General Election 2019: Who will win in Harlow?

General Election 2019 / Wed 11th Dec 2019 pm31 08:19pm

AS is our tradition, both in local and national elections, we like to have a go at predicting the outcome of the result in Harlow.

Firstly, we must pay tribute to the three candidates who have stood in the first place. It takes a huge amount of dedication, stamina and the development of a tough skin to run for elected office. Even more so in these days of social media.

As you may well know, Harlow is or was the classic swing seat. In 1997, Labour had a 10,000 majority. In 2015, Robert Halfon had a 8,000 majority. It is not that the voters of Harlow are fickle, it may well be that they are the true spirit of the rational choice model. They tend to buy into a candidate, both locally and nationally.

In an interview with YH in 2017, Conservative MP for Harlow, Jerry Hayes, admitted that “his victory in ’83 was more to do with Margaret Thatcher and his defeat in ’97 was the coming of Tony Blair”.

Jerry Hayes won it three times, Bill Rammell won it three times. Can Robert Halfon win it fr the fourth time in four years?

So what of the three candidates?

Robert Halfon

Mr Halfon is defending a majority of 7,031. In 2017, he gained 54% of the vote. A percentage only matched by Labour’s Bill Rammell in 1997.

For the past six weeks, Mr Halfon has been repeating the mantra of “Get Brexit Done”. Whether in person, on the side of the A414 or in his van he believes this is the way to go.

You tend to forget that he has campaigned in Harlow for close to twenty years. You now get the feeling that he is more popular than ever. The people that approach him up town, the drivers that toot their horn in approval on the A414, the groups that he has invited up to the House of Commons and then sung his praises as a constituency MP.

Many people in Harlow believes he goes to Westminster to bat for them. Whether it is a new hospital or an individual case, there appears to be a close relationship between Robert Halfon and the voter. Most of those people are not on here, they are the people of Harlow who go about their business from day to day.

If he does win, it will be interesting to see how he takes on the next five years. Getting Brexit Done may well take years and there is a real concern over No Deal. Locally, we will also be interested to see what the “new hospital” for Harlow really looks like. Will he get his education committee back or will it be five years in back bench wilderness?

For the first time as well, we might also wonder, how many more General Elections, may Mr Halfon choose to fight?

Laura McAlpine

Whatever happens, we think that first timer, Laura McAlpine, can look back on her campaign with a great deal of pride. It has been a very attractive campaign with great slogans and branding. Ms McAlpine and her team have worked really hard, both on and off line.

They have concentrated on those local issues such as education and health that impact upon Harlow residents lives.

In many ways, it is an unfair fight. Ms McAlpine is fighting her first election, has no experience of elected office against an opponent who is deeply embedded in the town’s psyche.

What Ms McAlpine thinks is her greatest asset, may well be her greatest burden, i.e: Jeremy Corbyn. The Harlow Labour campaign is being firmly fought from the far left. It looks uncannily similar to the 1983 campaign and we all know what happened there.

Is she tainted by the antisemitism controversy? Probably not when it comes to the local electorate but trying to get a second shot at Harlow may be a challenge. It may well be interesting to see if the professional actress disappears as quickly stage right as she entered stage left.

Charlotte Cane

Fighting a constituency you are not familiar with is not easy but we happen to think East Cambridgeshire councillor, Charlotte Cane has equipped herself very well.She more than held her own at the Question Time and in many ways reminded people that her party is steeped in liberal radicalism.

As in the national campaign, she was not helped by the Brexit Party candidate withdrawing and Jo Swinson’s shrill campaign but Charlotte Cane has ploughed on and we hope that she may energise the local Lib Dems to wake up for their decade long slumber.


Turnout will be key and the weather forecast for Harlow looks rough. There may be many who do not turn up to vote due to the weather or because they are fed up with politics. If that happens, it could put a spanner in the works.

We think Mr Halfon will be returned with an increased share of the vote, possibly over 60%. We think Ms McAlpine may struggle to get to 30% (Labour got 30% in 2015 and 38% in 2017).

We wish them all the best.

PS. If you think our prediction is wrong then tell us what you think the percentages will be please.

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7 Comments for General Election 2019: Who will win in Harlow?:

2019-12-12 00:08:34

Laura McAlpine's imaginative campaign has struck a chord with many people in Harlow. She is obviously passionately committed to the policies she espouses, and her enthusiasm has won over many and motivated passive Labour supporters who may well have abstained. The upsurge in electoral registration, particularly among the young, is likely to be to her advantage. I think that the message that Labour’s policies would improve the lives of working class people in Harlow will convince enough voters for Ms McAlpine to win the seat. I predict that Labour’s Laura McAlpine will defeat Robert Halfon today.

2019-12-12 02:07:47

Have you recently had free healthcare for yourself or your loved ones? Then when you are in the polling booth today, remember the Labour Government after the Second World War, who became the tide that raised all boats with the National Health Service. Have you been on paid holiday from your employment this year? Then when you are in the polling booth today, remember the Trade Unions and Labour Movement who fought for you to have that right, starting with just one week in 1938. Are you a woman who will have a say in this General Election? Then when you are in the polling booth today, remember the Suffragettes who fought for you to have that say. Do you enjoy the many rights that we all take for granted every day in our country? Then please, when you are in the polling booth today, remember that none of these things were given to us by the Conservatives. They were things that had to be fought for, and had to be paid for, sometimes in blood, by the struggle and the sacrifice of the Labour Movement. And at every stage in that struggle, the Conservatives sought to hinder the advance of Mankind, and 'conserve' the privileged position of the few. Today you have the chance to vote for something better. To tell Boris Johnson that four million children in poverty, one million people using foodbanks, and sick little boys lying on hospital floors in the fifth largest economy on Earth, while you hide in fridges and from reporters, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Today you can join me in voting for Laura McAlpine, a woman from our town, who loves our town, and is one of the most hard-working and principled candidates for political office I have ever met. Today you can vote Labour, for the Many, not the Few... #VoteLabour #Laura4Harlow

2019-12-12 13:47:34

Clark, your comments are so twisted and convoluted that they can't be taken seriously by anyone. Enrol in night school and get some history under your belt, instead of running off in all directions spouting cant, obfuscation and general distortion. Labour privatised 7% of the NHS. It's still the same under the Tories. Introduced Private Finance with billions of debt. PFI 2003 Approved the cladding on Grenfell. 2007 Brought in tuition fees in 2008. S rapped student grants in 1999. Funded the bank bail-outs. 2008. Started disability assessments. 2008. Bedroom tax. 2008. Zero hour contracts. 1999. Windrush assessments 2009. Also signed power over to the EU in the Lisbon Treaty.

2019-12-12 15:59:18

interestingly Micky they have developed an answer for all of that now, they are blaming the neotories Blair and Brown, and ignoring the fact that they were both PM's and leaders of their party, any excuse to deflect from their cult leader.

tony edwards
2019-12-12 18:24:11

Hi Micky/Nick Thought you might be interested in this https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/11/boris-johnson-destroy-britain-conservative-revolutionary-sect

2019-12-13 03:58:16

Hi Tony Edwards, thought that you might be interested in this. Marxists hammered across the board, and, the Leader is resigning. Massive upsurge for the Tories also in Harlow and the villages. It proves the point that a ampaign

2019-12-13 04:05:09

oops, problem with the gadget. ' proves the point that a 6ampaign 6annot be based on lies '.

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