2015 Result:
Conservative: 30094 (52.5%)
Labour: 10580 (18.4%)
Lib Dem: 3433 (6%)
Green: 2467 (4.3%)
UKIP: 10798 (18.8%)
MAJORITY: 19296 (33.6%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. Most of the Ashford council area.

Main population centres: Ashford, Tenterden.

Profile: Ashford is a large and rapidly growing Kentish town. Originally a market town, in the nineteenth century it became a railway hub and the site of the South Eastern Railway Company`s Railway works. The railway industry has remained important to the town since then. While the railworks finally closed in 1981, the town is now part of the High Speed Rail link to the Channel tunnel and the site of Ashford International Station. The seat consists of the town of Ashford itself, the town of Tenterden and the small villages surrounding them.

Politics: A solid Conservative seat held by the Tories since the 1930s, mostly famously by cabinet minister and Daily Telegraph editor Bill Deedes who represented the area from 1950 until 1974.

Current MP
DAMIAN GREEN (Conservative) Born 1956, Barry. Educated at Reading School and Oxford University. Former journalist and TV presenter. Contested Brent East 1992. First elected as MP for Ashford in 1997. Shadow education secretary 2001-2003, shadow transport secretary 2003-2004, Minister of State at the Home Office 2010-2014. Green is a leading figure on the left of the Conservative party. He was arrested for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office in 2008, in connection with receiving leaked information about immigration from the Home Office, charges were later dropped but the searching of his Commons office by the police caused a brief political row.
Past Results
Con: 29878 (54%)
Lab: 9204 (17%)
LDem: 12581 (23%)
UKIP: 2508 (5%)
Oth: 1014 (2%)
MAJ: 17297 (31%)
Con: 26651 (52%)
Lab: 13353 (26%)
LDem: 8308 (16%)
GRN: 1753 (3%)
Oth: 1620 (3%)
MAJ: 13298 (26%)
Con: 22739 (47%)
Lab: 15380 (32%)
LDem: 7236 (15%)
GRN: 1353 (3%)
Oth: 1229 (3%)
MAJ: 7359 (15%)
Con: 22899 (41%)
Lab: 17544 (32%)
LDem: 10901 (20%)
Oth: 749 (1%)
MAJ: 5355 (10%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DAMIAN GREEN (Conservative) See above.
DEBRA ENEVER (Liberal Democrat) Contested Chatham and Aylesford 2005.
MANDY ROSSI (Green) Management training consultant.
Comments - 88 Responses on “Ashford”
  1. Ashford borough (Kent).

  2. There have been some Parliamentary by-elections where the holding party’s vote dropped massively, but they still held on – Glasgow Bridgeton in 1946, where the ILP vote dropped 32.1% is the record, with Birmingham Hodge Hill in 2004 where Labour dropped 29.6% but still held in second.

    The biggest drop for a party gaining a seat which I can find is Labour at the Birmingham Northfield by-election in 1982, where their vote dropped by 8.8% (due to a big increase in the Liberal share).

  3. Good spot WoD –

    BHAM HODGE HILL 2004 was where Terry Davis after 25 years stood down and was the successor seat to BHAM STETCHFORD, where in 1977, after Roy Jenkins stood down, there was also a massive decrease in LAB vote share (-19.6% & a shock CON GAIN).

    Is there a releveant parallel with OLDHAM E ROYTON?

  4. Turnout was 19% that’s pretty awful

  5. Perhaps I could point out that house prices in Ashford, whilst modest by London standards, as higher than most places in East Kent, with the notable exception of Canterbury. A fair few people are moving in because of HS1. Most of the new arrivals have approximately zilch interest in local, or even national, politics though.

  6. @Matt Wilson

    Not unusual for a local by-election… only about 30-40% vote when there are full local elections on and by-elections, especially on a cold day in November, are so easy to forget about even if the parties have been putting stuff through letter boxes.

  7. Really? Fair enough, I’m only talking from experience I think I’ve campaigned in three council by elections which were between 27%-37%

  8. The one I campaigned in had 9%. It can vary massively.

  9. Local Elections in England 2012
    (including Mayoral referendums and Greater
    London Authority elections)
    Rallings & Thrasher August 2012


    Highest turnouts %

    Mets – Bradford – Bradford Moor ward – ————55.0
    Unitaries – Blackburn/wDarwen – Bastwell ward 62.4
    Districts – South Lakeland – Levens ward——— 67.5

    Lowest turnouts %

    Mets – Liverpool – Central ward—————-12.6
    Unitaries – Southampton – Bargate ward—–16.3
    Districts – Gosport – Grange ward————–13.2

  10. Being said Damian Green (who is said to be Pro BBC) is going to be promoted to the DCMS

  11. Interesting appointment. I wonder where this leaves Pritti Patel. Cant see her leaving the cabinet.

  12. Still a vacancy at Business (or whatever replaces it).

  13. Have they filled Culture yet?

  14. Not yet. Rumours it will be abolished. Through I have no idea where it’s duties would go.

  15. I reckon Green will be Chancellor as of next weekend.

  16. If the Conservatives win that is! Paul Goodman has been roundly criticised on Conservative Home for a presumptuous article previewing the Cabinet reshuffle.

    IF the Conservatives win I agree that Green is a good contender. Hammond has to go.

  17. Fair point Tory – I should have made the point first that I also reckon on the Conservatives slightly increasing their majority – perhaps to a 40/50 majority. I’m not experienced enough to offer a seat-by-seat prediction!

    I have seen no compelling overall poll movement that convinces me of any worse result for them than this, although will still be seen as a disappointment.

  18. “IF the Conservatives win I agree that Green is a good contender. Hammond has to go.”

    It’s usually best when a government has a chancellor who is strong enough to stand up to the PM, and for all his faults Hammond has done so. Green would likely be a weak yes-man type of chancellor unable to stand up to the boss, think Major or Darling. As a consequence economic policy would be constantly impacted by May’s interference and flip flopping – I doubt the city would be happy. If she feels she has to change the chancellor it would be preferable to go for a proper big beast, perhaps Gove.

  19. Gove would be an interesting choice! Can’t see her doing that, although I’d like to see him back in cabinet.

  20. One lesson of this dreadful campaign is that she needs to move on from personal enmities and widen the talent pool of the government. As a staunch Remainer I’m no fan of Gove personally but he’s undeniably bright and strong.

  21. Gove is fundamentally untrustworthy . It was his own stupid fault. He was the architect of his own downfall.

  22. I think people take all this cabinet stuff too seriously. Cabinet government hasn’t existed for 20 years, if it existed before then. It’s more honoured in the breach than the observance.

    Nick Timothy is twice as powerful as any cabinet minister… Blairs sofa government, Cameron s chumocracy rendered cabinet government redundant. We all have a 19th century university essay view of all this stuff, which is idealistic and hopelessly out of date.

  23. “Nick Timothy is twice as powerful as any cabinet minister”

    True at the moment, but the knives will be being sharpened on Friday morning.

    I broadly agree with your view of cabinet government but to some degree the big 3 offices of state still need to be occupied by big beasts for the government to work effectively. Particularly the chancellor and home secretary.

  24. Damian Green is the new minster for Cabinet Office and First Secteary of State.

  25. Which essentially means he is Deputy Pm unless someone is appointed to that position.

  26. A bit surprising – an existing May ally rather than somebody with a wide following in the party appointed to keep another wing of the party on side. But he’s sensible enough, which might be what is needed in present circunstances.

  27. Not quite chancellor but still second in command to all intents and purposes!

  28. Not many allies left in government for Theresa May. Nick and Fi went immediately after the general election; Gavin Barwell has been somewhat compromised by allegations he suppressed a safety report on Grenfell Tower; the other Gavin is now pretty obviously gunning for the top job himself; and now Damian Green is forced out too.

    She never had that many friends in politics, but she has been very poor at holding on to those that she had.

  29. Poor, poor Theresa. Still, I’m sure she’ll keep staggering on her completely grim, uninspiring manner. I expect she thinks she’s doing us all some massive favour deep down. No flair, mediocre talent but a Protestant work ethic. Hoorah for her.

  30. PT – I think you’re mixing up personal friends with political allies. Hammond, Green are personal friends from years ago but both are TRG ‘Wets’ and often disagreed with May on law and order etc.

    A great time to go though – no Newsnight etc for over 2 weeks. As I think Matthew Parris revealed, ‘Oh Peston, George Osborne et al, all go off ski-ing and aren’t seen again until the end of January.’ Although his Mandy ‘outing’ remains my favourite of his asides.

  31. I’m not sure this is the best time to go it kind of puts TM on a bit of a dampner before Christmas

  32. One other thing I’ve just thought of – Damian Green was probably the biggest Europhile in cabinet. His sacking may add another name to the list of potential rebels on future Brexit legislation – though I guess he is still a close friend of May, which always makes betrayal harder.

  33. MW: as Laura Kuenssberg observed yesterday, it’s better (for Theresa May) that he goes now than if he had gone a couple of weeks ago, when the DUP pulled the rug from under her.

    There’s never a good time to go – but I think sneaking it out the day after the final PMQs/Liaison Committee was probably sensible.

  34. If the non-illegal porn was found on Green’s personal computer in his own home then the case against the retired officers for breach of the Data Protection Act would seem reasonable.

    In this case, however, the non-illegal porn was discovered on Green’s work computer and my understanding of employment law is that if even non-illegal porn is found on your work computer you would be subject to not only dismissal by instant dismissal.

    Why are MP’s exempt from employment law and protected by the Data Protection Act when other people would face instant dismissal?

    If a civil servant or a local government officer was found to have non-illegal porn on their computer they would be instantly escorted off the work premises by the Human Resources Manager but if your an MP you are protected by the Data Protection Act.

  35. DALEK – Completely agree. All those MPs defending him because the pornography is “legal” seem to be missing the point; he has used his work compute and work time to download and view THOUSANDS of pornographic images. Yet if it wasn’t for his lying about it, he’d still be the deputy PM.

  36. “Why are MPs exempt from employment law?”

    Because they are nobody’s employees.

  37. Dalek – I agree entirely, although they’re not exempt.

    Parliamentary Privilege was the point MPs argued ie that the Speaker’s nor the Sergeant at Arms’ permission had not been sought before entering a Royal Palace.

    Plus of course even if police enter with eg a warrant to search for drugs but find illegal weapons or cse porn it doesn’t mean the person can’t be arrested for the latter.

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