Sedgefield should be a rock solid seat for Labour. This former mining seat in Labour’s heartland of County Durham was once the safe berth of none other than Tony Blair.
The constituency itself is made up of small towns such as Sedgefield itself and the much larger Newton Aycliffe. In between are traditional former coalfields, and the mining villages which built up around them.
It was to one of the constituency’s larger towns, that of Ferryhill, where we headed for the latest Policy North Dispatch.
In Ferryhill, terraced properties sell for an average value of £63,000 - but its just a commute away from Durham’s NETPark, a high tech science park and Aycliffe Business Park, home to Hitachi, where it’s 900 employees are busy building Virgin’s new high-speed Azuma trains.
Ferryhill is one of the areas which saw Labour given a bloody nose in Durham County at the 2017 local elections. The Ferryhill ward is now represented by 2 Independent Councillors and just 1 Labour. Overall Labour retained control of Durham County Council, but lost more than 20 seats, with the Lib Dems, Conservatives and Independents all making gains. In nearby Sedgefield and Newton Aycliffe, Conservative Councillors were elected just a few weeks ago.
Yet on the damp streets of Ferryhill election fever had yet to hit town, and few considered themselves to be living in a ‘marginal’ - although given the area has previously been a Labour stronghold since 1935 - that is perhaps understandable.
With the Labour party once recording an eye watering majority of over 25,000 in this seat it seems bizarre to even be contemplating a Conservative gain here – but the Conservatives have reasons to be hopeful. Keep an eye on this one, Labour’s Phil Wilson will likely see the result come down to a percent or two either way.
Sedgefield - Labour majority: 6,843