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
Con: 14116 (37%)
Lab: 5061 (13%)
LDem: 16806 (44%)
UKIP: 1243 (3%)
Oth: 1213 (3%)
MAJ: 2690 (7%)
Con: 10420 (29%)
Lab: 6618 (18%)
LDem: 19052 (53%)
MAJ: 8632 (24%)
Con: 10193 (28%)
Lab: 6435 (18%)
LDem: 18651 (51%)
UKIP: 1029 (3%)
MAJ: 8458 (23%)
Con: 10056 (24%)
Lab: 10965 (26%)
LDem: 19007 (45%)
Oth: 352 (1%)
MAJ: 8042 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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)
Comments - 675 Responses on “Berwick-upon-Tweed”
  1. Many thanks Barnaby.

    Do you agree in terms of marginal LD seats with Con second, that it is possible LDs may hold some due to losing less votes to UKIP than Con lose to UKIP please?

  2. I’ve come up with a list of likely results for this constituency from February 1974 onwards if the by-election hadn’t have happened.

  3. Sounds interesting.

  4. Right, here’s what I think would have happened in Berwick-upon-Tweed without the 1973 by-election-

    1. February 1974-
    Conservative- 43.56% (-7.1%)
    Liberal- 35.75% (+13.8%)
    Labour- 20.69% (-6.7%)

    Majority- 7.81%

    Swing- +10.45% From Con to Lib.

    2. October 1974-
    Conservative- 42.86% (-0.7%)
    Liberal- 35.25% (-0.5%)
    Labour- 21.89% (+1.2%)

    Majority- 7.61%

    Swing- +0.1% From Con to Lib.

    3. 1979-
    Conservative- 49.56% (+6.7%)
    Liberal- 32.35% (-2.9%)
    Labour- 18.09% (-3.8%)

    Majority- 17.21%

    Swing- +4.8% From Lib to Con.

    4. 1983-
    Conservative- 49.46% (-0.1%)
    Liberal- 41.75% (+9.4%)
    Labour- 8.79% (-9.3%)

    Majority- 7.71%

    Swing- +4.75% From Con to Lib.

    5. 1987-
    Conservative- 46.56% (-2.9%)
    Liberal- 40.55% (-1.2%)
    Labour- 11.99% (+3.2%)
    Green- 0.90% (N/A)

    Majority- 6.91%

    Swing- +0.85% From Lib to Con.

    6. 1992-
    Conservative- 47.06% (+0.5%)
    Liberal Democrat- 35.15% (-5.4%)
    Labour- 17.79% (+5.8%)

    Majority- 11.91%

    Swing- +2.95% From Lib Dem to Con.

    7. 1997-
    Liberal Democrat- 35.55% (+0.4%)
    Conservative- 34.46% (-12.6%)
    Labour- 25.79% (+8.0%)
    Referendum Party- 3.4% (N/A)
    UKIP- 0.8% (N/A)

    Majority- 1.09%

    Swing- +6.5% From Con to Lib Dem.

    8. 2001-
    Liberal Democrat- 40.65% (+5.1%)
    Conservative- 34.06% (-0.4%)
    Labour- 22.49% (-3.3%)
    UKIP- 2.8% (+2.0%)

    Majority- 6.59%

    Swing- +2.75% From Con to Lib Dem.

    9. 2005-
    Liberal Democrat- 44.95% (+4.3%)
    Conservative- 34.86% (+0.8%)
    Labour- 20.19% (-2.3%)

    Majority- 10.09%

    Swing- +1.75% From Con to Lib Dem.

    10. 2010-
    Liberal Democrat- 43.25% (-1.7%)
    Conservative- 37.16% (+2.3%)
    Labour- 13.19% (-7.0%)
    UKIP- 3.2% (N/A)
    BNP- 3.2% (N/A)

    Majority- 6.09%

    Swing- +2.0% From Lib Dem to Con.

    P.S. Later I will post how this constituency would have voted from 1974 to 2010 on the national vote shares so we can compare and contrast.

  5. peterelectionfollower asks a good question. One point is that the LibDems are liable to lose votes heavily to both Labour and Conservative, whereas the Conservatives may lose votes mainly to UKIP, with fewer to Labour.

  6. I think Peter meant the LDs losing fewer votes to Labour, not UKIP, than the Tories lose to UKIP. In certain seats, the LDs will indeed ship votes to UKIP – I suspect St Ives is a particularly good possible example. The answer to Peter’s question is yes in some cases. There is limited ability for Labour’s vote to rebound in some seats – N Cornwall is particularly dire Labour territory, but the party isn’t a lot better off in N Devon, and indeed plenty more seats in the SW. One could also add Cheltenham & Eastbourne – neither has had even one Labour councillor for years. I think that in some cases the LDs may hold on even where they do lose a substantial tally to Labour, because the Tories also lose a disproportionate amount to UKIP; I don’t expect the LDs to have any real trouble holding seats where they have an existing substantial majority over the Tories, such as Twickenham or N Norfolk. In both cases, I do expect Labour’s vote to rise quite sharply, but nothing like enough to endanger Cable or Lamb (in those cases). Common sense really. Frederic’s point is also a good one but I doubt that the LDs will lose all that many to the Conservatives all over the country; there will be some constituencies where it will happen, however.

  7. Any guesses on the safest ld seat numerically to be lost to labour and the tories?

    Likewise with tory seats to labour.

  8. My guesses would be Cardiff central, Torbay and Cleethorpes.

  9. Here’s something to consider- this seat only had one MP during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Given how marginal this could now become I wonder how many more MPs could represent this seat as the 2010s and 2020s wear on?

  10. The Results. This seat has some way to go to match Liverpool Scotland which had two MPs between 1880 and the 1964 by-election. The change was in 1929 when the Irish Nationalist MP retired and was replaced by a Labour one with strong Irish connections.

  11. oh t.p o’connor

  12. It’s funny to think though that in a parallel universe Lambton may well have remained as MP here for another ten years at least.

  13. Joe – my guesses would currently be Hornsey & Wood Green, this seat, and Crewe & Nantwich.
    TheResults – you do love this seat don’t you. Do you have some connection with it? I must confess I don’t find it quite as interesting as you seem to. It’s Lab-Con contests, and Lab-LD ones, which will decide who wins the general election.

  14. Well Barnaby we have an enthralling battle on the cards here between the Lib Dems and Tories, so I would expect the number of comments for this seat to surge in the next year and a half…

  15. Even with byelection unwind I’d be surprised if Crewe and Nantwitch went Labour next time. I think it might well have gone Conservative earlier, maybe 2005, had it had a different MP

  16. Joe – my guesses are Cardiff Central (LD to Lab), this seat (LD to Con) & South Ribble (Con to Lab)

  17. Will this be Harrogate 2010 MK2 in 2015?

  18. Harrogate and Knaresborough had a colossal LD majoirty in 2005, which melted away with the loss of the incumbent. There are clearly similarities here, but the LDs are starting from a much weaker position. Compared to Harrogate this should be a picnic (which isn’t to say it will be)

  19. This is what happened to the Liberal vote during Beith’s period as candidate as candidate and MP here-
    1970- 21.95%, +2.62%
    1973 byelection- 39.9%, +18.0%
    February 1974- 44.51%, +22.56%, +4.61%
    October 1974- 43.11%, -1.4%
    1979- 54.34%, +11.23%
    1983- 52.69%, +3.69%, notional
    1987- 52.10%, -0.59%
    1992- 44.37%, -7.73%
    1997- 45.5%, +1.13%
    2001- 51.4%, +5.9%
    2005- 52.8%, +1.4%
    2010- 43.7%, -8.9%

  20. Good question, Joe.

    Safest LD to Lab- Cardiff Central
    Safest LD to Con- Berwick upon Tweed
    Safest Con to Lab- Stourbridge (I think Crewe & Nantwich and South Ribble will both be very narrow Tory holds).

  21. A summary of the 2013 Elections in Berwick:

    Berwick North – LD by about 10 points over the tories

    Berwick East – LD by about 10 points over the tories

    Berwick West – LD by about 25 points over the tories

    Norham – LD by about 20 points over the tories

    Wooler – V. Safe Tory about 45 points over UKIP and 60 (!) over the LDs

    Bamburgh – Tory with about 25 points over the LDs

    Longhoughton ~ Indp (Probably marginally tory in a GE)

    Rothbury – LD by 45 points over the tories. I would be very sceptical about this result – a very popular local councillor and Rothbury has been won by the tories in the recent past.

    Alnwick – Supermarginal between tories and LDs

    Shilbottle. Tory by about 20 points over Labour, 40 over LD.

    Amble West – Tories beat LDs by 1 vote!

    Amble – Labour’s only strength in this seat. (Very grotty isolated old fishing village). Tories nowhere, LDs even further behind.

    Longhorsley – Tories miles infront on over 70%. LD, Lab and UKIP all on around 10.

  22. 5 LD wards

    1 Labour ward

    4 tory wards.

    1 split ward Con/LD (Alnwick) and 1 ward with only 1 vote separating Con and LD

    The tory wards provide much larger margins than the LD wards.

  23. The CC results for the area of this constituency would point to a Conservative gain, but as the Lib Dems did not stand in a couple of instances I think they may not be a good overall pointer for things to come.

  24. It was only one instance. The tories polled poorly in the ward with an independent dominating.

  25. Well all the same I really don’t know how much one can or indeed should read into these results- what with there being various things to consider reliability-wise, such as turnout, the year, wards up for election etc. etc.

  26. Well all the wards were up for election – so just the turnout and the national share of the vote in 2013.

    And I guess Beith’s retirement.

  27. This is going to be close with both the Tories and Lib Dems pumping out literature en mass already. With Beith’s personal vote gone and two equally well matched female candidates in the running here it is likely money and organisation will be the key in this seat.

  28. My forecast for 2015:

    LD 35
    Con 30
    Lab 18
    UKIP 12
    others 5

    I spent a week at Cragside and went to a pub in Longhorsley here in May (with ‘real people’)
    so I can predict whatever I like here.

    Trevelyan is a good candidate but will fall out of fashion in 2015 IMO and the LD candidate has some agricultural background.

    It’s becoming impossible for me to avoid offending anyone on this site. What exactly do they want me to say and predict given that no one is going convert each anyone to an alternative point of view?!

  29. A Brown you haven’t offended me mate.

    I very much welcome your contributions as much as I do everyone else’s, and I would like to think that others think the same.

  30. My latest prediction for this seat in 2015 is-
    Trevelyan (Conservative)- 35%
    Pörksen (Liberal Democrats)- 34.5%
    Labour- 16%
    UKIP- 14.5%

  31. So the people on the working holiday included a Hindu BIS employee from harrow, an Occupational therapy person from Brighton orginally from mansfield. There was also a JSA advisor from Yorkshire, a small business person from Buxton and retired people from Leeds.

    The economy was indeed discussed in the pub. I provide facts on this site and people do not like me for it

  32. The Tories must have this very high on their national list of gains. However the local Lib Dem candidate has been getting some very good press lately in the regions papers so this may not be as cut and dried as the Tories would hope.

  33. CON GAIN MAJ: <1%
    CON 30
    LD 30
    LAB 21
    UKIP 12
    GRN 5
    OTH 1

  34. Windsofchange, although the Conservative majority (if they gain it; it is still uncertain as the Liberal Democrats will fight very hard to keep a seat they have held for 40 years thus far, even if under just one MP). Also, I do not believe the Greens will do that well here as it is sadly not good territory for them, and the Conservative vote will not fall as low as 30% in a rural constituency like Berwick-upon-Tweed this time.

    Here is a better prediction (assuming the narrow Conservative gain others have predicted, as it is more likely than a Lib Dem hold):

    Con 35
    Lib Dem 33
    Lab 19
    UKIP 10
    Others 3

    I am unsure if the Greens will stand here in 2015.

  35. WindsofChange is a Green supporter & in my opinion, and that of most other contributors, is decidedly optimistic from his own party’s point of view in a large tranche of seats. I don’t think that’s a bad prediction actually from you below his.

  36. I think Lotus is not far off with that prediction. The Tories will be desperate to try and hold onto their 2010 vote (35-37%) and even more desperately hoping the Lib Dem vote crashes below that.

    The only thing that should give the Lib Dems some comfort is that the Tories have never really got more than 14,000 votes here in the last five General Elections – 15,000 is a winning total for the Lib Dems here, and that is far from an unrealistic target for them.

  37. Con 40
    LD 33
    Lab 16
    UKIP 7
    Oth 5

  38. That would be a great result for the Conservatives if it came to pass. At this stage I can’t say for certain if this will be a narrow Lib Dem hold, or even a narrow Tory gain, it’s not predictable from my own point of view.

    However, certainly with Alan Beith standing down does knock down heavily the Lib Dems’ chances of holding this, though it’s not impossible given how long they’ve now held this for. And an increase in the Tory vote share after the spectacularly good showing in 2010 would be incredible IMHO, but not unbelievable, largely given they’ve got the same candidate as the last election, who is a big name given her family’s standing.

  39. I think there will be a swing from LD to Lab in the towns and a swing from LD to Con in the countryside. LD have benefited from being the alternative to Con here and I know many voters who won’t be voting that way this time with the LD involvement in the coalition government.

    CON 16k
    LD 15k
    LAB 9k
    UKIP 3k

  40. I think it’ll be something like this:

    Con 34
    LD 34
    Lab 20
    UKIP 9
    Others 3

    With an absolutely tiny Conservative majority.

  41. Lib Dems collapsed in Northumberland Euros. Down to just 7500 votes from 20,000 in 2009. Interestingly however the Conservatives managed to increase their vote here compared to 2009, quite remarkable given what has happened here to their coalition partners.

    Northumberland 2014 European election overall Result: Lab: 21,737 UKIP: 21,485 Con:19,924 Lib: 7,585 Green:4,393 IndepEU:1,385 EngDem:1008 BNP: 963 Turnout: 32.4%

    Northumberland 2014 European election Vote Change: Labour up 7378, UKIP up 9421, Lib Dems DOWN 12,753, Conservatives vote up 817

    Northumberland 2014 European election Vote Share: Conservatives 25.3% (up 2%), Lib Dems 9.6% (down 15.3%) Labour 27.7% (up 10.1%) and UKIP 27.3% (up 12.5%)

  42. Most of the LD decline will be from the Wansbeck and Blyth Valley seats, where they collapsed at council level.

    Nontheless, this is an encouraging result for the Tories.

  43. I think your right about that Lib Dem vote. Although the results do demonstrate a solid, and I fact slight uptick in the Tory vote. That has got to be a big boost for their Berwick efforts where this seat is going to be won on which party can keep its vote up,

  44. Heard the Tory candidate here is the aunt of Hooray Henry young Tory activist Archie Manners!

  45. You just made me Google Archie Manners. He even looks like young William Hague!

  46. He’s a sterotyical Hooray Henry Tory (think of Harry Enfield’s “Tory Boy” and always speaks at the Tory Conferences. Very active within the party and will probably be Tory leader / Prime Minister in 20 years time!!

  47. That’s what they said about Justin Hinchcliffe, circa 1995

  48. Things could be very very close here next year.

    It is ironic I reckon that Alan Beith saw off all his Tory challengers while he held the seat- no fewer than nine Conservative candidates, for two reasons- The first reason of course is that he never lost while he was the MP, and the second is that the last Conservative candidate he overcame is now the candidate again, but that she won’t have the chance of defeating AB.

    In fact, back in the 70’s, when this was razor-edge close after Beith’s by-election win in 1973, actually by far closer then than it is now (Beith’s last majority is like an earldom in comparison) the Conservatives understandably seriously threw everything at it to win it back, as it will have no doubt have come as a shock to them given they had lost a seat they would have viewed as safe and one they had held for a very long time. So they initially kept the same candidate in February 1974 from the by-election (John Donald Morrison Hardie), yet they lost it by 443 as opposed to the original uncomfortable 57 vote margin from the Liberals’ point of view. After this, Charles Baker-Cresswell was brought in as candidate, and came as close as any Conservative candidate has come since to taking Berwick-upon-Tweed back. Then of course, Beith got a huge swing in 1979 from tactical Labour votes and the rest, as they say is history, and thus began the changing Conservative candidate here until recently.

  49. I would be slightly disappointed if this was very tight to be honest. Looking for a 2-3k majority.

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