NUS calls voter troops to arms

March 16, 2001

Students could swing key marginal seats in the forthcoming general election as part of a campaign launched this week.

The National Union of Students is to target its campaigning efforts on crucial constituencies where the MP's majority is smaller than the area's student population.

Key seats identified by the NUS include that of junior health minister Gisela Stuart, Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, who has a 4,842 majority and thousands of Birmingham University students in her constituency.

Other targets include James Plaskitt, Labour MP for Warwick and Leamington, who was previously an academic and who has a 3,398 majority; Julian Brazier, Conservative MP for Canterbury, with a 3,964 majority; and Nick St Aubyn, Conservative MP for Guildford, whose majority is 4,791.

NUS president Owain James said: "We are trying to mobilise in marginal seats where there is a small majority and a college or university nearby.

"We are going to get as many students as possible to turn out and vote, and give student issues a high profile, not only within the student population but in local communities."

The campaign will urge students to vote at their university rather than at their parents' home.

Mr James is hoping that the much-touted election date of May 3 will be the one the government finally plumps for, as most students will be on campus that week.

WHERE STUDENTS COUNT

Constituency: Majority (Party)

Altrincham & Sale W: 1,505 (Con)
Beds SW: 132 (Con)
B'ham Edgbaston: 4,842 (Lab)
Boston & Skeg.: 647 (Con)
Bournemouth East: 4,346 (Con)
Bridgwater: 1,796 (Con)
Brighton Kemptown: 3,543 (Lab)
Bristol West: 1,493 (Lab)
Canterbury: 3,964 (Con)
London & W'minster: 4,881 (Con)
Colchester: 1,581 (LibDem)
Conwy: 1,596 (Lab)
Eastbourne: 1,994 (Con)
Faversham & Mid Kent: 4,173 (Con)
Gillingham 1.980 (Lab)
Guildford 4,791 (Con)
Harrow West 1,240 (Lab)
Hove 3,959 (Lab)
Kettering 189 (Lab)
Kingston & Surbiton 56 (LibDem)
Lewes 1,300 (LibDem)
Northampton South 744 (Lab)
Portsmouth North 4,323 (Lab)
Portsmouth South 4,3 (LibDem)
Reading East 3,795 (Lab)
Reading West 2,997 (Lab)
Richmond Park 2,951 (LibDem)
Rugby & Kenilworth 495 (Lab)
Stafford 4,314 (Lab)
Warwick & Leamington 3,398 (Lab)
Weston-super-Mare 1,4 (LibDem)
Worcestershire West 3,846 (Con)

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