May 6 2010 By James Cracknell
POLLING booths across Hillingdon borough have closed and ballot boxes are now being whisked across to the Brunel University campus where the parliamentary votes will be counted over the next three or four hours.
Three seats are being contested tonight, but all counting will take place at the Athletics Centre of the university campus in Uxbridge. About 450 volunteers are preparing to count up to 214,000 ballot papers. The first ballot boxes arrived at 10.27pm, and more are on their way.
In Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Conservative MP John Randall is defending his seat with a majority of 6,171 votes (18 per cent) against Labour. The size of the electorate in the seat, extended by boundary changes to include the South Ruislip wards, has increased from 57,878 in 2005 to 73,908 this year.
A swing of 9 per cent would be needed for Labour candidate Sidharath Garg to unseat Mr Randall.
In Hayes and Harlington, Labour MP John McDonnell is defending his seat with a majority of 10,847 votes (28.7 per cent) against the Conservatives. The electorate this year is 74,197, compared to 57,493 in 2005.
A swing of 14.3 per cent would be needed for Mr McDonnell to lose his seat to Tory candidate Scott Seaman-Digby.
In Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, Conservative MP Nick Hurd is defending an expanded constituency with a majority of 8,910 (30.7 per cent) against the Liberal Democrats.
A swing of 15.4 per cent would be needed for Mr Hurd to be unseated by Thomas Papworth, the Lib Dem candidate.