Tories target Merseyside marginal seats

Statues wearing a Liverpool and Everton scarves Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The red half and blue half of the city have been football rivals for more than 100 years

The rivalry between the Reds and the Blues on the football pitch on Merseyside will be matched on 8 June by the battle between the reds and blues in some key marginal seats.

Wirral West is a tantalising target for the Conservatives. It's a seat they see as rightfully theirs; former Department for Work and Pensions minister Esther McVey was deposed there after a bitter campaign in 2015.

Margaret Greenwood took the seat for Labour with a wafer-thin majority of 417, which is well within reach for the Tories.

Cushion magnate Tony Caldeira is their candidate and he's basking in the glow of coming second in the recent city region metro mayor election with a 20% share of the vote.

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Image caption Wirral West constituency, which includes Hoylake, was won with a small majority

In Wirral South, Alison McGovern won for Labour with a majority of just under 5,000 or 11% of the vote - making it another target for the Conservatives.

They've selected Wirral councillor Adam Sykes as their candidate.

Mayoral knock-on effects

Ms McGovern has a big team of local campaigners, but it remains to be seen whether the Conservatives can knock on enough doors to make a difference.

Elsewhere on Merseyside, Southport is a three-way race, which has been represented by Liberal Democrat John Pugh since 2001.

His personal popularity saw him hang on in 2015 when plenty of his Liberal Democrat colleagues lost their seats but he's standing down this time.

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Image caption In some constituencies, such as Liverpool, there are some staggering Labour majorities

His party has selected Sefton councillor Sue McGuire to stand, but she'll face a tough battle from Conservative Damien Moore who came second in 2015 and Labour also fancy their chances.

Merseyside is Labour-dominated. In Liverpool, Knowsley and St Helens constituencies, there are some staggering Labour majorities which are unlikely to be dented significantly.

Liverpool Walton will definitely have a new MP, as Steve Rotheram stood down following his election as metro mayor.

The Labour candidate selected to replace him, Dan Carden, has faced opposition from local Labour members, unhappy about his relative inexperience in local politics. Local businessman Terry May, a former Labour member, is standing against him.

UKIP are standing in fewer Merseyside seats this time, they're not running in places like Bootle where Paul Nuttall came second in 2015.

The Green Party will be challenging in Knowsley and St Helens, where it believes the issue of green space development is costing Labour valuable votes.

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