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Saturday
Apr182015

Nick de Bois, friend or foe?

Between now and the General Election on May 7 I'm highlighting my top 40 'target seats', those where the candidate standing for re-election has consistently supported anti-tobacco policies, and those where a leading candidate is a consistent opponent of excessive lifestyle regulations and policies that infantilise us all. With a few exceptions, I'm focussing on marginal or semi-marginal seats.

#5 - Enfield North
No MP fought harder to stop the introduction of plain packaging than Nick de Bois. Plain packaging, he wrote, "is the result of 'feel good' politics as opposed to rational, evidenced-based policy". At the Forest reception at the 2014 Conservative conference in Birmingham he brought a smile to everyone's face with a marvellously witty, passionate speech. Now he finds himself at serious risk of losing the seat he won in 2010 when he defeated the Labour incumbent MP Joan Ryan. In what promises to be a close-run contest, the deciding factor could be Ukip. Like several other Tory held seats, Ukip can't win Enfield North but they can hand it to Labour.

2010 majority: 1,692 (3.8%)
Estimated number of smokers in Enfield North: 13,250*
Principal opponent: Labour
Friend or foe: Friend
Target rating: Every vote counts

*Based on 20% of the registered electorate in 2010

Note: marginal seats have been defined as those with majorities of 10% or less that require a swing of 5% for the incumbent party to lose.

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