General Election 2010: Labour loses ground in Sunderland Central

By Sasjkia Otto

The Conservatives have gained a 4.8 per cent swing in Sunderland Central, in an area with a strong history of Labour support.

However, coming second with 12,710 votes, the Tories failed to produce a much-speculated Basildon moment – a reference to the Tory victory in Basildon in 1992, which signalled early on election night they would indeed win the election.

Labour emerged as the overall winners with 19,495 votes with the Liberal Democrats in third place with 12,710 votes.

The history of Sunderland, as with much of the north-east of England, is an industrial one. Over many centuries the coastal area grew in stature as a port, primarily shipping coal from the nearby coalfields and salt.

With a strong industrial history, it’s no surprise the area has a long tradition of Labour support. The former seats of Sunderland North and Sunderland South were both represented by Labour for many decades.

However, the redrawn boundaries have drawn together all of the few Conservative areas in the city into one seat and with the unpopularity of the Labour government there was opportunity for upset.