South Basildon & East Thurrock

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19788 (43.8%)
Labour: 11493 (25.4%)
Lib Dem: 1356 (3%)
UKIP: 12097 (26.8%)
Independent: 205 (0.5%)
Others: 253 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 7691 (17%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Essex. Parts of the Thurrock and Basildon council areas.

Main population centres: Basildon, Corringham, Stanford le Hope, Orsett.

Profile: The successor to the old Basildon seat, this seat now excludes the centre of Basildon, taking in only the southern suburbs like Kingswood and Vange and the town of Pitsea to the East that forms a conurbation with Basildon. Basildon is the quintessential "Essex man" town, a 1950s newtown regarded as the home of white van man who supported the Conservatives through the 1980s and switched to Labour in 97. The constituency also includes Langdon Country Park and more rural farmland in Orsett ward, the largely working-class commuter town of Stanford and an expanse of industrial marshland along the North of the Thames. The former Shell Haven oil refinery site is currently in the process of massive redevelopment, with Shell and P&O planning a major business park and deep sea container port.

Politics: Basildon is something of a bellwether seat, being won by the party that went on to form the government since it was created in 1992. The old Basildon seat was an iconic victory for the Conservatives in 1992, with David Amess`s successful holding of the seat heralding their ultimate victory. Amess himself moved to Southend West following the 1997 boundary changes.

Current MP
STEPHEN METCALFE (Conservative) Born 1966, Walthamstow. Former Epping Forest councillor. Contested Ilford South 2005. First elected as MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 19624 (44%)
Lab: 13852 (31%)
LDem: 5977 (13%)
UKIP: 2639 (6%)
Oth: 2643 (6%)
MAJ: 5772 (13%)
Con: 15578 (36%)
Lab: 18720 (43%)
LDem: 4473 (10%)
BNP: 2055 (5%)
Oth: 2315 (5%)
MAJ: 3142 (7%)
Con: 13813 (34%)
Lab: 21551 (53%)
LDem: 3691 (9%)
UKIP: 1397 (3%)
Oth: 423 (1%)
MAJ: 7738 (19%)
Con: 16366 (31%)
Lab: 29646 (56%)
LDem: 4608 (9%)
MAJ: 13280 (25%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Basildon

2015 Candidates
STEPHEN METCALFE (Conservative) See above.
MIKE LE-SURF (Labour) Born 1964, Brentwood. Educated at St Edwards School, Romform. Brentwod councillor. Contested Rayleigh and Wickford 2010.
GEOFF WILLIAMS (Liberal Democrat) Associate Mental Health Act Manager. Basildon councillor since 2002. Contested South Basildon and East Thurrock 2010.
IAN LUDER (UKIP) Born 1951. Educated at Haberdashers Askes Boys School and University College London. Tax accountant. Former Bedford councillor for the Labour party. Contested Yeovil 1979. Former Lord Mayor of London. Awarded the CBE in 2010.
STUART HOOPER (Independent) Student.
KERRY SMITH (Independent) Essex councillor since 2013, elected for UKIP. Contested Basildon South and Thurrock East 2010 for UKIP.
NONE OF THE ABOVE X (no description) Born 1958, Stepney, as Terry Marsh. Former professional boxer and IBF light welterweight champion. Contested South Basildon and East Thurrock 2010.
Comments - 204 Responses on “Basildon South & Thurrock East”
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  1. It appears that UKIP have won a seat in Westley Heights division, while Labour have won a couple seats in Pitsea.

  2. Again, it is a must win seat for Labour. Considering it is a marginal and it has no AWS, who are the likely candidates?

  3. Metcalfe (Con) * 14,175
    Smith (Lab) 14,119
    Helmer (UKIP) 13,542
    Sutherland (LD) 485
    McGuinness (SF) 44

    C maj 56

  4. So Martin didn’t even affect the result this time Joe?

  5. Not this time.
    Actually, turnout seems not to have recovered very well in this seat.
    The Tories were still about 3,000 below where they should really have been in 2010,
    and Labour about 12,000 down on 1997.

  6. A Labour councillor from Brentwood called Mike Le Surf (interesting name) is the party’s candidate in 2015. He was selected back in the summer. Angela Smith is now Baroness Smith.

    Labour would have to recover a hell of a lot of ground to get this one back. I think the eastern part of Thurrock is more Tory leaning, while Basildon itself (save for maybe Pitsea and Vange which are quite Labour inclined) is volatile. Plus this is the very type of demographic UKIP will thrive on, where former Tory and Labour voters look for a new home.

  7. I’d be surprised if Labour won this seat come 2015.

  8. I think it would require a big change in the way the parties are seen. So not a 33-35pc strategy but a decent win overall.

  9. I’d be surprised too.

  10. Boundary changes to Basildon constituency, 1997:

    Transferred from Basildon to Billericay:

    Basildon wards:

    Pitsea East
    Pitsea West

    Transferred from Billericay to Basildon:

    Thurrock wards:

    Corringham & Fobbing
    The Homesteads

  11. CON HOLD MAJ : 0%
    CON 36
    LAB 36
    UKIP 13
    LD 9
    GRN 3
    OTH 3

  12. Adjusted Prediction
    CON HOLD MAJ : 3%
    CON 38
    LAB 35
    UKIP 13
    LD 9
    GRN 2
    OTH 3

  13. 2015 IMO

    Lab 36
    Con 34
    UKIP 17
    LD 5
    others 8

  14. This is way down Labour’s target list and unless there’s a large rise in African residents like neighbouring Thurrock this will trend away from them, though it already has started to go that way.

    Very optimistic to think Labour are anywhere close to winning this.

  15. Likewise I would be surprised too if we won this.

  16. This is not a seat Labour are likely to regain in 2015, I don’t think it’ll even be that close – maybe a 3,000 Tory majority.

  17. UKIP are probably in line to finish 3rd at least. They already managed to save their deposit last time. This a part of Essex where they would thrive in.

  18. Labour would need two bites (at least) to win it back I reckon and even that depends on state of play in 2020.


  19. I don’t have this down as a Lab gain either, and don’t expect to at any time until the general election.

  20. Thing is that swings in Basildon have always been enormous, and this seat still has some of the best Labour bits of Basildon in it.

    So on paper it doesn’t look likely but it does depend on a number of factors – how big the UKIP vote is, where it comes from, how much women voters in particular are affected by the cuts…

  21. A bit random, perhaps, but does anyone know who the successful Conservative candidate at 3:15 in is?

  22. I’m pretty sure that is Derek Spencer who won Brighton Pavilion in 1992. I’d heard that he’d said “I’m here for good” at the count, and the item is about Brighton Pavilion. Of course as we now know he didn’t only lose in 1997, he only got about half as many votes as Labour’s David Lepper. Even in 1992 the swing to Labour was quite a large one which made Spencer’s boast pretty silly really, since in fact the seat had now become marginal for the very first time since it was created.

  23. You’re correct by the looks of it. I’ve searched David Lepper, and he is identical in physical appearance to the Labour candidate in the video, so it must be Derek Spencer in Brighton Pavilion in 1992. I honestly had no idea that his speech was so fiery, given as you say he then went on to lose only five years later.

  24. Interesting also that there were TV cameras that captured his speech. I wonder how many seats around the UK back in 1992 had declarations recorded by a camera, even if they were only televised locally?

  25. I know there were quite a few declarations covered by ITN that weren’t by the BBC- Ayr, York, Batley and Spen, Copeland, Bolton North East, Bury South, Sunderland South and North, Belfast South and Wolverhampton North East are ones that instantly spring to my own mind going off Andy Stidwill’s uploads of ITN’s coverage in 1992.

  26. Definitely Derek Spencer in 1992, with David Lepper in the background wearing the red rosette. Makes one wonder whether the declaration is on ITN Source.

  27. I’ve checked ITN Source and it’s not there. It must have been shown on TVS/BBC South Today.

    Strange though. I would have imagined that the results for Rossendale and Darwen and City of Chester will have been on the North West round ups given the reporters there for ITN in 1992.

  28. The gentleman with the beard looks like Francis Tonks, a fiery Fabian who was a well-known figure in the Brighton Labour Party at the time & I presume was Mayor at the time, Brighton council having a Labour majority which survived even the following local elections, in which Labour contrived to win only 3 of the 16 wards with the Tories winning all the other 13.

  29. Mike – I don’t think I agree that this is the best bit of Basildon for Labour. Vange is normally strongly Labour (though we lost it in 2008) and Pitsea NW is Labour in an even year, but Langdon Hills is fairly safe Tory, Pitsea SE is moderately inclined that way and we can’t assume the Lib Dem vote in Nethermayne goes Labour in general elections.

    It is a high swing area and I’d be more bullish than most commenters here, but the boundaries do not make life easy for us.

  30. Indeed the most reliable Labour wards in Basildon (all held in 2008 for example when none of the wards in this constituency were) are Fryerns, Lee Chapel North and St Martin’s all of which are in the Basildon & Billericay seat

  31. John Baron presumably has a large personal vote in Basildon and Billericay so even with a number of strong Labour wards, it’s hard to imagine their candidate making an impact, especially with Baron’s majority. On a decent night, they might reduce his majority to just under 10,000 though.

    They came pretty close to gaining the old Billericay constituency in 1997 when it was represented by the colourful Tory rebel Teresa Gorman.

  32. It’s not just John Baron’s personal vote that is an issue. Billericay is better turf for the Tories than anywhere in Basildon is for Labour.

    In the 1990s the Lib Dems had some support in Billericay, but even then Labour were never particularly in the running. Those extra votes in 1997 seem to have come from increased turnout in Pitsea and mobilisation of latent support in Wickford.

  33. “They came pretty close to gaining the old Billericay constituency in 1997 when it was represented by the colourful Tory rebel Teresa Gorman.”

    Only because an independent “Loyal Conservative” stood against Gorman and got a few thousand votes. Without that she would have got a majority of 4000 or so.

    As Edward says, Billericay is rock solid safe for the Tories even in a 1997 scenario.

  34. Both Teresa Gorman and Angela Smith live in this seat although Gorman apparently prefers UKIP these days


    The Mail caught up with Teresa Gorman in late 2012. I reckon she’d be very entertaining in today’s Tory party and would still be very rebellious.

    I think Angela Smith went to school in Basildon.

  36. Ladbrokes:
    1/5 Cons
    7/2 Lab

  37. Basildon council, popular votes:

    UKIP 15,163 (39.00%)
    Con 13,605 (34.99%)
    Lab 8,092 (20.81%)
    LD 1,846 (4.75%)

    Changes since 2010 locals:

    UKIP +35.12%
    Con -14.62%
    Lab -0.59%
    LD -13.53%
    BNP -6.83% (not standing this time)

  38. It’s amazing how the Essex/Mondeo Man character which the media and some psephologists have discussed for years has shifted his allegiance over the generations. Thatcherite Tory in the 80s and early 90s, Blairite Labour in the late 90s and 00s and now the demographic which UKIP is targetting heavily.

  39. And before that a reliable supporter of the Labour Party in the 60s and early/mid 70s.

  40. I would be interested to hear from Kippers where they think UKIPs top few target constituencies will be – I’m sure at least one or two will be in South Essex. Is this one? I just can’t see anyone winning a constituency from less than 10% and 4th place at the previous election, though.

  41. Total destruction of the Lib Dem vote though. They won most of the Billericay seats during the Tory meltdown of 1994-6.

  42. Yeah, JJB, the LIbDem vote will drop like a stone in very many constituencies (although I expect them to be able to cling onto some MPs through a combination of MP with a high personal vote and hard work, if they have got any activists left to put in the hard work). So places like this constit, LD vote will perhaps halve 2010-2015. But in the unlikely event that more of that vote goes to UKIP than anyone else (and there are some ‘plague on both your houses’ vote that might make that shift) that is nowhere near enough voters to bring UKIP in with a shout without spending vast sums of money (and the expenses limit for a GE constituency campaign is low enough to mean that will not exactly be easy to do legally).

  43. Ben Foley – not a Kipper, but I think Prog John Curtice pointed out the Parliamentary seats that UKIP notionally took yesterday. From memory, it was just Great Grimsby, Castle Point and here – although some results had yet to come in when he said that. Thurrock is always mentioned by some.

  44. Plus I think it’s fair to say UKIP start from a defacto 3rd place given the absence of the BNP and any 2010 LD % was at the time of the Clegg bounce/peak.

  45. Where _are_ all the Kippers who are normally on this site?

    I really don’t understand your ‘defacto 3rd place’. It would be an impossibly hard sell to persuade voters in the constituency that all BNP votes last time will automatically go to UKIP in 2015, while trying to fight the claims that UKIP is a racist party. And, yes the LD 2010 share was at the height of Cleggmania, but I was taking that into account when I said “the LIbDem vote will drop like a stone in very many constituencies”.

    Perhaps I should take inspiration from John Curtice, and try to think more about Castle Point as a UKIP target.

  46. UKIP topped the poll in more than just those seats as they also ‘won’ Rotherham, Rother Valley, and Penistone and Stockbridge. There might be more seats too. I haven’t really looked into it yet as I have been very busy.

    I think UKIP massively under performed though. Minimal progress in Worthing and Adur councils, which they should have won more than 10 seats in each on a really good night. The result in Eastleigh was a stunning setback for UKIP and they should have taken a few more seats in Thurrock and Havering. The Bexley, Bromley, and Barking and Dagenham (though the latter was a challenge) results were pretty poor considering the demographics of the areas. UKIP should have picked up a few more seats in Bradford, Doncaster, and even Sheffield too. No seats in Barnsley either, even though the area is ideal for them and they had the by election there back in 2011 which they polled over 10% in.

    Anything over 200 seats would have been entirely impressive, 165 or whatever is good but hardly represents their peak potential in the areas I stated above. Many seats in those areas wee very closely run though and UKIP was just unlucky when it came to the really tight wards.

    The results in Rotherham, Great Yarmouth, and Basildon were excellent for UKIP though. If they repeated the performance in those areas in Adur, Worthing, and Eastleigh with a few more 1st places where they came a very close second they would have reached the 200 seat total.

  47. What is clear from these local elections is that Labour are highly unlikely to gain control of the House of Commons next year. I predict a hung parliament with Labour the largest party. I think that UKIP will take seats from both Labour and the Conservatives if their vote holds up reasonably well.

    UKIP needs to work out what went wrong in Adur, Worthing, and Eastleigh though too. There are about 10 Labour held seats they should target and quite a few Tory ones. Next year I think Labour will gain some seats from the Lib Dems and Tories but will also lose seats to UKIP with a few being lost to the SNP too.

    More people will vote for UKIP in a general election than a local elections I reckon, but far less will vote UKIP in a general election than in a European election I imagine.

    Lord Ashcroft’s poll is interesting, though I suspect that more people than 50% will possibly end up staying with UKIP next year as we will see UKIP mature over the coming year as Farage tries to make the party look more electable. If UKIP draws up the right manifesto and it looks like there will be a hung parliament, people might be tempted to vote for them in order to give them enough seats to be Kingmakers in the next parliament.

    It would be extremely foolish to write off UKIP in seats like Great Yarmouth, Basildon South and East Thurrock, and Castle Point now. They have shown that they can improve on their successes for last year and will be trying desperately hard to keep that momentum up in these seats now for sure. Labour will attack the Tories and the Tories will attack Labour. Once again UKIP will get another free ride in publicity over the coming year. I expect that no one will attack them effectively and they will end up repeating their successes of this round of local elections by and large. It looks like Farage will be in the Leaders debates too so don’t think that Farage’s face will be off our screens any time soon. In fact we will probably see more of him over the coming year.

  48. No no its certainly not true that more people will vote UKIP in a GE. Many would see that vote as too important to be used for a throwaway protest.

  49. We will have to see what Farage does next though. This election next year will be the most interesting post war general election for sure. UKIP now looks like it is in a position to take parliamentary seats, not completely a protest vote for sure. What if UKIP held the balance of power? Could people vote for them and get all the things UKIP say they will give through holding Labour or the Tories to ransom in the next parliament.

    It is now an increasingly realistic possibility (though far from certain).

  50. I don’t think the Tories will suffer too much to UKIP though next year as UKIP will take votes from Labour and the Lib Dems too in marginal seats. This will save the Tories in a good number of seats.

    No 1997 style defeat prediction from me anymore. More Labour and the Conservatives holding 500-550 seats or so between them with either the Lib Dems or UKIP holding the balance of power.

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