Bath

2015 Result:
Conservative: 17833 (37.8%)
Labour: 6216 (13.2%)
Lib Dem: 14000 (29.7%)
Green: 5634 (11.9%)
UKIP: 2922 (6.2%)
Independent: 499 (1.1%)
Others: 63 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 3833 (8.1%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Avon. Part of the Bath and North East Somerset council area.

Main population centres: Bath.

Profile: A compact seat drawn tightly around the city of Bath itself and entirely surrounded by the North East Somerset constituency. Bath is an elegant and attractive Georgian spa town, tourism is important to the economy, but there are also strong software and service industries and two univerisities - the University of Bath and Bath Spa University.

Politics: Bath was historically a Conservative seat but was famously lost to the Liberal Democrats in 1992 when Chris Patten, the then Chairman of the party, won the general election but lost his own seat. It was regained by the Conservatives in 2015.


Current MP
BEN HOWLETT (Conservative) Educated at Cambridge University. Former recruitment consultant. First elected as MP for Bath in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 14768 (31%)
Lab: 3251 (7%)
LDem: 26651 (57%)
GRN: 1120 (2%)
Oth: 1296 (3%)
MAJ: 11883 (25%)
2005*
Con: 15463 (34%)
Lab: 6773 (15%)
LDem: 20101 (44%)
GRN: 2494 (5%)
Oth: 1005 (2%)
MAJ: 4638 (10%)
2001
Con: 13478 (29%)
Lab: 7269 (16%)
LDem: 23372 (50%)
GRN: 1469 (3%)
Oth: 708 (2%)
MAJ: 9894 (21%)
1997
Con: 16850 (31%)
Lab: 8828 (16%)
LDem: 26169 (48%)
Oth: 950 (2%)
MAJ: 9319 (17%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
BEN HOWLETT (Conservative) Educated at Cambridge University. Recruitment consultant.
OLLIE MIDDLETON (Labour) Born 1995, North Wales. Educated at Ralph Allen School and Westminster University. Student.
STEVE BRADLEY (Liberal Democrat) Born Northern Ireland. Educated at Bath University. Sustainability consultant.
JULIAN DEVERELL (UKIP) Born 1978. Runs a traditional toys and games company.
DOMINIC TRISTRAM (Green) Software architect.
JENNY KNIGHT (English Democrat) Born North Yorkshire. Educated at Bournemouth University. Communications manager. Contested Thornbury and Yate 2010 for UKIP, London region 2014 European elections.
LORAINE MORGAN-BRINKHURST (Independent) Born Bath. Promotions, events and marketing consultant. Bath and North East Somerset councillor since 1996, elected as a Liberal Democrat. Awarded the MBE in 2010.
Links
Comments - 463 Responses on “Bath”
  1. This MP is under investigation by police after alleging sexually assaulting a young gay couple in his constituency.

    [According to the Guido site & Sun, he’s ‘a well known soak’]

  2. A by-election here really would be interesting. Surely it would be a shoo-in for the Lib Dems?

  3. Very pro Remain Bath, Tory majority of 8%, substantial Green and Lab vote to squeeze and likelihood with the way the Tories are going that they’d pick somebody who is a worse fit for the seat (potentially a Brexiter and a less socially liberal MP than Howlett) all points to a very interesting contest IF there is a by-election here.

  4. An even bigger waste of police time than the St Helens case. Police now routinely don’t visit burglary victims etc because they “don’t have resources to do so”. Yet spurious allegations about piching someone’s bum merit a lengthy and expensive investigation. If there’s a by election here I’ll eat my hat.

  5. If there was a by-election for whatever reason, I’ve little doubt that the Lib Dems would win it but then this is pretty close to optimum territory for them so I am not sure what that would prove.

  6. Yet another arse pincher in our midsts! At least the complainants here aren’t claiming it happened in 1974…makes a pleasant change.

  7. There won’t be a By-election, although from what I’ve read I’d imagine him accepting a caution would be the minimum acceptable.

    He apparently put his hands down the front of the trousers of a male in the view of 2 others and then groped the other through clothing. The latter certainly doesn’t warrant police action, but the former does after a complaint has been received from 2 members of the public.

    If there’s CCTV, I could be wrong about him resigning, but I imagine AA or rehab, a fine and apology will suffice. Not sure if it’s a conduct issue – that’s probably only if he did it within Westminster.

    But who knows. He’s apparently loathed by some in the Party. Not sure why – although he was chairman of Conservative Future so it may go back to that time.

    Again, I’m amazed he’s only 30. Parliament – or perhaps the subsidised food and drink – really does age these new Members.

  8. Tories gain Abbey on Bath & North East Somerset from the Greens to make it a very good night for them across England – albeit the usual caveat of local elections and the rather diminished turnout in them

  9. Lib Dems will be very upset about that one…

  10. Runnymede,
    A bit disappointed perhaps, but not very upset to move from 3rd to second given many of their local activists will have been busy in Witney and Richmond Park.

    Unlike most of the seats the Lib Deems lost to the Tories in 2015, the Tories are only on 38% so the key thing for the Lib Dems would be to squeeze down the Labour and Green votes again down towards 2010 levels. In that respect the worst thing for the Lib Dems would have been a Green win, and they did enough to push them back into 3rd

  11. excuses, excuses.

  12. Ben Howlett is being questioned for assault. A by-election here would probably give the Lib Dems a tenth MP.

  13. I see we are back to Lib Dems slavering over people’s misfortunes and hoping for byelections. Any MPs seriously ill, do you know?

  14. Well Alison Thomson (Edinburgh West) still has that dodgy property portfolio hanging over her…

  15. Can’t see any update on the Ben Howlett “assault” case online since early November. Seems like very thin gruel indeed which will almost certainly not result in a by-election.

  16. I’d posted since I’d noticed a few bloggers/Twitterers going on about it. Mark Pack (LD blogger) seems to think it’s becoming more likely. Would certainly be an interesting by-election fight.

    And apologies, Runnymede; I’d forgotten that wishing people ill was your bailiwick.

  17. Eric Joyce was suspended for assault but there was never a by election

  18. Eric Joyce was also just a massively bizarre, awful man. But the point is well made.

  19. With Tory vote at 38% and with much bigger Green and Labour votes to squeeze, Bath looks like a much easier Lib gain than Cheltenham on paper.

  20. I’m pretty sure it would be – indeed had Foster restood then this may well still have been a Lib Dem seat (more likely he would have lost by a couple of per cent, but the point still stands).

  21. Yes, Bath will be easier for the Lib Dems than Cheltenham. Not only is there a bigger anti-Conservative vote to work with, it is also more Europhile. According to Hanretty’s projection over 68% of its electors voted Leave.

  22. Conservative Estimate- forgive me but you seem to be assuming there will still be a North East Derbyshire for the Conservatives to gain! The boundary changes are likely to be rather disruptive. I don’t disagree that there will be small town Labour seats that the Conservatives are likely to win in 2020 but you are being *very* sanguine about Bath on its current boundaries given (a) the size of the non-Conservative vote; (b) the size of the Conservative majority; and (c) the size of the Remain vote in the referendum. The Conservatives would have a better chance on the expanded Bath that will come into existence after 2018 but not the improvement in their position wouldn’t be all that great.

  23. *but the improvement

  24. @Tory

    “According to Hanretty’s projection over 68% of its electors voted Leave.”

    I assume you meant “voted Remain”

  25. I’m going to throw out a scenario just for the lols, note I’m not saying for a second this will happen but its certainly within the realm of possibility, I’m mainly just throwing it out to perhaps encourage Con Estimate to remove the blue tinted specs.

    Lets say the fallout from Brexit is as great as he predicts but doesn’t quite come in the form he predicts. Say UKIP doesn’t totally implode and then all go rushing to the Tories and lets say Labs WWC Brexit vote isn’t the low hanging fruit he thought it was and the Tories make at best anaemic inroads there in the future. However the Tories liberal wing particularly those that used to voted Lib Dem in 2005/2010 are as furious over Brexit as early indicators suggest they are and they peel away en masse back to the Lib Dems. We then see a return to the situation in 97 where the Libs make a large amount of gains primarily on the backs of Liberal Tory voters and we see seats like Bath, Cheltenham, Twickenham dropping like flies but even Lib wins in the less friendly seats like Taunton Deane, Oxford West and Solihull.

    Basically rather than revealing Labs coalition as incredibly frail Brexit reveals the Tories coalition as incredibly frail? I reiterate not saying it will happen but as of yet there is more evidence of my scenario than their is of Maxims and complacency never got anyone anywhere…

  26. BT- haha yes, I meant vote Remain, my apologies!

  27. Equally people might have seen that the SNP are not out to destroy parliament and them being there means nothing thus semi neutering it as a threat, notice how Sturgeons approval ratings are rising nationally in recent polls?

  28. You also thought Goldsmith was hugely locally popular and would win with an increased vote share in Richmond, we all make mistakes.

  29. Shows the difference a few weeks can make, the mood now is Corbyn is heading for a big defeat, who the hell knows what it will be in FOUR YEARS!!! See what I’m saying its too bloody early. You were floored by a few weeks so four years might as well be the next century…

  30. Well here’s my 2p worth…..I think May will win the next election with a John Major-esque victory of a 20 or 30 seat majority…most likely she will hold out till 2020 but if she’s pushed into an early election I don’t think her margin of victory will be much different from that.

    After the next election the political wind will change radically and the Tories will be defeated in a landslide sometime in 2022-25. They will be out of power for 10 or 15 years. We will look back at Maxim Parr-Reid’s complacent one-eyed ramping of 2016 and laugh at it just as we would look at similar pronouncements by Thatcherites in the 80s or by New Labour in the late 90s.

    Maxim is actually at a very awkward age for a politically ambitious Tory. The prime age for a budding MP is 30 and he’ll be around 30 just as the Tories are getting kicked out for a 10-15 year period. If he was really machavellian he would be joining the Labour moderates right now so as to part of New New Labour’s 2025 victory 🙂

  31. Rivers, Richmond was a by-election. They’ve been producing quirky, unpredictable results for decades. It simply isn’t credible to point to the outcome of one of them and conclude that the same level of uncertainty applies to the outcome of a general election.

    Basically for Corbyn to get even close to winning a GE much of what we know about voting behaviour in the U.K. from polling and election results going back decades has to be proved wrong. He’s not just bad, he’s bad in ways that are fatal for any Labour leader. It’s as if the Tories had elected the former CEO of a payday loan company who’d written papers proposing the privatisation of the NHS and the abolition of child benefit.

    Hemmelig, I don’t say the kind of Labour revival you refer to can’t happen, but surely it’s predicated on them finding some solution for their immigration conundrum, or on the issue slipping from public consciousness. I don’t see either happening any time soon.

    Furthermore surely the triumphalist Thatcherites of the 80s were in a sense right. Although there hasn’t been perpetual Tory rule since then, there has been perpetual rule by parties that pledge not to fundementally challenge her legacy.

  32. “Furthermore surely the triumphalist Thatcherites of the 80s were in a sense right. Although there hasn’t been perpetual Tory rule since then, there has been perpetual rule by parties that pledge not to fundementally challenge her legacy.”

    I don’t disagree with that. But as far as I can see it Conservative Estimate is predicting the thousand year rule of the Conservative party, not the Conservative party’s ideology. And whilst the Tories very much had a consistent ideology in the 1980s it’s the opposite today….New Labour shows that governments based on no real core beliefs don’t leave much of a popular legacy 10 or 20 years later.

    “I don’t say the kind of Labour revival you refer to can’t happen, but surely it’s predicated on them finding some solution for their immigration conundrum, or on the issue slipping from public consciousness. I don’t see either happening any time soon.”

    The Conservatives have the same conundrum in the longer term and will be attacked mercilessly when Brexit fails to significantly reduce immigration.

  33. ‘Ah well that was the mood in mid-November’

    If that’s the best you can come up with i don’t see you going that far in politics

  34. Spa towns like Bath and Cheltenham are the most obvious Lib Dem gains are the most obvious Lib Dem regains.

    In Bath, the increase in the Labour vote at the expense of the Lib Dems in 2015 (some 6%) is almost the same as the Conservative majority. Due the Mays hard line pro-Brexit position, many liberal Conservatives who voted Tory in 2015 and Lib Dem previously will also return to their pre-2015 allegiance.

  35. With Corbyn at the helm of Labour, the Labour vote is certain to fall back to its pre-2015 level….if not below.

    While there will have been a lot of anger amongst left wing Liberal voters in 2015 towards the Lib Dems role in government these same people will be more likely to see the main priority as defeating the Conservative MP. Also…in 2015 the Conservatives were much more appealing to liberal Conservatives but that has now changed.

  36. It’s quite eerie that I’m agreeing so much with Dalek and Tory these days. But Theresa May has to listen more to people like them and less to the triumphalist hubris otherwise long term she will be sunk. Things like this for example

    http://commentcentral.co.uk/peters-political-predictions-for-2017/

    which looks like Conservative Estimate wrote it

  37. “Rivers, Richmond was a by-election. They’ve been producing quirky, unpredictable results for decades”

    I agree but Richmond, Witney and various local by -elections as quirky as they can be are more evidence to go on re the Tories peeling away their liberal vote than the mass abandonment of Labs WWC vote to the Tories of which there is at present no evidence for other than anecdotes. All I’m saying is lets put things in perspective, there is “some” evidence for the former and NO evidence for the latter yet according to many the latter is a cast iron given and the former a left wing fanciful pipe dream…

    “Basically for Corbyn to get even close to winning a GE much of what we know about voting behaviour in the U.K. from polling and election results going back decades has to be proved wrong”

    That’s already happened though, ignoring the bold predictions made by the pundits (which turned out to be totally wrong) multiple “rules” of British elections have been broken of late. Supposedly it was near impossible for an incumbent government to increase its vote share after serving a full term but Cameron managed it, supposedly the popularity of incumbent Lib Dems would give them a floor of at least 20 MP’s but they ended up with only 8, supposedly there is always a last minute drift back to the status quo in elections but in the EU ref no such drift back occurred, the 2015 election also broke the record for largest swings in a seat in a GE multiple times over yet supposedly in FPTP elections its impossible for such volatile results to produce such a low swing yet the 0.4% Lab managed against the Tories in 2015 was a post war record and I believe might have even been the lowest swing since the start of the 20th century etc etc etc

    Basically the “rules” have been broken so many times in recent years its plain daft to presume they still apply, you tell me Corbyn can’t become PM and I’d just point out how many said the same about Trump becoming president. But even if you insist that all this stuff just HAS to apply to Corbyn fine but as I keep emphasising we don’t even know if Corbyn will remain leader come 2020, we live in very volatile times.

  38. “In all honesty I campaignedd in Richmond Park on Novermber 19 and that was the mood on the ground and the response we were getting was supportive of ZG.”

    I’m not saying this to be sarcastic, but a lot of Tory activists said that kind of thing in 1997. As a smart guy like you will know, the mood on the ground depends who you’re talking with. And it also depends on whether people are telling you the truth. I know the guy who stood for the Tories in Streatham in 97 who told me that Lord Harris of Peckham went campaigning with him and the good lord was so confident of the Tories winning based on “the mood on the ground” that he placed a large bet to that effect….whoops, result was Lab maj 17000.

  39. “I want to be a political correspondent and then maybe I’ll go into politics later but truthfully I’m not foaming at the bit with ambition.”

    ROFL. Political correspondents have to at least pretend to be impartial. At least the right leaning ones do, to get past the liberal bosses who hire them. Based on your (google searchable for ever) postings here I wouldn’t fancy your chances of getting into the MSM….you’d be a good political correspondent for Breitbart or Guido Fawkes though.

  40. ‘At least the right leaning ones do, to get past the liberal bosses who hire them. Based on your (google searchable for ever) postings here I wouldn’t fancy your chances of getting into the MSM….’

    Even left-leaning ones

    Remember the big ho har when Andrew Marr was made Chief political editor of BBC News, (The Times actively campaogned against it) because he was member of the Labour Party – something which certainly wasn’t apparent when he held the job

  41. That sounds a bit Elliot Johnson if I may say so. Don’t go down that path for heaven’s sake. The world’s your oyster and there’s no reason why you can’t go anywhere you want to. If politics doesn’t work out for you then so what, it’s a cesspit anyway and 99.9% of the population have far happier lives doing something more productive and enjoyable.

  42. Good luck to you Maxim

    When I was young I was convinced I was going to be an MP but I went to a school where you where taught to think you could attain whatever you wanted in life and didn’t appreciate the hard slog required

    And besides when I grew up in the late 1980s and early 90s politicians weren’t anywhere near as unpopular as they are now and the general population weren’t as blissfully ignorant as today’s rabble – as the Brexit vote proved

    I can’t honestly say hand on heart that I would want to do a job where you spent most of the time trying to help your largely unappreciative fellow countrymen and if you’re not an idealist you have no business wanting to be in politics

    I prefer it as an outside looking in

  43. I second pretty much everything Tim says. Much of it applies to me as well except I went to a crap comprehensive school where almost everyone left at 16 to work in the local textile factories, a few years before they all closed down and were replaced by Chinese and Bangladesh imports. Somehow I was one of the few to escape and was and still am the only one in my family to have gone to university.

    IMO Tony Blair is chiefly responsible for the collapse in the standing of MPs since Tim and I were at school, a process which Cameron did nothing to reverse.

    I also agree wholeheartedly with Tim’s last two paragraphs. I discovered in my early 20s that I was a pragmatist not an idealist, that has made me successful in business but I’d be a crap politician. Best to focus on what you’re good at, as hard as that can be if your heart was set on something else.

    Best of luck

  44. I echo pretty much everything Tim and HH said. Being an MP is a fairly horrible job in my view.

    Maxim- I think, like many intelligent people, you cause yourself trouble by over thinking everything. As for your autism…40% of autistic people never learn how to speak. Many, many others live lives that must be very scary for them…no hope of ever living alone/ independently, and totally bewildered by what life throws st them. If it doesn’t sound too condescending, perhaps think about the fact that the vast majority of autistic people simply don’t have the chances in life that you have. As for anxiety…it’s a bitch, no question, and it’s something that many, many people struggle with too.

  45. Please don’t take this the wrong way, Maxim – but maybe a break from this site over Christmas might do you some good? Spend the time with your family, enjoying the present rather than worrying about the future.

  46. HH
    “At least the right leaning ones do, to get past the liberal bosses who hire them”
    You are aware the current head of political programming at the BBC is a former Tory party member aren’t you?

  47. Maxim
    “In all seriousness I do worry my life has been ruined before it’s even began…”
    “What’s ruining my future prospects is my autism and social anxiety”

    Welcome to the world of the 99%, the Tories will do nothing to help you so I don’t see why you bother supporting them.

    In all seriousness my sympathies, I can probably relate to you more than the rest here being that I’m only a couple of years older than you and for the record also in the past suffered from anxiety, I’m thankfully not autistic but instead I have to deal with OCD which I can assure is just as much fun…

    Other than general sentiments though I don’t have much else to offer, I’ve barely left uni and have just been coasting since debating whether to go back and do my masters (which for the record I probably won’t) its honestly my idealism that keeps me going, I don’t have any delusions of grandeur, if my place in this world is to help somebody else find theirs and more importantly try to change things (if only a bit) for the better then so be it, hence my voluntary work and activism.

    If there is one bit of advice I’d give is do what you want and do it with pride, if your aspiration is to be an MP go for it, I just wish you weren’t involved with a party that seems determined to kick people down (apologies for the partisan comments but as is probably apparent by now I have very personal reasons why I hate the Tories and always will)

    On that note have you ever tried voluntary work? Helped me a lot with my anxiety and I think it will be very eye opening for you and it certainly doesn’t hurt your CV.

  48. Bath looks like a Lib Dem gain, with a strong Remain voter and activist base left over from the referendum. I would imagine quite a bit of Labour and Green switching. Although Bath does seem to get wealthier and less bohemian with every passing year, so some of the underlying demographics may be changing this seat Blue in the longer term.

  49. Lib Dem candidate Jay Risbridger has quit. http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/shock-withdrawal-of-bath-liberal-democrat-election-candidate-jay-risbridger/story-30291858-detail/story.html

    Does this substantially lower their chances? I’m beginning to think the Tories might hold this.

  50. It’s a pain, but remember a similar thing happened in 1992.

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