Is Labour really losing it’s grip on this northern seat with a 10,000 majority?

Surely a seat with a 10,000 Labour majority is out of the Conservatives reach? That’s the majority well respected Labour MP Pat Glass is handing to her successor as she retires here in North West Durham.

There are perhaps few seats better than this which demonstrate the criticism that Labour has treated the North East as it’s impenetrable heartland.

When former Labour Councillor Ernest Armstrong retired as an MP in 1986, it was, purely by chance, his daughter Hilary, herself a former Labour Councillor, who took over the seat.

For this election Labour have once again selected a former Labour Councillor, who by chance, happens to be the daughter of a Labour Councillor. It is said alarm bells began to ring for the regional Labour Party here when just days after her Parliamentary selection she lost her County Council seat to the Conservatives.

Our visit here however took us to Consett, where new house building is transforming this once steel town into a commuter hotspot.  In the 1980s, unemployment in Consett peaked at 36% - around three times the national average at the time, which makes the fact the Conservatives are now sending cabinet ministers to visit the seat in the final few weeks of the election all the more remarkable.

In Consett we found an election being fought here like never before; a Labour activist was delivering one side of  a terraced street near the town centre, as three Conservative activists delivered the other. On the doorstep, where 58% had voted for Brexit, the issue continued to dominate and with UKIP picking up 17% of the vote in 2015 it could just prove decisive.

As it stands this seat is really still out of the Conservatives’ reach, but we would not be surprised if Labour’s majority takes a major hit on June 8th.    

Labour majority - 10,056