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”
  1. I thought you weren’t engaging in a discussion on immigration on here Runnymede, as it is an inappropriate place for it.

    Or is that only when someone asks you a difficult question?

  2. “HH – of course Govts can stop mass immigration”.

    How? It sure as hell isn’t by leaving the EU. Norway and Switzerland both have a greater number of immigrants as a percentage of their population than the UK, the latter massively so.

    In selling the policy of EU withdrawal as primarily a method of controlling immigration UKIP are making a terrible mistake. They are restricting their potential support base to the anti immigration right, and making it far less likely that a future referendum will be won by the “out” side. As Dan Hannan has said, an “out”campaign led by UKIP and focused on immigration will in all likelihood lose. Withdrawal needs to be sold as means by which the UK can engage more effectively with the rest of the world, not as a way of pulling up the drawbridge.

    UKIP like to portray their stance on immigration as them articulating the concerns of the economically marginalised in opposition to an indifferent metropolitan elite. The strange thing is their support does not come from the economically marginalised. Eric Kaufmann’s analysis of the UKIP vote that I posted on the Thurrock thread earlier this month shows that their supporters are more likely to be economically comfortable. The archetypal Ukipper’s objections to immigration are not a result of them personally having suffered economically as a result of it. Instead they are partly a result of a belief that other people have been negatively effected in that way, but also centre around a dislike of the cultural and social effects of immigration.

    As such any characterisation of the rise of UKIP as being a cry for help by the economically dispossessed does not stand up to scrutiny.

  3. ‘The strange thing is their support does not come from the economically marginalised.’

    It some cases it does

    I work in a medium-sized company in Uckfield – a lower middle class very-UKIP friendly town in East Sussex

    The majority of (unskilled) workers on our shop floor vote UKIP, yet none of the management does

    UKIP attracts support throughout the working class – not just the more affluent ones

  4. “UKIP attracts support throughout the working class – not just the more affluent ones”.

    The point is that their support comes disproportionately from the latter; something that conflicts with the image they look to project of representing those left on the outside of the modern economy.

    Similarly the fact that the demographic make up of the membership of trade unions, being far more middle class than the general population, conflicts with the characterisation of unions as defenders of the economically downtrodden.

  5. Now that would be a very dull episode of Question Time.

  6. That was referring to Lancs Observers previous post.

  7. I do find it slightly scary sometimes to think that I live in a borough where UKIP have councillors and about a sixth of people have such a narrow world view.

    I’m all in favour of having a sensible debate about immigration if it’s looked at in the wider context of globalisation. The issue of immigrabts ability to claim benefits is really just a peripheral issue when you look at the figures on how many EU migrants actually claim out of work benefits. All politicians are doing with that is pandering to the uneducated masses (the sort of people who think 30% of government expenditure goes towards unemployment benefits, when it’s realy just 0.5%), and they’re wasting a lot of debating time this close to an election when there really are more important things which need to be debated.

  8. Indeed so. The whole debate needs to become more real-issue focused and edifying.

    Fat chance of that in the dying embers of an over-long fixed-term parliament which has left politicians little to do other than to scare people by magnifying and distorting the shadows on the wall, be they about immigration, the economic prospects or whatever.

  9. HH – you got your wish. Heseltine was just on the BBC (Daily Politics) arguing in favour of immigration and the Euro! Carswell’s best line was when Hezza said, “the Conservative Party has an enormous sense of er,…” [DC interjects “entitlement”].

  10. Superb post upthread by Kieran.

    UKIP is indeed Christmas come early for those who want to remain within the EU, though they have significantly damaged our reputation within it.

    Dr John also makes an excellent point about the fixed term parliament act. Fag end governments are bad for the country.

  11. Kieran & HH – PS I forgot to mention that it’s far less problematic than many imagine. Whilst I still think the chances of the UK leaving the EU are only 40%, Prof Vernon Bogdanor pointed out that procedurally, all that is needed is the repeal of s1 of the 1971 Act. HH – you have the opportunity/right to marry a foreigner, but that does not give them the automatic right to live and work in the UK. Hence why a BBC docu featured a dozen UK Nationals who had married Americans and Canadians. They went to work in France – in order to exercise their EU Treaty rights – before returning to the UK to live together. Plus the primary purpose rule to prevent sham weddings etc. I imagine Carswell’s point that we shouldn’t give preference to Romanians over Canadians or NZ, Australians would be very popular wth upto 80% of the electorate.

  12. Once again echoes of the recent past…I well remember the pompous characters from the European Movement and similar organisations telling us in the 1990s that what was needed was ‘a proper debate’ on the euro, not one dominated by the Daily Mail and other ignorant organs.

    Once that happened, people would throw off their prejudices and embrace the wonderful new currency.

    So we gave them one. They lost. They never really wanted a ‘debate’ of course, unless its outcome was entirely preordained.

  13. You are fond of calling people pompous Runnymede…personally I find some of your posts very pompous indeed.

  14. “I imagine Carswell’s point that we shouldn’t give preference to Romanians over Canadians or NZ”

    Then why does Pete Whitehead – a UKIP activist – post upthread that he doesn’t think that immigration from Europe is the biggest problem?

  15. Obviously because he thinks the real problems are caused by immigrants from New Zealand and Canada 😎

  16. You know perfectly well what I am getting at.

    Good luck trying to implement a liberal immigration policy on white immigrants from outside the EU whilst simultaneously keeping all the blacks and Asians out…this is not 1950. If the PC industry didn’t kill it, international outrage would.

  17. Agree about fixed term Parliament -awful idea. Apparently a lot of MPs are already absent campaigning on certain days and this has been OK’d. Public certainly not getting value for money.

  18. The fixed term should have been either 3 or 4 years, certainly not 5.

  19. HH – the Commonwealth nations are certainly more black and Asian than White. Indeed, the World is today. From memory the stat the former UKIP Leader in the Lords referred to was that in 1900, 51% were White and now only 8% are.

  20. I always wondered who the Basildon and Thurrock constituencies as such a dogs breakfast, and why Billericay did not continue to be linked with East Thurrock leaving a whole Basildon constituency.

    Why not ‘Basildon’ and ‘Billericay & East Thurrock’?

    It seems that the boundary commission main intention has been to include the East Thurrock area (31828 electors) within one constituency.

    Due to the warding it is impossible to link the three Billericay wards with East Thurrock without hitting 80337 electors (leaving 56855 in Basildon) because the Basildon wards of Burstead, Laindon PK and Landsdon Hills are stuck between Billericay and East Thurrock.

    While I see the necessity of the boundaries I still think the constituencies were misnamed.

    I think ‘Basildon South & Thurrock East’ would make more sense if ‘Thurrock’ was ‘Thurrock West’ and ‘Basildon & Billericay’ was ‘Basildon North & Billericay’.

    In this and other cases the BC seem to now work on the basis is that if most of the town is in a constituency (or the town centre) the constituency takes the name of the whole town and is not North or South. What I don’t understand about ‘Basildon South & Thurrock East’ and ‘Basildon & Billericay’ is that more of the town appears to be in ‘Basildon South & Thurrock East’ because ‘Basildon & Billericay’ is more Billericay.

    The BC’s logic is not consistent because, Blackpool North & Cleveley and Blackpool South would be ‘Blackpool North & Cleveleys’ and ‘Blackpool South’ would be ‘Blackpool’ and ‘North Blackpool & Cleveleys’.

  21. Oddly this seat is often called South Basildon & East Thurrock on the TV, whereas they will usually refer to (for example) Devon North. This seat is in fact a Borough Constituency, and therefore by the rules of the Boundary Commission it should be called Basildon South & Thurrock East. Devon North is however a County Constituency & should strictly be called North Devon. Peter is right that the names of this constituency & neighbouring “Basildon & Billericay” do constitute an anomaly. Much closer to home, and an area extremely well known to Peter, Kingston & Surbiton is not a good name – Kingston South & Surbiton would be much better. Presumably the name was given since that seat does include Kingston town centre, though only just – Richmond Park starts immediately north of the railway station.

  22. I’m still in favour of scrapping a more of the names that just rely on plugging a bunch of directions together and naming more constituencies after local landmarks/identities/history. I think it’s more important to have a name for a constituency that’s recognisable and different than one that wholly accurately represents the geography.

  23. Excellent posts on this thread about immigration from Barnaby and H. Hemmelig.

    The thing that makes me laugh about those who complain about “mass immigration” is that they are very often the ones who live in areas with few or no immigrants. I don’t know where Runnymead lives but I know of someone who lives in an-all white and nearly all English part of Wiltshire who has been complaining on his Facebook timeline that “it’s almost politically incorrect to be white male and middle aged”. (Give me a break – all three of those groups are over-represented in the HoC).

    Further more Cornwall is one of the whitest counties in the UK and UKIP won there easily in the Euro elections.

    Regarding Kieran’s comments, I broadly agree. UKIP’s support is strongest among the affluent working class, as can be seen from the fact they do best among C2s. These are classic ‘swing voters’ who were Labour in 2005, Tory in 2010, Labour in 2012 and UKIP now.

    That’s why UKIP support cannot hold at its current levels.

  24. ‘The thing that makes me laugh about those who complain about “mass immigration” is that they are very often the ones who live in areas with few or no immigrants’.

    So you can’t be concerned about immigration if there isn’t where you live. Interesting

    And derr, OF COURSE UKIP will do better where there are lower rates of immigration because immigrants are unlikely to vote for them, so the less of them there are in the constituency, the higher the chance UKIP have. However In Boston & Thurrock for example, there is a lot of immigration and strong UKIP support, so it goes both ways.

    I remember some journalists and politicians feeling very happy when UKIP did (relatively) badly in London, and they tried to imply that that meant London was a city with loads of tolerance, and acceptance of each other. But the elephant in the room which Farage dare not say was obvious. Less than 50% of London is white British, that’s why UKIP did badly, no other reason. I remember seeing a poll which showed that in the EU elections UKIP and the tories among white British London voters were on about 33% each, and Labour down at 20-5 ish %. So of course UKIP do better with lower levels of immigration, it isn’t rocket science that white British people are more worried about it than immigrants themselves, rightly or wrongly.

  25. And plus in Greater London, UKIP did very well in lots of parts, just in inner London in many places they were in single figure percentages

  26. Rather flattered since I didn’t say anything about immigration as such. I did denounce some comments as racist if that’s what you mean Robin.

  27. This seat will no doubt see one of the Lib Dems’ worst performances, they may even struggle to clear 2% I reckon given their historic weakness in this part of the world. Even worse results in Essex could be in store for them however in Clacton, Harlow, Thurrock and possibly the worst for them could be Castle Point. I think there might actually be only about 6 seats where they’ll keep their deposit now I think about it.

  28. It’s very odd that one constituency carried the Basildon name because NE Basildon shares its MP with Rayleigh (which is Rochford Borough without its town).

  29. prediction for 2015-

    Con- 37%
    Lab- 32%
    UKIP- 27%
    Lib- 4%

    If the BNP don’t stand it won’t make much of a difference. I’ve heard that their 2015 strategy is to almost skip the election completely, save their funds and wait for the UKIP polls to drop before quickly swooping in and splashing loads of cash in advertising for the party. So if all this UKIP stuff does die down, it may be replaced by a BNP rise. Their ceiling is higher now too that they have toned down the odd policy.

    I think the tories will hold this. Thanks to papers like the sun and the daily mail being very popular among the working / lower middle classes I think that them backing the tories come 2015 will really aid them in saving seats like this.

    The Labour party are losing lots and lots of credibility in areas like this and I know that in the Thurrock seat racial tension is high so they won’t be doing all that great with the WWC there, don’t think this one will be quite so drastic.

  30. Wouldn’t be so sure ROBBIETRIESTOPREDICTPOLITICS as word is that Mr Farage has been spending a lot of time with Mr Murdoch.

  31. The Daily Express is likely to endorse UKIP. I doubt the Sun or Mail will, however.

  32. ‘Thanks to papers like the sun and the daily mail being very popular among the working / lower middle classes I think that them backing the tories come 2015 will really aid them in saving seats like this.

    The Labour party are losing lots and lots of credibility in areas like this’

    I totally agree with both points

    I’ve always thought that once the election campaign starts, the newspapers will play a key roll in the Tories bid for re-election, although it will certainly make things more interesting if the Daily Mail inpartticular followed the cue from the Express and The Star and endorsed UKIP, a party whose policies the Mail has been endorsing for the lkast four years

    I don’t see The Sun endorsing UKIP and no matter how miuch time Farage is spoending with Murdoch itr hasn’t changed the position of the The Times – which perhaps unusually for a Conservative-leaning newspaper positively despises UKIP

  33. Evidence from the U.S. suggests that the impact of newspaper endorsements is partly dependent on whether the endorsement runs counter to the paper’s generally perceived political stance. Thus the endorsement of a Democratic candidate by a generally Democrat supporting paper has far less impact than if the same paper endorsed a Republican. It therefore seems unlikely that the support of The Sun or The Mail would help the Tories in the way some commentors above seem to imagine, as voters probably see them as generally Conservative papers.

    Were one or more of the habitually Conservative papers to endorse UKIP that might have some effect. I agree with Lancs Observer that only The Express is likely to do that.

  34. I would be interested to know everyones views on which out of the Daily Express and the Daily Mail is more right wing. I would have thought that traditionally the Daily Mail would have been (although I may be completely wrong) in which case it would seem a little unusual for them to support the Tories and the Express supporting UKIP.

  35. I think that’s more an illustration of the general uselessness of the left/right axis for measuring political opinion these days.

  36. “I would be interested to know everyones views on which out of the Daily Express and the Daily Mail is more right wing. I would have thought that traditionally the Daily Mail would have been (although I may be completely wrong) in which case it would seem a little unusual for them to support the Tories and the Express supporting UKIP.”

    As Andy54 says, your question is a pointless one. For all its faults and prejudices, The Mail is a serious paper with an absolutely massive readership, both in print and online. An endorsement from The Mail is cherished by politicians, as shown by how far Blair, Brown and Cameron have gone to appease the paper.

    The Express bears no comparison at all. It has become a joke paper with a tiny readership. Even going back to Beaverbrook’s day, the Express always was somewhat more “frivolous” and less serious than the Mail….today however it has degenerated into an irrelevance, with a particular penchant for ludicrous conspiracy theories about Princess Diana. Neither Cameron nor Miliband will give a flying fuck about The Express endorsing UKIP, in fact they will most likely say that they are welcome to him and that one group of loonies is likely to endorse another.

  37. “The Mail is a serious paper”

    In the same way as Gloy Plopwell is a serious poster on this site

  38. LOL

    It is serious in terms of its impact on the views of a substantial part of the electorate (you could say the same about the Sun)

    That is not true of the Express, or the Star, which I think may also endorse UKIP.

    I think UKIP will have to wait until 2020 before the big beast newspapers could consider endorsing them in a general election. In 2015 they will give the Tories one last chance.

  39. So as the saga of the former UKIP candidate continues and he now says that he will contest the seat as an Independent, I guess this seat should now be regarded as a fairly standard Cameronite hold at the election?

    I never really rated Labour’s chances in South Essex outside of Thurrock anyway, and with UKIP imploding locally, the stage should be set for the return of Stephen Metcalfe (not, by the way, a result that I would be particularly unhappy with in all honesty).

  40. Further to the posts above, I cannot abide convoluted constituency names (least of all those that pay undue respect to local authority names). Why can’t the Commission just call this one ‘Corringham & Pitsea’ and be done with it?

  41. Agree Shaun.

    The only way UKIP could have won this seat would have been with Kerry Smith as the candidate. Now he is gone surrounded by the drama of his old remarks this should be much easier for Metcalfe to hold, who is a good MP in any case.

    Stanford and Pitsea would probably be a better name 🙂

  42. Speaking of Kerry Smith :-
    Kerry Smith, Ind cand for Basildon South & Thurrock East.

    (was the cand for UKIP before he got ‘dropped’ by UKIP party . . . )


    Has a war chest too :-

    ” With £2,500 in his pocket and half a dozen supporters prepared to pound the pavements of South Basildon and East Thurrock, Kerry Smith has declared his independence. ”


  43. What a waste of £2,500

  44. I cannot believe how badly UKIP has mucked up with this seat selection. This seat represented one of its best opportunities for a very good result. If not a win, then a strong second place and cementing the party as the main opposition in the seat.

    This will be a simple Tory hold and perhaps Labour retaining second place.

  45. Ultimately this is the reason why UKIP will not do nearly as well as some are suggesting/hoping. While they have genuine appeal to a significant section of the electorate, their local organisation is nowhere near as sophisticated as the “Farage machine,” meaning they will find it hard to conduct a national election campaign.

    This will result in a number of seats that on paper appear to be winnable for UKIP where they won’t get close.

  46. Ian Lauder is the new UKIP candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock- seems like sensible candidate , might suffer a bit because of the Kerry Smith fiasco though.

  47. Geoff Williams has been confirmed as Liberal Democrat candidate for SBET.

  48. There’ll be another independent candidate shortly. The anti-austerity Stuart Hooper straight from university (I think). Assuming the paperwork goes in on time.

    The anti-windmill vote may split between him, Kerry, and UKIP.

  49. Former UKIP candidate Kerry Smith is indeed standing as an independent here.

  50. Conservative Hold. 4,000 maj.

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