RECENT polling suggests Julian Smith, Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon, could lose his seat to the Labour Party at the next general election.
Mr Smith has held the previously safe Tory seat since 2010 and has won four elections in a row for the party. He commanded a majority of 23,694 at the last election in 2019.
Labour Party’s Brian McDaid, who is a Skipton town councillor, came second with 11,255 votes. Liberal Democrat Andrew Murday, who now represents Nidderdale on North Yorkshire Council, was third with 8,701 votes.
A general election is expected to take place next year and although Labour has not selected its candidate to stand against Mr Smith, pollsters at Electoral Calculus believe there could be a massive swing to Keir Starmer’s party who may be in line to win Skipton and Ripon with a slender majority of 564.
The constituency includes the Craven district area as well as the villages and towns in the Harrogate area including Bishop Monkton, Pateley Bridge and Masham.
Mr Smith currently sits on the backbenches but has previously held roles in government including Northern Ireland secretary and chief whip.
The polling took place at the beginning of November and was shared with the LabourList website.
It also predicts that the race to win Rishi Sunak’s Richmond constituency will be close with the Prime Minister forecast to win ahead of Labour by only 146 votes.
The polling firm is predicting a Labour majority of 232 MPs at the next election.
Electoral Calculus founder and CEO Martin Baxter told LabourList: “Neither Conservative nor Labour politicians want to admit that the polling numbers are pointing to a very large Labour victory. The Conservatives don’t want to be despondent, and Labour doesn’t want to be triumphant in advance.
“But poll after poll has shown a very large Labour lead for over a year now. If the actual election is anything like that, then there will be a big political turning point.”