Bygone battles at ballot box

Edward Miliband wins the Doncaster North seat for Labour. Kevin Hughes, Labour, stepped down at this election.
Edward Miliband wins the Doncaster North seat for Labour. Kevin Hughes, Labour, stepped down at this election.

As Britain prepares to have its say in one of the most intriguing General Elections of all time today, all eyes, for once, will be on the count at Doncaster Racecourse.

In years gone by, Doncaster’s election results have been largely ignored beyond the boundaries of our town, its place within Labour’s traditional heartlands making it of little interest to parliamentary commentators elsewhere.

Harold Walker. MP.

Harold Walker. MP.

Massive Labour majorities for decades have helped to create what many outsiders see as a foregone conclusion at the ballot box.

Of course, this time round, it will be a very different story.

Labour leader and Doncaster North candidate Ed Miliband could find out whether his bid to become Prime Minister has been successful in the full glare of the media spotlight at Town Moor, where the Doncaster Central and Don Valley results will also be revealed in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

When Mr Miliband was first elected to the Westminster corridors of power in 2005, replacing Labour stalwart, the late Kevin Hughes, who stepped down due to ill health, few could have predicted that ten years down the line he would be getting ready to knock on the door of 10 Downing Street.

Anthony Barber, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Anthony Barber, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Rosie Winterton and Caroline Flint will be aiming to make it a red rosette hat-trick, the pair both initially coming to power in Labour’s 1997 landslide, replacing Harold Walker and Martin Redmond, who been MPs since 1964 and 1983 respectively. It will be the fifth time the pair have contested their seats.

However, Doncaster’s position as a Labour stronghold hasn’t always been the case.

Back in the 1950s, Doncaster, the name of the constituency before it became Doncaster Central, was actually held by the Tories, Anthony Barber winning the 1951, 1955 and 1959 General Elections for the Conservatives before Harold Walker, later Lord Walker, began a 37 year career as the town’s Labour MP in 1964.