Election 97

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Slender marginals

Robert Waller sums up the situation in the West Midlands. VRML by Fin Fahey

VRML West Midlands

The West Midlands, dominated by Britain's second city, Birmingham, is a vital region to watch in any election. It contains many key marginals, including Enoch Powell's old seat, Wolverhampton South West, which might fall to Labour this time. Birmingham Yardley is one of the most interesting seats in the country, with a three-way fight on - it fell to Labour last time, along with Birmingham Selly Oak and Northfield, and could go any way in 1997.

The Boundary Commission has been good to Labour throughout the region. Previously safe Staffordshire Moorlands should now be taken by Labour. The two new seats in Dudley are now likely to be Labour gains, and they are very close to victory in the new Halesowen and Rowley Regis. Worcester, reduced to its urban core, is within Labour's grasp for the first time ever, and they can expect to win all three seats in Coventry.

A moderate swing of only 5 per cent to Labour secures a number of other seats including Burton, Birmingham's Hall Green and Edgbaston and Wolverhampton SW.

The Lib Dems will be concentrating their efforts on Hereford, which they have often come close to winning, and three-way marginal Birmingham Yardley.

Oxfordshire has been given a free transfer here from the South East. There should be few surprises here, Oxford East remaining safely Labour, but Oxford West and Abingdon is a major Lib Dem target, where tactical voting by Labour supporters may give them the edge.

Labour regional targets
Conservative regional targets
Liberal Democrat regional targets
3D Electoral density