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Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 12:21 UK
Election 2010: South Yorkshire

By James Vincent
BBC Sheffield & South Yorkshire Political Reporter

The goalposts have been changed for this election, and to continue with the weak football metaphor, certain candidates are winners without a ball being kicked.

Sheffield Town Hall
The Sheffield Town Hall is one of the polling stations on May 6th 2010.

It is the Boundary Commission that draws the lines on maps that decide what is Doncaster North and what is Doncaster Central, and every now and then they shake things up.

Any alterations are designed to make sure constituencies reflect how the population has changed but this time around in South Yorkshire they have inadvertently given a leg up to some parties and even evicted one MP.

Sheffield Hillsborough MP Angela Smith finds herself homeless as her constituency is broken up and shared between two new ones, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, and Penistone and Stocksbridge.

She will now be contesting the Penistone seat.

Apart from making some candidates shift a few miles down the road, in some areas the boundary changes have narrowed the race for the Commons.

In Sheffield Central the campaigning is hotting up because Labour's lead has been cut.

A quick flick of the Boundary Commission pencil and the 7,055 Labour majority is cut to 5,025.

The opposition smell blood.

Paul Blomfield is picking up the Labour baton from the retiring Richard Caborn.

"Clearly the majority is smaller, but the challenge remains the same and that is to make sure, as a new candidate, I get out as widely as possible and meet as many people as possible."

The Liberal Democrats have benefitted the most from the changes, their man in Sheffield Central is Paul Scriven.

"The demographics have changed; more students and more professionals are coming in. This is a key battleground and this will be a real close fight."

The Conservative candidate Andrew Lee says having more of Broomhill and Nether Edge to cavass helps.

"It certainly levels the playing field, it's changed quite considerably. There are certainly Conservative supporters out there but there are also a lot of people who are sitting on the fence."

As of April 8th 2010 The Green Party have announced Jillian Creasy will be their candidate and UKIP have selected Jeffrey Shaw for Sheffield Central.

Because of the changes there are now 650 parliamentary seats in the country instead of 646, making 326 the magic majority number.


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