Greater Manchester is mostly a Labour stronghold; but here are a few things to keep an eye on at The General Election:

1.  Hazel Blears steps down in Salford

Hazel is one of the most recognizeable of MPs; and one of the regions most high-profile.  She was elected in 1997, and served in Blair & Brown's Cabinets.  She is seen as very much "New Labour" and a Blarite.  Salford will still elect a Labour MP (and a woman!) in May, but Hazel has certainly had more news coverage than the average MP.

2. Andy Burnham in Leigh.

He is the Shadow Health Secretary, and it will be interesting to see whether he plays a prominent role in The Election campaign.

3. Kaufman in Gorton

Kaufman will become Father of The House (or at least, co-Father of The House), assuming he is re-elected.  He will become, alongside the likes of Ken Clarke, one of only a few MPs to have been in The House since 1970. 

4. John Leech in Withington

I don't enough about the VERY local politics to know what will happen; but, on paper, surely Lib Dem John Leech will lose his seat to Labour.  His seat is entirely within Manchester City Council, and in 2010, the Lib Dems had a third of the councillors (most of them in Leech's constituency).  Now, the Lib Dems have Not A Single Councillor in Manchester.  Will John Leech go the same way as his colleagues at The Council? 


 Cheadle and Hazel Grove - the other 2 Lib Dem seats

These are both safer in terms of the Majority, and because The Conservatives were 2nd in both seats.  However, if the Lib Dem vote collapses, could these seats change hands?  However, it is hard to predict who would pick up the seats - Conservatives? Labour? UKIP?


Bury North

Probably one of the most important battleground seats Nationally.  It was held by Labour til 2010.  The Conservatives have a small Majority.  This is a "must win" seat for Labour.

7. Bolton West

The same situation as Bury North, except Labour are defending.  Less than 1% of the vote prevented The Conservatives gaining this seat from Labour in 2010.  Labour "must" hold.  But it is something to watch, and with the rise of UKIP...

8. Rochdale & Oldham-Saddleworth

Both of these seats are "marginal".  Labour hold both.  But, by only a few hundred votes at 2010.  However, the Lib Dems came 2nd in both seats.  In theory, this should turn two Labour-Lib Dem marginal into 2 "safe" Labour seats.  But this is not a normal election.  Where will the Lib Dem votes go?  What about The Conservatives and UKIP.  These are 2 interesting seats to watch.