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Kent general election: The Dartford constituency and the candidates standing

If there is one thing all the candidates competing for to become Dartford MP can agree on it’s traffic and the need to do something about it.

Every party fighting for the bellwether seat has identified dealing with the gridlock, which often takes over the town due to its position next to the Dartford Crossing, as among the biggest issues facing residents.

Problems at the Dartford Crossing cause traffic chaos around the area
Problems at the Dartford Crossing cause traffic chaos around the area

And, as expected, they each have different ideas of how to tackle it, whether that be fighting for the building of the long-awaited Lower Thames Crossing, or improving the train and bus services. But it is definitely high on every party’s agenda.

As well as its proximity to the Dartford Crossing, the position of the constituency in the long shadow of London causes its own problems.

The extension of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) to the neighbouring Bexley and Bromley boroughs have proved mightily unpopular with many having to cross into those areas for business or pleasure.

Then there are the national issues affecting everywhere such as affordable housing and tackling crime and issues with the NHS, as well as improving air quality - not helped by the stagnant traffic.

The constituency is made up of a wide range of wards ranging from some of the poorest parts close to the urban town centre such as Temple Hill, to the more affluent rural areas of Southfleet and New Barn on the outskirts.

Dartford also carries the title of being Britain’s longest standing “bellwether” seat having voted for the winning party at every general election since 1964.

The Dartford constituency map. Pic credit: UK Parliament
The Dartford constituency map. Pic credit: UK Parliament


In essence, the way the town votes tends to be the way the country votes.

When Margaret Thatcher had her lengthy tenure at Number 10 Dartford had its very own Tory stalwart in the form of Bob Dunn keeping his feet firmly under the table for a staggering 18 years.

And when Tony Blair finally took Labour to victory in 1997 the political flag in Dartford also swapped from blue to red as councillor and GP Howard Stoate took over the reins.

As successive Conservative government’s have continued to keep Labour leaders out of the top job so too has Gareth Johnson held his post as Tory MP for the town for the last 14 years.

So, with talk of a landslide victory in number 10, will Dartford follow suit?

According to the polls, votes seem to be following the national trend with Labour having a 79 per cent chance of winning compared to the Tories 21 per cent, while the other parties have not even made a mark on the score sheet.

If that result were to ring true come polling day it would be a huge change from the last election in 2019 when the area’s voters handed the Conservatives a 61 percent share with 28,583 votes, compared to Labour’s 29.5 percent, the Liberal Democrats’ 7.9 percent and the Green party’s 2.5 percent.

But this election will mark a change from those that have gone before as the constituency boundaries have changed.

It means a small percent of Dartford residents will now be voting in either Tonbridge (6.9 percent coming from the old Dartford constituency) or Sevenoaks (7.8 percent coming from the old Dartford constituency) elections.

The candidates

The Full List of Candidates:

Jim Dickson, Labour

Gareth Johnson, Conservative

Laura Edie, Green Party

Lee Stranders, Reform UK

Kyle Grenville Albert Marsh, Liberal Democrats

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