Basingstoke

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25769 (48.6%)
Labour: 14706 (27.7%)
Lib Dem: 3919 (7.4%)
UKIP: 8290 (15.6%)
Independent: 392 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 11063 (20.8%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Hampshire. Part of the Basingstoke and Deane council area.

Main population centres: Basingstoke, Old Basing, Newnham.

Profile: Basingstoke was once a small market town, but has rapidly expanded since the 1960s, first seeing the development of council housing for the London overspill and more recently becoming a site of major private development to cater for commuters into south-west London. It has also become a prosperous economic centre in its own right, with high tech and service industries. The growth of the town has seen its boundaries drawn ever tighter around Basingstoke itself. Until 2010 it included the rural hinterland to the north and south of the town, but the current boundaries reduce the seat to just Basingstoke itself and a few villages close to the east of the town, including Old Basing and Newnham.

Politics: The seat has returned a Conservative MP since the 1920s, though in the 2001-2005 Parliament was briefly in the unusual position of being a mainland British seat represented by a Northern Irish political party when the then MP Andrew Hunter joined the DUP, having intended to relocate to Northern Ireland.


Current MP
MARIA MILLER (Conservative) Born 1964, Wolverhampton. Educated at Brynteg Comprehensive school, Bridgend and LSE. Former marketing consultant and director of an advertising company. Contested Wolverhampton North East 2001. First elected as MP for Basingstoke in 2005. Under-secretary of state for disabled people 2010-2012, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 2012-2014. Resigned in 2014 after becoming involved in an expenses scandal.
Past Results
2010
Con: 25590 (51%)
Lab: 10327 (20%)
LDem: 12414 (25%)
UKIP: 2076 (4%)
Oth: 247 (0%)
MAJ: 13176 (26%)
2005*
Con: 19955 (41%)
Lab: 15275 (32%)
LDem: 9952 (21%)
UKIP: 1044 (2%)
Oth: 1897 (4%)
MAJ: 4680 (10%)
2001
Con: 20490 (43%)
Lab: 19610 (41%)
LDem: 6693 (14%)
UKIP: 1202 (3%)
MAJ: 880 (2%)
1997
Con: 24751 (43%)
Lab: 22354 (39%)
LDem: 9714 (17%)
Oth: 310 (1%)
MAJ: 2397 (4%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
MARIA MILLER (Conservative) See above.
PAUL HARVEY (Labour)
JANICE SPALDING (Liberal Democrat) Born Newcastle. Educated at Gosforth High School and Huddersfield University. IT project planner.
ALAN STONE (UKIP) Antiques dealer.
OMAR SELIM (Independent)
Links
Comments - 192 Responses on “Basingstoke”
  1. Labour should probably regain their second place spot here next year yet a comfortable hold for Miller. Wonder how much will be made locally of her expenses though. If it triggers an independent candidate standing in protest she could lose votes, but probably not enough to make a difference.

  2. The sheer amounts involved must stick in the craw of some of the electorate. There can’t be many houses in Basingstoke even worth a million let alone enough to make that much of a gain on selling one..

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/10729984/Maria-Miller-to-have-to-repay-thousands-of-pounds-and-apologise-over-expenses-claims.html

  3. Maria Miller was ordered to apologise by the Committee on Standards. Not for the excessive claim, which she is to repay £5k of, but for her being obstructive, rude and overly legalistic in her respones to questions. John Mann MP called for her to resign, but the PM gave her his backing even before the report was published. Presumably this is as she is one of only four women in the Cabinet.

  4. If Cameron had any sense he would have sacked her or made her resign.

    He would have looked strong and principled.

    Instead its yet another case of ‘one rule for us and another rule for them’.

  5. Richard we’ve missed you (generally)

  6. Very true. Even her apology was grudging. Michael Portillo said its unsustainable for a Cabinet Minister.

  7. “There can’t be many houses in Basingstoke even worth a million”

    Really? It’s not that far from London. I’d have thought there’d be plenty of properties worth more than a million.

  8. Labour would have bleated about her being sacked when a man wouldn’t have if he got rid of her.

  9. The official rules may stipulate certain conditions, but the man on the street will look at this as a glorified slap on the wrist for another MP putting their snout into trough.

  10. I will predict. Now that this seat will see the highest rise in the labour share in a conservative held seat next year.

    Local election results suggest a strong swing to Labour. It is unlikely that Miller would lose but I can’t see her majority being any more than 10% next year.

  11. I agree this will have an effect on the man on the street. The government has been too blithe in its acceptance of this with implications at the local level for the Tory vote…

  12. “I will predict. Now that this seat will see the highest rise in the labour share in a conservative held seat next year.”

    I disagree: it’ll be in an urban area somewhere – London probably.

  13. Labour will probably finish in 2nd place seeing as how there is some level of support for them in certain wards in Basingstoke proper. But they’re no where in contention.

    In 2001, this might have been a surprise gain for them with a slightly higher swing. Would’ve obviously gone back to the Tories after a term or two like South Dorset (gained in 2001).

  14. Could there be a by election here before 2015 if Miller is pressured into standing down?

    UKIP’s first seat?

  15. Cameron will be hell-bent on avoiding a by-election. As you say UKIP would have a fair chance of winning their first seat. It’s in the general vicinity of Diane James’ home patch as well.

  16. She might be out as a minister by not in a by-election… UKIP can’t win this..

  17. If there’s local pressure in Basingstoke she could be effectively forced to stand down like Julie Kirkbride did at the last election. Incidentally, wasn’t Kirkbride tipped to be in the cabinet at one point?

  18. …Side-note to the recent Maria Miller news, I just found out watching a BBC News video (interviewing residents on the streets of Basingstoke) that Labour have a PPC selected. Local councillor Paul Harvey. He was in the video.

  19. Paul Harvey was the Lab candidate in 2005.

  20. The threat by the SpAd sounded bad – if a little W1A-esque: “Maria’s meeting a lot of editors you know. I’m just putting that out there for you to think about.”

  21. Irresponsible loose-lipped SpAds?! Nothing new…. SpAds should be seen and not heard

  22. Credit to the Telegraph for their work. It’s investigative journalism like this which throws press regulation into question, especially where money hungry, conniving politicians are involved.

    Reports about her expenses made ripples around late February, but now is the main national news. The only other news item that’s getting considerable coverage is the Afghan elections – an international piece.

  23. Can anyone here earnestly say that our Culture Secretary is not a criminal? How many more scandals must the coalition go through before anything is done? >:-( Surely, surely, a by-election is on the cards here. I’ve never got why the incumbent party isn’t automatically banned from standing in by-elections: would teach the parties a lesson and make things far more interesting! 😀

  24. “Can anyone here earnestly say that our Culture Secretary is not a criminal?”

    She is not a criminal unless found guilty of a criminal offence. You have been posting here for long enough to know better than posting litigious stuff like that. Presumably it will be deleted.

    I strongly agree with Neil. We are at risk of losing the freedom of our press just so that Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan can get sucked off by a prostitute without it getting in the tabloids. All the stuff about Millie Dowler etc was just a smokescreen exploited by third rate celebrities to convince the public to back their cause. It’s a disgrace.

  25. There seems to be no end to the political class’s stupidity regarding the expenses issue.

  26. There is an excellent article in today’s “Guardian” about the contempt by the Westminster establishment for constituencies generally that is illustrated by Maria Miller’s choice of “second” house, and the lack of any effective action relating to it.

    Which prospective candidates, if any, for this seat live in the constituency, and what will it do to increase their vote?

    The political class, not least Cameron, will get away with it until MPs start losing their seats for putting their personal and party interests before those of voters. The sooner this happens the better.

  27. A fair number of MPs did lose their seats due to expenses – some forced to stand down and some voted out by the electorate. The problem is that the underlying culture of it being seen as OK to fiddle expenses still seems to be in place at Westminster, hence the replacements for MPs booted out over this issue are likely to be just as bad. What is most surprising is that several MPs going to jail has not had more of a deterrent on the others.

  28. You are right H. Hemmelig.

    Perhaps what needed to happen was for the electors in constituencies where the MP was sent to gaol over expenses to return a candidate from a different party, or a Martin Bell-style Independent, at the subsequent by-election.

  29. It is also clear that party leaders, especially Cameron, threw a few token backbench miscreants to the wolves whilst protecting others who were more politically important – Miller being a good example.

  30. I agree again.

    Miller has got to go.

  31. But she hasn’t been tossed to the wolves.. I would have thought that after what happened last time she would have been so radioactive they would have fled the room looking for political iodine tablets…. instead they are gathering around like she is a hit-and run victim…;

  32. Lib Dem gain
    Majority 8,000
    (with suspendors momentum)
    Race for 2nd/3rd/4th

  33. I’m afraid this problem won’t be solved until the whole expenses system is wound up.

    This was obvious when the original scandal broke, but unfortunately what we got was half-hearted reform – and thus continued scope for MPs to exploit the rules for their own gain, embarrass their party leaders and drag their reputation among the public further into the gutter.

  34. What local factors would allow the Lib Dems to buck the national trend and win by 8000 votes here Gloy?

  35. Raise MP salaries to £100,000, strip all expenses except basic travel expenses for MPs in SW, NW, NE, Yorks, Wales and Scotland.

    No need to thank me for that solution, parliament.

  36. Mrnameless has it right… Miller propping herself in Wimbledon and getting subsidised for it is ridiculous. It takes longer on the bus from Streatham to Westminster than it does on the train from Basingstoke to Waterloo..

  37. HH – I agree. The Telegraph is doing great work again. Although if he got rid of her now over expenses, Grayling would have to go too. As with Laws, they tend to get promoted again a year or two later.

  38. A couple of Tories have now called on Maria Miller to repay the £50k or resign. Incidentally, did any other posters get canvassed today? Apparently it was a so-called Super Saturday today. My colleague texted me to say he got canvassed by a Tory and whilst he votes Tory said he wouldn’t vote for anyone who knocked on the afternoon of the Grand National! It reminds me of a former colleague was doorstepped on an Easter weekend. Do politicians no longer avoid holidays? I know they avoid Sundays in Crosby.

  39. There does seem to be a practice of canvassing at the times when there’s the least chance of anyone being in – late Saturday mornings in particular are dead, but parties insist on doing them.

    In the one actual election campaign I’ve been involved with the Labour team to their credit canvassed daily for two weeks straight…and were rewarded with a turnout of 9%.

  40. Mr Nameless – wow, that is low. I thought Liverpool held the record low of 9% in a council election and 6% in a by-election.

  41. Here we are – it was a crushing defeat for the Tories, but on a turnout that low it’s hard to draw anything from it: http://www.englishelections.org.uk/england/lby/eastmidlands/loughboroughashby.php

    Part of the low turnout was that it took place in August and Loughborough University is part of that ward.

  42. ‘There does seem to be a practice of canvassing at the times when there’s the least chance of anyone being in – late Saturday mornings in particular are dead, but parties insist on doing them.’

    The trouble is canvassers are volunteers at the end of the day, and obviously they’re going to be more available at convenient times of the weekend, so you have to work around that.

    I would rather enjoy a by-election in Basingstoke. The Labour team there are very pro-active, especially considering their third place in 2010. And since I’m based in Reading, be the first chance for me to really get stuck into a by-election in this area for awhile.

  43. Rather, I should say surprising considering their third place.

  44. RE: Maria Miller.

    It is clear that her attitude the investigation stunk and the expenses fraud was just that. Many people will be comparing Miller and how she is being treated to this government’s (of which she is of course a part) attack on the welfare system and supposed ‘scroungers’.

    The average fraudulent claim for benefits is £55. Miller defrauded the taxpayer of close to 1000 times that amount. When she was Minister for the Disabled, she was the one who drove through ‘reforms’ to disability living allowance and the tougher assessments regime that has seen the terminally ill declared fit for work and people driven to suicide by the withdrawal of benefits needed to survive.

    Along with IDS and Chris Grayling, Miller and her advisors often ‘leaked’ stories to the press about benefits cheats in order to justify changes that have seen those in most need suffer the most for austerity.

    When you couple her unscrupulous behaviour regarding her expenses with how she behaved in the DWP, it is clear she shown the most incredible hypocrisy, for which she must be sacked, hopefully taking that other over-promoted hypocrite Grayling with her too.

  45. I haven’t been canvassed but my mother was approached by a Tory on a stall in central Richmond. The lady asked her if she knew there was an election on, and she said yes she was. Asked if she was likely to vote Conservative, my mother said she’d rather eat glass. The Conservative lady said she was disappointed.

  46. I never respond with aggression or sarcasm to canvassers for parties I oppose – I just try to tie up as much of their time as possible to save others the trouble.

  47. Van Fleet – I’m not sure that’s true. I agree that most are volunteers (except the paid Agents and remunerated Cllrs), but most activists seem to be students or OAPs who could surely do it anytime. I suppose OAPs wouldn’t at night? Barnaby – that’s interesting, I’ve now heard from a few people who saw activity. It seems a bizarre day for the Tories to hold their Spring Forum. Cameron’s speech got 10secs compared with 90 for the Grand National on the News. Incidentally, wasn’t the Boat Race always exactly a week before the National. I see it’s now 6pm on a Sunday.

  48. “Asked if she was likely to vote Conservative, my mother said she’d rather eat glass.”

    Barnaby: has your mother always been a non-Conservative voter or does this represent a change?

  49. LO – are you a member of a party?

    Students and OAPs do make up a large proportion of our canvassing force here in Reading, although not as much as I think you believe, but even most of them would rather be out a weekend than a weekday evening. Like I said, they’re volunteers – if they’d prefer to be out the weekend, they’ll be out the weekend. This isn’t the army, we can’t force them to be out when we want them.

    In my experience, we do have a committed core of people who come out on weekdays, but by far the biggest canvass sessions are the ones on weekends, because that’s when you get the bigger turnout. As a result, we have to work around that. Even cllrs can’t be out on weekday evenings as much as they’d like – unless they’re a pensioner, they still need a paying job. Remuneration doesn’t cut it.

    And paid agents? I think our agent would love the thought of getting paid for his hard work, but sadly it ain’t going to happen.

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