Berwick-upon-Tweed

2015 Result:
Conservative: 16603 (41.1%)
Labour: 6042 (14.9%)
Lib Dem: 11689 (28.9%)
Green: 1488 (3.7%)
UKIP: 4513 (11.2%)
Others: 88 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 4914 (12.2%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: North East, Northumberland. Part of the Northumberland council area.

Main population centres: Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alwick, Seahouses, Wooler, Rothbury.

Profile: The most northerly constituency in England, covering the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed and much of rural Northumberland. Sparsely populated, it is one of the smallest constituencies in England in terms of population, though it covers a large geographical area. Berwick is a market town and seaport, historically contested between England and Scotland. Alwick is a rural market town better known for its castle, the seat of the Dukes of Northumberland and the second largest inhabited castle in the country (and the exterior of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films), the town is within commutable distance from Newcastle and is becoming more of a dormitory town. The constituency also includes the seaside town of Seahouses, the tidal island of Lindisfarne and the small towns of Wooler and Rothbury, popular with walkers in the Northumerland National Park. The vast majority of the seat however is sparsely populated countryside.

Politics: Dominated by agriculture this seat should be a safe Tory seat, but has been held by the Liberals and Liberal Democrats for most of the last fifty years. There was a history of Liberals being elected in the seat prior to the war and following the resignation of Lord Lambton in 1973 after tabloid revelations that he used call girls and cannabis the seat was won by Alan Beith in a by-election. Beith held the seat for over forty years, transforming it from an ultra-marginal in the 1970s to a Lib Dem stronghold. He was unable to hand the seat onto a Liberal Democrat successor though and it was regained by the Conservatives in 2015.


Current MP
ANNE-MARIE TREVELYAN (Conservative) Educated at Oxford Polytechnic. Former chartered accountant. Contested Berwick upon Tweed 2010. First elected as MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 14116 (37%)
Lab: 5061 (13%)
LDem: 16806 (44%)
UKIP: 1243 (3%)
Oth: 1213 (3%)
MAJ: 2690 (7%)
2005*
Con: 10420 (29%)
Lab: 6618 (18%)
LDem: 19052 (53%)
MAJ: 8632 (24%)
2001
Con: 10193 (28%)
Lab: 6435 (18%)
LDem: 18651 (51%)
UKIP: 1029 (3%)
MAJ: 8458 (23%)
1997
Con: 10056 (24%)
Lab: 10965 (26%)
LDem: 19007 (45%)
Oth: 352 (1%)
MAJ: 8042 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ANNE-MARIE TREVELYAN (Conservative) Educated at Oxford Polytechnic. Chartered accountant. Contested Berwick upon Tweed 2010.
SCOTT DICKINSON (Labour) Born 1984. Youth and community project director. Northumberland councillor.
JULIE PORKSEN (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Ponteland High School and Oxford University. Agricultural economist.
NIGEL COGHILL-MARSHALL (UKIP) Retired compliance officer. Contested City of Durham 2010.
RACHAEL ROBERTS (Green) Educated at Leicester University. University Careers Guidance Practitioner and Manager.
NEIL HUMPHREY (English Democrat)
Links
Comments - 675 Responses on “Berwick-upon-Tweed”
  1. The seat has taken parts of the old Morpeth seat close to that town itself, though not the majority coalfield section of it. In terms of size & shape however it has changed not much at all.

  2. Thanks, Barnaby.

  3. Lords are not allowed to sit in the House of Commons. Mr Anthony Lambton resigned in 1973.
    Alwick must be Alnwick.
    Alnwick castle was, I believe, used in only the first Harry Potter film.

  4. Ross – he still called himself Lord Lambton, which had been his courtesy title until his father died in 1970. He ceased to have any right to use it when he became Earl of Durham in 1970 and disclaimed the title, when he should have just been Mr Lambton, but netherless continued to do so, and managed to persaude the Speaker that he should still be called Lord Lambton in the Commons:

    http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1972/feb/07/hon-member-for-berwick-upon-tweed

  5. Ross Boston, following reform of the House of Lords peers without seats in the House of Lords are allowed to sit in the Commons. John Thurso, the MP for Caithness etc. does so.

  6. LDs select Julie Porksen:

    http://www.julieporksen.com/about/

  7. List of post-war results for the Liberals in Berwick-upon-Tweed before the 1973 by-election-
    1. Sir William Beveridge (1945, 10, 353 (36.39%)
    2. Arthur Strettell Comyns Carr (1950, 10, 260 (30.43%, -5.96%)
    3. John Beeching Frankenburg (1951, 4, 759 (14.22%, -16.21%)
    The Liberals did not stand a candidate in 1955 or 1959.
    4. Nicholas B. Madison (1964, 7, 681, 24.19%, N/A)
    5. Aubrey Herbert (1966, 5, 796, 19,33%, -4.86%)
    6. Alan Beith (1970, 6, 741, 21.95%, +2.62%)

  8. Actually the LD candidate’s name is Julie Pörksen, not Julie Porksen.

  9. The umlaut is the saving grace…

  10. The only certainty here is that the next MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed will be female I would thought.

  11. I see the new LibDem prospective candidate is a graduate of Wye College, near Ashford, Kent, the shutting of which was one of the more disgraceful things over which the Labour Government presided between 1997 and 2010. I’m not sure what effect this will have on voting in Northumbeland though!

  12. Steady on Frederic or people might think you’re Sean Thomas in disguise.

  13. This may sound bizarre but if the SNP ever stood here, does anyone know how well they would do?

  14. Almost certainly very poorly.

    While there would certainly would be plenty of Scots living in this constituency these would be the people who would suffer most in the event of Scottish independence.

  15. about as well as Plaid Cymru do in monmouth i would i would guess

  16. So quite low, but they would manage at least 1,000 votes I would have thought.

  17. Don’t forget that some of the constituency is quite a long way from Scotland anyway. Alnwick, Alnmouth, Amble & the south of the seat are very English. Probably only Berwick itself & Tweedmouth are less than 100% English.

  18. “So quite low, but they would manage at least 1,000 votes I would have thought.”

    I suspect they’d struggle to get 100 votes.

    Hereford or Chester would be a better comparisons to Berwick than Monmouth.

  19. OK so perhaps I shouldn’t have asked it. I guess the potential for the SNP here wouldn’t be all that great.

  20. ask them to field a candidate and then we’ll find out

  21. Yes, Chester and Liverpool have a few Welsh nationalists, but could just be far Left students. I think the SNP had a Cllr in the south of England.

  22. Of course there are a few Welsh nationalists, but they’re expats, in my constituency Cardiff North, culturally its far more similar to an affluent Bristol suburb than it is to say Ynys Mons but no one would dispute its a part of Wales.

  23. DW – sorry I posted before completing. I meant actual votes for Plaid, ie students living in Liverpool are on the register there as well as Wales, but can have postal votes sent to Wales during the hols. It doesn’t usually cause any problems, although a colleague in Lpool did spot a couple of spoilt ballots with Plaid written in!

  24. I wonder if expat students do suddenly find themselves assering their home identity a bit stronger and hence on what is probably their first voting experience go a bit overboard before going home for the summer? Wouldn’t be surprised if its not a pattern replicated elsewhere, well outside the Marches.

    The SNP councillor in the South was a Brighton based Scot, eho4 thought New Labour were too right wing so defected to the SNP, always surprised that it wasn’t the, then popular and ascendant, SSP. Caused great amusement apparently.

  25. Why is it that so many guide books to the UK say something like “strike up conversation with a person from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and they may grow misty eyed over memories of their home town”? Why wouldn’t an English person from, say, Swadlincote or Shirebrook also do so?

  26. DW – it wasn’t met with universal amusement. Many felt that he was taking the piss out of those who had voted for him.

  27. Lancs Observer might be aware that the constituency of Liverpool Scotlans returned an Irish nationalis MP (the same one every time) from 1880 until 1929. it then returned a Labour MP with strong Irish connections from 1929 until he died aged ninety in 1964.

    However, I would have thought the chances of this constituency voting SNP are akin to those of South Antrim voting Sinn Fein.

  28. An incredible statistic- Beith fought this seat 12 times, and won on 11 of those 12 occasions- 91.6%.

  29. Certainly much more likely that Berwick on Tweed (the town not the constituency) would vote to re-join an independent Scotland, than that Orkney and/or Shetland would vote to stay with the UK if the overall Scotland vote is “Yes” in 2014.

    That applies even if Orkney and/or Shetland themselves vote “no”

  30. I’d have thought Orkney and Shetland would have looked to Norway or their own negotiation for oil rights and channel island style autonomy. Berwicks identity seemed firmly Northumbrian when I have been in that town.

  31. DW

    My comment was based on 2 pieces of evidence

    From the Aberdeen Press & Journal:

    “The poll, published in the newspaper in April 2013 finds that 82%, the overwhelming majority, of the islanders wish to remain Scottish.

    Asked “Should Shetland/Orkney be independent countries, separate from Scotland?” only 8% of islanders said that they were in agreement, with a further 10% saying they did not know.”

    As reported by the BBC on, 17 February 2008:

    TV poll backs Berwick border move

    “Berwick-upon-Tweed
    Berwick has changed hands between the two nations at least 13 times

    Residents in the Northumberland town of Berwick-upon-Tweed have “voted” in favour of becoming part of Scotland.
    According to a poll by a TV company, 60% of those who responded wanted the town to be administered by Scotland.

    Better financed public services, including free personal health care for the elderly, were the main reasons.

    The referendum, for Monday’s ITV1 Tonight programme, saw 1,182 voters in favour of becoming part of Scotland and 775 in favour of staying in England.”

    in spite of the above I don’t expect Berwick to leave England , or Orkney/Shetland to leave Scotland.

    The focus on Orkney & Shetland possibly leaving Scotland is long-running unsupported unionist mischief making related to the 2014 referendum

  32. Comment about Orkney is simply if it were to go anywhere other than Scotland, unlikely indeed it would be norway not distant London.

    The unscientific poll in Berwick gets bandied about a lot, but the main theme ws better funded services not identity.

    We get the same nonsense here about Monmouth, which is and will remain welsh.

  33. I should probably say that a grand total of nine Conservative candidates have stood here since Anthony Lambton resigned- will that same ninth candidate be the first Conservative MP since 1973 here in 2015?

  34. I remember Beith winning narrowly in byelection in 73 and narrowly in both 74 General Elections and he later built up a decent majority which fell away in 2010.

    As Beith is retiring, this will be very close between LD and Con and depends on how many votes Con lose to UKIP.

  35. This will be on a knife edge in May 2015.

    I was at Cragside in May.

  36. Welcome back too to Peter Election Follower. Clearly the election is starting to get ever-nearer!

  37. A tough one to call here.

    I would have thought the edge is with the Tories at the moment though- they’ve selected the same candidate as 2010, much earlier than the Lib Dems, but as we know it is a seat that has continuously let them down over 11 elections covering a timespan of some 40 years. But without Beith’s established personal vote, things don’t look as rosy for them here now but it’s impossible for me to say that the Tories will definitely take this.

  38. See the above post.

  39. I think there was at least one election where cameras were present at the count in Berwick but the declaration itself was missed, (probably because a bunch of second-rate politicians were chattering away in the studio).

  40. Would you be referring to 2001, 2005 and 2010 Andy or 1979 and 1983?

  41. I can’t remember. Is that a definitive list?

  42. Well they’re the years for which I have been unable to find any declarations for this seat, though I suppose 1997 could be added in that the BBC narrowly missed the result live during the second day coverage, but showed Beith briefly just as he was about to make his speech, but they didn’t stay with it.

  43. There was no BBC live truck in Berwick in 2005 or 2010 if it saves you looking. There may have been a non live camera for regional news. In 2005, BBC Newcastle sent their live truck to Hexham on Day 2 and in 2010 it was Copeland.

  44. OK thanks Sam that clears a few things up.

    Was Hexham shown nationally in 2005 during the BBC’s second day coverage?

  45. Haven’t checked since but I think it was.

  46. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hexham declaration. The closest was a brief shot of Geoffrey Ripon on one of the 1983 programmes.

  47. Yes Andy that’s right- a quick shot of him making his speech was indeed briefly shown during their second day coverage. Also IIRC Ian Gilmour’s declaration was also shown by the BBC in 1983 I think but I might be wrong.

  48. Would have to check the tape and don’t have one at home. Andy’s YouTube 2005 coverage stops at Breakfast and doesn’t have the next day stuff….

  49. I suppose that’s the problem.

    No one has uploaded the next day coverage from the BBC for 2005. I’ll be grateful the day it is put up there in full.

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