashire?

While Blackpool ceased to be an automatic choice for party conferences many years ago, there may well be a lot of politicians in town during the next six weeks.

Blackpool North - won by the Conservatives at the last election - and Blackpool South - held by Labour - both feature 5% majorities but are being viewed as very much up for grabs.

What about UKIP, who are fielding candidates in every seat? While they may struggle to convert votes into MPs, they are likely to significantly influence the result in many constituencies.

At the last local elections, UKIP only won a couple of seats but they will be hoping their gathering momentum nationally will help them in places like Burnley, where right-wing parties have enjoyed some success.

The Greens have struggled to do well away from their main base in Lancaster but it appears that the controversy over the television debates has given them new heart. As a result the party will now be fielding five extra candidates in Lancashire.

While winning a seat looks to be beyond them, an increase in their share of the vote certainly seems possible.

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Media captionArif Ansari's guide on how to register for your vote

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