2015 Result:
Conservative: 27071 (53.8%)
Labour: 9296 (18.5%)
Lib Dem: 2488 (4.9%)
BNP: 108 (0.2%)
Green: 1564 (3.1%)
UKIP: 9461 (18.8%)
Independent: 295 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 17610 (35%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Essex. Part of the Braintree council area.

Main population centres: Braintree, Bocking, Halstead, Earls Colne, Great Yeldham, Sible Hedingham, Great Bardfield.

Profile: A rural seat at the northern edge of Essex. The main population centres are the large town of Braintree itself and the smaller market town of Halstead, both towards the south of the seat, while to the north the constituency stretches off into smaller villages towards the Suffolk border.

Politics: Historically Braintree was a solid Conservative seat, but fell to Labour in 1997 and was a Conservative-Labour marginal for many years. The boundary changes in 2010 once again put it into the column of safe Conservative seats.

Current MP
JAMES CLEVERLY (Conservative) Born 1969, Lewisham. Educated at Colfes and Thames Valley University. Contested Lewisham East 2005. GLA member for Bexley and Bromley since 2008. First elected as MP for Braintree in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 25901 (53%)
Lab: 9780 (20%)
LDem: 9247 (19%)
UKIP: 2477 (5%)
Oth: 1798 (4%)
MAJ: 16121 (33%)
Con: 23597 (44%)
Lab: 19704 (37%)
LDem: 7037 (13%)
GRN: 1308 (2%)
Oth: 1409 (3%)
MAJ: 3893 (7%)
Con: 20765 (41%)
Lab: 21123 (42%)
LDem: 5664 (11%)
GRN: 1241 (2%)
Oth: 1522 (3%)
MAJ: 358 (1%)
Con: 22278 (40%)
Lab: 23729 (43%)
LDem: 6418 (12%)
Oth: 986 (2%)
MAJ: 1451 (3%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JAMES CLEVERLY (Conservative) Born 1969, Lewisham. Educated at Colfes and Thames Valley University. Contested Lewisham East 2005. GLA member for Bexley and Bromley since 2008.
MATTHEW KLESEL (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Moulsham High School and University of Kent.
TOBY PEREIRA (Independent)
Comments - 83 Responses on “Braintree”
  1. Castle Hedingham is a small villageof less than 1000 residents and not a population centre it should be Sible Hedingham with a population of 4000.

  2. I think this may have been given the intended description for Saffron Walden by mistake? The profile is a fair description of the northern end of the seat, but around half the electorate is in Braintree.

  3. Edward – I think it’s more a case of me starting a profile then going off to do something else and forgetting to finish it ;). Will put it back on the to do list!

  4. I agree that the Profile is totally misleading. Half the population lives in the urban area of Braintree and Bocking. Halstead is also a substantial town (11,000 +) and Sible Hedingham, Great Yeldham and Earls Colne could hardly be described as ‘small agricultural villages’. The Labour Party is well organised. The Liberal Democrats have been virtually wiped out – they have no District councillors and limited organisation. UKIP is a growing force. After only just managing to achieve second place in 2010, Labour will expect to mount a more substantial challenge in 2015.

  5. I don’t agree that the profile is ‘totally misleading’.

    We don’t see any signs of a Labour presence in the rural part of the constituency, let alone an ‘organised’ Labour presence. Not much signs of it in Halstead either for that matter. Nor am I aware of UKIP being a ‘growing force’ – how many councillors do they have? Let’s be honest, this is blue rinse Tory territory.

  6. So no change in the Tory stranglehold of the rural part of Braintree in the County Council elections.

  7. The results of the County Council elections undermine Steven Partridge’s claim that he is not aware of UKIP being a growing force in the constituency. UKIP won the Bocking Division and came second in the Hedingham, Halstead and Three Fields with Great Notley Divisions. The Labour Party showed that there is still an organised Labour presence in most parts of the constituency by campaigning and delivering election literature throughout all Divisions apart from Hedingham, but even there it achieved third place. The Conservatives remains the strongest party in the constituency but the term ‘stranglehold’ is an exaggeration, even in the rural areas.

  8. My thoughts are a CON hold with reduced majority:
    CON 42
    LD 16
    LAB 14
    UKIP 14
    GRN 7

  9. There was a by-election in Braintree E ward following the death of a Labour councillor. Here’s the result from Thursday :

    Lab 461 (46.6; +4.7)
    Con 267 (27.0; -14.8)
    UKIP 194 (19.6; +19.6)
    Green 67 (6.8; -9.6)
    Majority 194
    Turnout 18.96%
    Labour hold
    Percentage change is since May 2011

  10. A 10% Conservative drop this time – you really have it in for the Conservatives don’t you.

    Your total only adds up to 93 so where are the other 7?

  11. LOL Matt. There were a lot of by-elections on Thursday – the only ones where a seat changed hands were in Weston-super-Mare, a N Somerset council seat (Ind gain from C, which I did spare you 🙂 ) and of course the Tory gain in Kingston-upon-Thames, which has already been extensively dealt with. Re the percentages, with respect if you add them up again they will tally. 46.6 + 27 + 19.6 + 6.8 = 100.

  12. I think Matt is addressing Winds of Change, Barnaby.

  13. Yes I was addressing his latest strange prediction – sorry for any confusion.

  14. i hope he vanishes for a while i’m bored of stuff about the greens increasing their vote

  15. apologies for the misunderstanding. I don’t have a problem with WindsofChange contributing, though I do find his contributions rather dull. I also wish he wouldn’t constantly ask if his predictions are OK – either make predictions or don’t is what I say. I am sure I am guilty from thinking of things from a Labour point of view, but then I support a party which is a serious contender for government; and I am genuinely interested in how parties other than my own get on.

  16. I am the same to be honest – it is interesting to hear from other parties standpoints, and I would be the first to say that I think the Greens will hold Brighton Pavilion (I might not agree with a lot of what they say, but they have a very good MP, are well organised locally – yes the council isn’t popular, she appears to have managed to distance herself from those unpopular decisions)

  17. As for this seat, I would predict something like:

    Con – 50
    Lab – 23
    UKIP – 15
    LD – 8
    GRN – 4

  18. I apologise for my bizarre previous prediction- I can’t even remember how I got to those figures 🙂
    CON HOLD MAJ : 20%
    CON 45
    LAB 25
    LD 13
    UKIP 11
    GRN 5
    OTH 1

  19. The Greens won’t get 5% here. Yet again a casual prediction of the party trebling or even more than trebling their vote share, without the slightest scrap of evidence.

  20. WoC, suggest you check out my latest post in the Mid Bedfordshire thread, where I rather expand on BM’s sentiment.

  21. WoC’s posts are like an odd mix of Bob and A Brown posts.

  22. I see your point Barnaby, but other posters have put the Greens at around 4%. I don’t know if you saw my note yesterday, but these predictions are all +/- 0.5, especially for the Greens/UKIP etc, so 4.5% isn’t that far off I don’t think. The Greens have not done too badly locally here either as far as I’m aware?

  23. I facepalmed so much at that post, WoC. That we might have put the Greens down for 4% in one constituency, doesn’t mean they’re down for hitting 4% in places like here!

    Seriously WoC, why do you think the Greens are going to have this surge you’re predicting? I’ve seen you make these bizarre predictions for so long, I’ve forgotten what’s even your rationale behind them.

    And sorry to sound mean, but your attitude is far from commendable. Rather than just actually spending the past few months learning from more experienced hands, you’re just spamming up the place. My annoyance therefore is rather understandable.

  24. I put the Greens at somewhere in the range 3-4% nationally, so where they do stand I predict them around this range, higher if they stood last time and scored above their national average of 1.0%. I reckon the LD decline will be a major source of a Green rise, especially given that Labour don’t have that much of a lead over the Conservative any more- 9% ish mid-term and now 5%ish is unusual. I also feel that the Tories and LDs squeezed the Green vote in 2010, the former with their hug a husky, caring, conservationist, electable environmentalist image and the later through Clegg’s surprising performance in the election debates and the LD surge on the back of a Tory rise/Lab fall- coming mainly from Labour, so likely to have been generally more left-leaning. The Green share in 2010 both nationally and in many seats fell compared to 2005 on the back over an even greater Labour fall, so again the LDs in particular, but also the Tories were able to hold the Greens down more; more so than a still not very appealing Labour party may be able to.

  25. Just look at the polls instead of making these longwinded semi-explanations, or look at by-election results. You might learn something. Or not.

  26. Story twittering about that he has resigned from the govt today…. is he a UKIP hopeful? or this is something else…?

  27. Spoke too soon… its a X-rated selfie inspired resignation..!

  28. Sex scandal involving social media, apparently. Irritatingly I can’t tell if he’s resigning as minister or MP. If latter, another by-election won’t be fun.

  29. He’s not standing down immediately as an MP. He’s retiring at the general election. Which means if the boundary changes had gone through, Priti Patel would have been able to move here on the abolition of her Witham constituency.

  30. Was Witham proposed to have been absorbed by the Braintree seat, or at least parts of it?

    Sounds a bit like what that Anthony Weiner (what a name) guy in America did.

  31. Mr Newmark is an American. A predecessor Brian Harrison, who was MP for Maldon (part of which is now this constituency) between 1955 & 1974, was an Australian. Is it perhaps time for a Canadian here?

  32. Just looked at his picture, and thought, my, he does look Jewish, and Newmark strikes me as a possibly Jewish name. Looked him up, and indeed he is. Didn’t know that.

  33. I’ve always just assumed he is (perhaps wrongly of me) because the only other Newmark I know is also Jewish.

  34. Was he going to stand down as an MP in 2015 anyway or have events precipitated this?

  35. He certainly wasn’t. Events have indeed precipitated this.

  36. Has he stood down? He was certainly foolish but I don’t think his transgression should be career ending.

  37. I don’t think any personal scandal of an MP has so far topped the Mark Oaten one from 2006. That was just disturbing.

  38. Cyril Smith?

  39. “I don’t think any personal scandal of an MP has so far topped the Mark Oaten one from 2006.”

    What a stupid thing to say. There have been scores of highly “disturbing” parliamentary scandals over the past 300 years – read Matthew Parris’s book. If you want a recent example, I think Jeremy Thorpe’s scandal was far more serious and disturbing than Mark Oaten’s.

  40. I did think Jeremy Thorpe, but he was found innocent. A very lurid tale, but one we can’t prove. The Profumo Affair also had very serious potential repercussions which Oaten’s didn’t.

    It does seem to be a trend that the worst scandals involve Liberal politicians though. Maybe it’s the broad church aspect, maybe it’s shadowy agencies only covering for the two big parties…

  41. I was referring to non-criminal scandals which don’t carry the same level of seriousness as Cyril Smith or Jeremy Thorpe. Should’ve made that clearer before.

  42. Thorpe was found innocent of murder yes, but the scandal was about far more than that.

    Plenty of scandals similar to Oaten’s were worse, Harvey Proctor for one.

  43. It has always tickled me that Auberon Waugh stood against Thorpe in North Devon 1979 on behalf of the Dog Lovers’ Party 🙂

    Wing Commander Bill Boaks was also involved in that election (quelle surprise).

  44. I remember that declaration very well. The returning officer spoke very slowly, and repeated surname : Thorpe. John Jeremy Thorpe. Then eventually the number of votes cast. Speller’s vote of over 30,000 had already been announced of course, so perhaps it was no surprise. The BBC flashed the message THORPE OUT THORPE OUT THORPE OUT repeatedly on the screen immediately afterwards. In 1997 clearly the returning officer in Yeovil got confused between Paddy Ashdown & Jeremy Thorpe, since he called him “John Jeremy Ashdown – Paddy Ashdown” whereas in fact his real name is Jeremy John Dunham Ashdown.

  45. …….though his Wikipedia entry thinks his 3rd name is Durham rather than Dunham.

  46. In his resignation statement, Mr Newmark said:

    “I remain a loyal supporter of this Government as its long term economic plan continues to deliver for the British people.”

    Can’t a minister even compose a simple resignation statement without using a government buzz phrase? I despair.

  47. What with a Tory government rocked by sex scandals and multiple defections, I was getting really nostalgic for 1995-96 today. It was such a great time in my life – I was 19/20, enjoying being young and away from home in London to the full.

    Seriously, Robin Hood’s forecast took another massive blow with these events. I doubt many people expect David Cameron to remain PM next year now.

  48. @ H.HEMMELIG

    You’re so funny.

    When Douglas Carswell defected you were bouncing around like a lemming on speed, declaring it was the end of the Tory Party as we know it. But then when it made no difference to the Labour lead in the polls you were brought down to earth.

    Now you’re doing it again.

    Try for once to make a measured assessment of what the polls are saying:

    (1) Is each UKIP surge drawing equally from Tory and Labour? Yes.

    (2) Is UKIP likely to change the fact that Cameron is seen as more credible than Miliband? No.

    (3) Is UKIP likely to change the fact that the Conservatives are trusted more on the economy than Labour? No.

    I don’t like these facts any more than you do but the essential dynamic in this contest remains unchanged and you have failed to provide one iota of data that suggests otherwise.

    Frankly it will probably do Cameron a power of good to shed his party’s lunatic fringe. It makes him look increasingly like a centrist politician (and that’s where most of the voters are).

  49. We are certainly living in interesting times…

  50. I am certainly getting nostalgic for being born. I wonder if Viz will resurrect Baxter Basics?

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)