Whichever party wins in Gloucester in 2015 is likely to form the next government, the shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said.
The result in the city constituency has matched the overall outcome of every general election since 1979.
And Mr Balls has told The Citizen he not only believes Gloucester will set the tone for the nation come polling day next year but also that he has every faith Labour’s candidate Sophy Gardner will be able to turn the city red once again.
“I think Gloucester will be a bellwether again and I think we are going to win,” he said.
“We have got a brilliant candidate in Sophy Gardner and I know from everything I am hearing that she is winning support right across the city, from traditional Labour voters, from businesses and obviously she has a massive track record in public services in our armed forces.
“We have a great candidate and I think at the moment people are hurting with living standards falling and they want things to be done differently for the future and I think we have got a set of policies on jobs, on investment, on fairness in deficit reduction which I think will strike a chord with people in Gloucester.
“We have had good Labour MPs here and some real improvements over the last 15 years and I think we are going to have a great MP in 2015.”
The current MP for the city, Richard Graham, won the seat for the Conservatives in 2010 after Labour had controlled it since 1997.
Mr Graham secured the seat with a majority of just over 2,400 and a swing in the voting of close to nine per cent.
Mr Balls is bullish about Labour’s chances of overturning the Tory majority.
“Totally confident,” he said.
“It’s absolutely do-able. The thing about politics though is that you must never take anything for granted.
“The only poll that matters is the poll on general election day.
“If people thought we were being complacent, I think they would think we were foolish.
“The reason we are working so hard is because every vote counts in Gloucester.”
Mr Balls spoke to The Citizen while attending a Labour Party fundraiser at Kingsholm Stadium, the home of Gloucester Rugby, on Thursday evening.