In pole positions for the May 6 race

Two outspoken MPs locked in a bitter battle, an Oscar winning actress fighting to remain in the spotlight and a gymnast hoping to flip into the seat of his Labour nemesis, writes Ben Greening. Boundary changes are promising to make a nail biting spectacle

Two outspoken MPs locked in a bitter battle, an Oscar winning actress fighting to remain in the spotlight and a gymnast hoping to flip into the seat of his Labour nemesis, writes Ben Greening.

Boundary changes are promising to make a nail biting spectacle out of the upcoming general election, which most commentators expect to be held on May 6.

Residents in the new seat of Brent Central could see one the most exciting races in the country, pitting Brent South Labour MP, Dawn Butler against Brent East Lib Dem MP, Sarah Teather.

Ms Teather said she was the only Brent MP to refuse to claim for a second home.


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She added: "I am proud to have voted for fairer taxes; for an investigation into the Iraq war and against Labour's sweeping clampdown on civil liberties which hit Brent's many minority communities the hardest."

Meanwhile, her rival Ms Butler said her work in Brent had 'only just begun.'

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She said: "In five years I have helped bring in millions to community projects, introduced the Brent Youth Parliament, championed the rights of pensioners and ensured that people from Black and Asian backgrounds have a say in issues that matter to them."

Also in the race in Brent Central are Green, Shahrar Ali and Conservative, Sachin Rajput.

In next door Hampstead and Kilburn, Oscar winning Labour MP, Glenda Jackson is fighting to retain her place in parliament in a tough race which looks difficult to call.

Ms Jackson said she believed the stakes were high for the election.

She said: "The proposals leaking out of the Conservative party would create an even worse recession for the country."

Lib Dem Ed Fordham said: "I'm ambitious for local schools, and I want fairer taxes and more transparent politics.

"I live in Kilburn and I love it."

Conservative candidate Chris Philp said the seat was on the 'frontline' of Tory hopes of changing governments.

Also standing in Hampstead and Kilburn is Green candidate, Beatrix Campbell, United Kingdom Independence party candidate, Magnus Nielsen and independent, Tamsin Omond.

Just as exciting will be the battle between Labour MP for Regent's Park North, Karen Buck and controversial Conservative candidate, Joanne Cash in the new seat of Westminster North.

Notional figures put Ms Cash only 3,021 votes behind in the new seat of Westminster North but she recently stunned the political world by quitting as candidate, only to be parachuted back in following an intervention from Tory leader, David Cameron.

Ms Cash said: "I love the area. I wanted to fight for these people and bring real change to their lives."

Further south Labour MP, Andy Slaughter will take on dedicated gymnast, Shaun Bailey in the new seat of Hammersmith, where the governing party holds a notional majority of 5,647 following boundary adjustments.

Running for the Lib Dems will be Mark Blackburn, while Tristan Smith will stand for the Green Party, Jasna Badzak for UKIP and Edward Roseman for the English Democrats.

Mr Slaughter said he wanted to remain the MP for the area because his 'roots are embedded in the community.'

He said: "I have 20 years as a councillor and I've lived here my whole life. We're very proud of what we've achieved, in particular our Sure Start Centres."

Meanwhile, Mr Bailey said his track record of working with young people would serve him in good stead should he win.

He said: "I've been successfully involved in community work for 19 years and I would like a platform to affect the wider community."

The Lib Dem candidate in Hammersmith will be Merlene Emerson while the Green candidate will be Rollo Miles.

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