2015 Result:
Conservative: 29606 (55.8%)
Labour: 8956 (16.9%)
Lib Dem: 3983 (7.5%)
Green: 2202 (4.1%)
UKIP: 8339 (15.7%)
MAJORITY: 20650 (38.9%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Berkshire. The Southern part of the Bracknell Forest council area and three wards from Wokingham.

Main population centres: Bracknell, Crowthorne, Sandhurst, Finchampstead.

Profile: The east of this seat is the economically successful new town of Bracknell. Bracknell has managed to attract many high-tech industries and houses companies like Panasonic, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Siemens, as well as the UK head offices of Waitrose and BMW. To the south of Bracknell itself is Swinley Woods, a large area of woodland owned by the Crown Estate, which separates Bracknell from Crowthorne, home to Broadmoor High Security Psychiatric Hospital and wellington College, and Sandhurst, home of the Royal Military Academy where British army officers are trained. To the West is the village of Finchampstead. The seat also contains the Transport Research Laboratory at Crowthorne.

Politics: Bracknell has been a safe Conservative seat since its creation in 1997. The MP until 2010 was Andrew Mackay, the former Conservative shadow cabinet minister and Parliamentary aide to David Cameron who was forced to stand down as part of the expenses scandal.

Current MP
PHILLIP LEE (Conservative) Born 1970, Buckinghamshire. Educated at Sir William Borlase`s Grammar and Kings College London. Former general practioner. Contested Blaenau Gwent 2005. First elected as MP for Bracknell in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 27327 (52%)
Lab: 8755 (17%)
LDem: 11623 (22%)
UKIP: 2297 (4%)
Oth: 2134 (4%)
MAJ: 15704 (30%)
Con: 25412 (50%)
Lab: 13376 (26%)
LDem: 10128 (20%)
UKIP: 1818 (4%)
Oth: 407 (1%)
MAJ: 12036 (24%)
Con: 22962 (47%)
Lab: 16249 (33%)
LDem: 8424 (17%)
UKIP: 1266 (3%)
Oth: 324 (1%)
MAJ: 6713 (14%)
Con: 27983 (47%)
Lab: 17596 (30%)
LDem: 9122 (15%)
Oth: 2754 (5%)
MAJ: 10387 (18%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
PHILLIP LEE (Conservative) See above.
PATRICK SMITH (Liberal Democrat)
RICHARD THOMAS (UKIP) Educated at Brakenhale School. Runs a chain of pharmacies. Former Bracknell Forest councillor for the Conservatives. Contested Leicester West 1997 for the Conservatives.
Comments - 75 Responses on “Bracknell”
  1. ‘A bit surprising that Bracknell Forest is apparently the third most Eurosceptic place in the country.’

    I think Joe is right

    Bracknell is a nationalist lower-middle class concrete-heavy new-towney type of place, where Euroscepticism tends to be rife

    It’s quite similar in vibe to Uckfield where I work – another Eurosceptic hotspot – just bigger

    The MP is one of the few still to make their mind up although I’m sure the poll Andy refers to will help him make up his mind

  2. Don’t know the whole district but I do know Sandhurst where the Tory councillors are right-wing, middle-aged and non-graduate – very much a leave demographic.

  3. Uckfield is nicer than Bracknell

  4. My Dad lives in the suburbs of Bracknell which are very quiet and leafy – the town centre is one of those 70s-style grey types (see also e.g. Stevenage).

    I’m not entirely surprised to hear it’s a Eurosceptic area – if my sample of one is to be replicated across the town anyway…!

  5. @Jason Harcourt – The town centre is currently undergoing complete redlvamp and most of the 70’s buildings are/will be demolished. It’ll be finished in Sping 2017. The revamp looks very attractive in the CGIs I’ve seen and will make Bracknell an even more desirable.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I’ve always got the impression this seat has more in common with the Essex than the other Berkshire seats.

  6. Bracknell famously reacted to Michael Foot’s election as Labour leader in November 1980 by electing a full slate of Labour county councillors at the May 1981 local elections. One of the strangest results in British electoral history. I don’t know whether there were local factors or if people in Bracknell saw something in Foot that other usually Tory voters didn’t.

  7. Yes, although Bracknell voted fairly evenly between Conservative and Labour in 1979 with several wards electing Labour in the district election. The change came in 1983 when they didn’t elect one. They got back a handful in 1991. The 1981 elections seemed to be a curious delay in Labour’s difficulties and the usual mid term swing but was the swing here particularly high?

  8. we are of course ttalking about the town itself, not Crowthorne, Sandhurst which are in Bracknell Forest. 1981

  9. Bracknell Forest has a core of former council estates, now private, and an outer ring of older villages and new housing estates, with expensive housing. It has always had high employment and probably has a lot more self employed and small businesses than most places. I agree it may have similarities to parts of Essex with most residents originating somewhere else and moving here as employment opportunities opened up. There are a lot of international companies in the area and many residents work at Heathrow Airport.

    The council is overwhelmingly Conservative, but was controlled by Labour and the Lib Dems in the 1990’s for a while.

    I am not sure how the conclusion of it being the 3rd most Eurosceptic place was reached. UKIP did well in the last Euro election, but nothing stunning. There is no university and relatively few non -UK born residents, which together with age and income profiles may be factors used in the model to determine this.

    I can’t imagine any euro opinion polls are worth the bother at present.

  10. Bracknell Forest more eurosceptic than Thanet or Tendring? Sounds like nonsense to me.

  11. Labour gained control of Bracknell Forest in the 1995 landslide (when they polled perhaps around 48pc nationally).
    But even in May 1997 when it became a Unitary, the Tories regained it.
    Labour had no councillors in 1983 or 1987 but regained 7 in 1991, the Tories had 32 still.

    I am not sure what the County elections were like in 1985 or 1989 – that would be interesting but rather irrelevant. Labour did regain a seat in a by-election in the summer of 1989 and that was reported as a sign of Labour starting a recovery in the South.

  12. I think the seats in 1979 Labour held were Great Hollands and about 2 others.

    There is an area called Martin’s Herron to the east of the town, with it’s own rail station.
    By coincidence, I came through Bracknell today.

  13. Right-winger Andrew McKay held Bracknell for the Tories with a five-figure majority in their nadir year of 1997 – making it by my reckoning one of their best results, especially if Labour controlled the council at the time

  14. “Bracknell Forest more eurosceptic than Thanet or Tendring? Sounds like nonsense to me.”

    @Andy JS – As I mentioned above, I think this more of an ‘Essex Man’-type seat than a typical Berkshire seat.

  15. I know but that still doesn’t make it more Eurosceptic than places in Kent, Essex, Lincolnshire, etc. More than 30% have university degrees according to the census data, almost as many as places like Wycombe and Watford.

  16. Phillip Lee has resigned as Justice Minister, saying that he feels he can better argue his case against the governments handling of Brexit from the backbenches.

  17. ‘Phillip Lee has resigned as Justice Minister, saying that he feels he can better argue his case against the governments handling of Brexit from the backbenches’

    “In all conscience, I cannot support the government’s decision to oppose this amendment because doing so breaches such fundamental principles of human rights and Parliamentary sovereignty.

    “A vote between bad and worse is not a meaningful vote. And I cannot bring myself to vote for it in the bastion of liberty, freedom and human rights that is our Parliament”

    Those three sentences are the most intelligent thing any politician has said about Brexit si far

    No wonder he felt he had to resign from a government filled with some of the most unintelligent people who have ever been in the cabinet

  18. Fair to say the Tories aren’t particularly grateful for his intervention. There are already rumours of deselection in Bracknell, and in Westminster this has happened:

  19. ‘There are already rumours of deselection in Bracknell,’

    Bracknell’s about as Brexit as it gets for Berkshire, one of the more Remain-inclined English counties

    It still amazes me how so many supposedly intelligent people still think Brexit is going to make us more prosperous

    You have to be extremely naiive, plain unintelligent or exceptionally devious to be willing to argue that and it seems to me that many Brxiters think dire poverty is a price worth paying for sticking two fingers up at the rest if Europe

  20. Lovely little detail in this article:

    “At one point, three were believed to be four. Phillip Lee, the former justice minister, who quit to back a second referendum, was widely considered to be part of the departing gang until reporters in Westminster discovered that he had, in fact, switched off his phone because he was at the cinema with his wife.”

  21. Bracknell Conservatives have passed motion of no confidence in Dr Phillip Lee. Doesn’t have any direct effect but shows he could be deselected.

  22. Philip Lee has defected to the Liberal Democrats, meaning that the government now has no majority (even factoring in the confidence and supply agreement with the DUP).

  23. Though Charlie Elphicke will continue to back the government I imagine

  24. There is only one Lib Dem councillor in Bracknell, Now three Labour and the rest Conservative. Some of the strongest wards for the Conservatives come under Windsor, but this is relative, as there have only been a handful of non-Conservative councillors for a generation. There are three Wokingham wards in Bracknell constituency, including one councillor who defected to the Lib Dems, but they are generally safe seats too. If Philip Lee decides to stand here again it will be tough.

    I have thought it odd that Lee as Remainer, sits for Leave-voting Bracknell, whilst John Redwood in Wokingham has a seat which is marginally Remain! Maybe they could switch.

  25. ‘I have thought it odd that Lee as Remainer, sits for Leave-voting Bracknell, whilst John Redwood in Wokingham has a seat which is marginally Remain!’

    Wokingham is very Remain and if Redwood genuinely believed in democracy like he claims he does, he would find a new seat

    Bracknell is actually very WWC – it’s just WWC people with money, which nowadays is as Tory a demographic as it gets

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