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Election 2019: A tale of two towns

Comparing the political histories of Mansfield and Huntingdon throws England’s realignment into sharp relief—and raises dark questions for Labour about whether it can ever rebuild the “red wall”

By Tom Clark  

Boris Johnson on the campaign trail with candidate (now returned as an MP) Ben Bradley. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

They can both be described as English market towns, but beyond that there is little in common between Mansfield and Huntingdon. They are getting on for 100 miles apart, more distant than that on several social indictors, and—for over a century—they’ve been at the opposite end of the political spectrum too.

Mansfield in Nottinghamshire has a mining and industrial past, and today has all the usual…

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