Brentwood & Ongar

2015 Result:
Conservative: 30534 (58.8%)
Labour: 6492 (12.5%)
Lib Dem: 4577 (8.8%)
Green: 1397 (2.7%)
UKIP: 8724 (16.8%)
Others: 173 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 21810 (42%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Essex. The Brentford council area and part of the Epping Forest council area.

Main population centres: Brentwood, Chipping Ongar, North Weald Bassett, Pilgrims Hatch, Heybridge.

Profile: The constituency is made up the affluent London commuter belt just outside the border of Greater London in Essex. The seat is suburban around Brentwood, Shenfield and Chipping Ongar, with the rest of the constituency made up of more rural villages and woodland (including part of Epping Forest itself). Brentwood hosts the headquarters of Alan Sugar`s Amstrad (now part of BSkyB) and Warley to the South of Brentwood houses the UK headquarters of the Ford Motor Company.

Politics: Normally a very safe Conservative seat Brentwood and Ongar has an unusual recent history. In 2001 the Independent MP for Tatton, the former BBC reporter Martin Bell, contested Brentwood and Ongar as an independent. Bell had promised to serve for only one term as MP for Tatton, but was instead invited to contest Brentwood after a split in the local Conservative party. The independent conservatives claimed that the local Conservative branch had been infiltrated and taken over by the Penial Pentecostal Church, a controversial evangelical Christian church in Pilgrim`s Hatch, and invited Bell to stand on their behalf. Bell came second, cutting Eric Pickles` majority to below 10%.

Current MP
ERIC PICKLES (Conservative) Born 1952, Keighley. Educated at Greenhead Grammar and Leeds Polytechnic. Barrister. Former Bradford councillor, leader of Bradford council 1988-1990. First elected as MP for Brentwood and Ongar in 1992. Shadow local government secretary 2007-2009, Chairman of the Conservative party 2009-2010, Secretary of State for Local Government 2010-2015. Awarded a knighthood in 2015 on leaving government.
Past Results
Con: 28793 (57%)
Lab: 4992 (10%)
LDem: 11872 (23%)
UKIP: 2037 (4%)
Oth: 2898 (6%)
MAJ: 16921 (33%)
Con: 23609 (53%)
Lab: 6579 (15%)
LDem: 11997 (27%)
UKIP: 1805 (4%)
Oth: 155 (0%)
MAJ: 11612 (26%)
Con: 16558 (38%)
Lab: 5505 (13%)
LDem: 6772 (16%)
UKIP: 611 (1%)
Oth: 14096 (32%)
MAJ: 2462 (6%)
Con: 23031 (45%)
Lab: 11231 (22%)
LDem: 13341 (26%)
Oth: 465 (1%)
MAJ: 9690 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ERIC PICKLES (Conservative) See above.
LIAM PRESTON (Labour) Educated at Canterbury Christchurch University. Parliamentary and policy officer.
DAVID KENDALL (Liberal Democrat) Businessman. Brentwood councillor since 1991, Essex county councillor. Contested Brentwood and Ongar 2001, 2010.
MICK MCGOUGH (UKIP) Contested Chingford and Woodford Green 2005, Brentwood and Ongar 2010.
ROBIN TILBROOK (English Democrat) Born 1958, Kuala Lumpur. Solicitor. Contested Brentwood and Ongar 2010, Essex Police Commissioner 2012. Contested East of England 2009, 2014 European elections.
Comments - 38 Responses on “Brentwood & Ongar”
  1. Eric Pickles made his first national televsion appearance during the BBC’s second day coverage of the 1992 General Election being interviewed with Sir Paul Beresford by Peter Sissons, only a matter of a few hours after he was first elected an MP.

    In fact, when he came into the Commons, his majority here was down a bit against Robert McCrindle’s in 1987- He apparently was a bit of a popular figure, and a bit of his personal vote might well have been lost. Coupled with that, the Lib Dems had made inroads on the local council I think in that part of Essex and may even have taken control of the council in the early 90’s at some point.

  2. I could see UKIP getting close to 10% here, but unlikely to have any real affect on Eric’s safety here – something like:

    Con – 56
    LD – 20
    Lab – 12
    UKIP – 10
    OTH – 2

  3. Yes, the Lib Dems did well in the 1991 local elections – I don’t think it was overall control though – probably a C lose to NOC.
    Robert McCrindle was a popular figure I think.
    But Pickles is down against 1992 less than the national C average.

  4. BBC 1991 local elections I remember – flash up
    “Conservative leader in Brentwood has lost his seat”

  5. I’m sure I remember Eric Pickles appearing on national TV when against the national trend the Tories (temporarily as it turned out) took control of Bradford council, and he became its Leader. However, it’s a minor point.

  6. Ah, well in that case I am wrong. Thanks, Barnaby.

    What I meant to say perhaps was that it was his first appearance on television as a Member Of Parliament.

  7. Prediction for 2015-
    Conservative- 55%
    Liberal Democrat- 21%
    Labour- 12%
    UKIP- 8%
    Others- 4%

  8. CON HOLD MAJ : 33%
    CON 49
    LD 16
    LAB 16
    UKIP 12
    GRN 5
    OTH 2

  9. there goes that inflated Green vote again. People in this area are not very likely to vote Green! Also I think the LDs will beat Labour by more than that.
    I’ve just noticed that Anthony has referred to Brentford rather than Brentwood in the above profile.

  10. Ahh yes I noticed that a moment ago, gave me a little chuckle 🙂 I think a semi-collapse in the LD vote nationally will mean in many areas Labour will once more eclipse the LDs where they have been supressed for a long time, though in a Conservative trending seat, I reckon Labour would just fall short of the LDs; even now. I think there is ‘potential’ for the Greens to increase around 3-4% here taking a handful of ‘wet’ Conservative votes, a few Labour votes and a fair amount of LD votes, but I concede not as much as other places such as Norwich S. Of course, that potential will probably not be realised due to lack of party membership, limited reach of campaigning etc. However, I think the Greens could realistically get somewhere in the middle, around 3%, in the meantime.

  11. The special circumstances of the result here in 2001 meant that in 2005 with Martin Bell not standing here again that the three main parties all saw their vote shares increase. It resumed normality here, the result that year.

  12. Indeed so, the results. Here is by the way my prediction for this seat for 2015, as this seat may gain some coverage in the 2015 election night broadcast (which will be David Dimbleby’s last) due to the notoriety of Eric Pickles nationally:

    Con 49
    Lib Dem 19 (the core Lib Dem vote is too high for it to drop as significantly as it will in many other constituencies)
    Lab 15
    UKIP 14
    Others 3

    UKIP has gained a good following in Essex recently due to Essex’s ‘national conservative’ character (which also pervades Lincolnshire to a large extent, and is Eurosceptic at least), and thus will poll above average in many rural Essex seats (not Harlow or Colchester,for instance,which are both urban). The sad fact here in my opinion is that Eric Pickles has almost no chance of being unseated when he deserves to be for all the damage he has done to local councils across Britain

  13. you could upgrade that to “absolutely no chance”.

  14. “The sad fact here in my opinion is that Eric Pickles has almost no chance of being unseated when he deserves to be for all the damage he has done to local councils across Britain”

    The sad fact is that you seem incapable of following the comments policy. This is not the place for you to keep repeatedly posting tedious pieties how much you dislike this evil Tory politician and that evil Tory politician. There are plenty of other sites where you can do that.

  15. On topic, I’m doubtful that UKIP will get a double digit percentage here. As evidenced by the resilient Lib Dem vote, this is one of the posher Essex seats. UKIP will do far better in places like Basildon and Clacton. It would imply a very bad national result for the Tories if Pickles got less than 50%.

  16. The Referendum Party did alright here in 1997 if we are to discuss the chances of UKIP doing well here. They might get 6-7% perhaps.

  17. I’d say this is the highest-income Essex seat in fact, even if it isn’t the very safest one. I agree with both of HH’s above comments. My opinions on Eric Pickles wouldn’t be difficult to guess, but this isn’t the correct forum for them; they aren’t relevant to a discussion about the outcome of his constituency, unless there were clear evidence that he was unusually unpopular, which I don’t think for a moment he is.

  18. This seat isn’t quite as safe as Maldon, though given the slightly different demographics here, that may explain why- it’s still nothing other than a very safe Conservative seat.

  19. The demographics are more than slightly different.

    This seat is closer to London than Maldon with much better transport links. Brentwood and Shenfield both contain a large number of city workers, and so does the Ongar/North Weald end of the seat due to its proximity to the Central Line Epping branch. In that respect it probably resembles Epping Forest more than Maldon or Chelmnsford.

  20. Ongar is of course in the Epping Forest municipal district, but I think that the very clumsily-named “Essex Man”-style voter is much more prevalent in the Epping Forest constituency than here. Even Ongar I think has fewer such voters than other areas such as Loughton. Shenfield is very prosperous & has non-stop trains to London.

  21. So this seat is markedly different from Maldon. Would it be fair to say that UKIP might get a fair few percent here?

  22. Tories lose control of Brentwood.. LibDems, hold 3 & gain 2 (therefore no lib dem losses and no UKIP wins) .

    Reports of UKIP sweeping Essex are correct only in parts (a more WWC and seaside seat phenomenon?)

  23. Brentwood Council now being run by a Lib/Lab/Brentwood First/Independent coalition.

  24. I still reckon that if Martin Bell hadn’t challenged Eric Pickles here in 2001, this would have had a similar result to Saffron Walden perhaps.

  25. But of a screw up wasn’t it.
    Is this a test bed for how parties could come together nationally or a sleep walk to the next Solihull?

  26. Conservative Hold. 18,000 maj.

  27. Now that Pickles has been knighted, does anyone think he’ll stand down in 2020 as he’ll be 68 at the next General Election? Would be a very plum seat for an ex-SpAd or Ester McVey who said she intends to return to Parliament in 2020 (I personally hope she doesn’t find a seat)!

  28. I’m not sure why McVey specifically deserves a second chance. We’ll see. She isn’t a great fit for this seat, but it’s so safe for the Tories that even if Robert Mugabe stood wearing a blue rosette he’d win comfortably.

  29. If you were one of the unfortunate Tory MPs defeated this year, you may have your sights on this for 2020…

  30. ”If you were one of the unfortunate Tory MPs defeated this year”

    I must be so frustrating if your an MP who lost there seat (or failed to win a seat) when your party has won the GE.

  31. Indeed.

  32. No-one would have believed before the election that only 9 Tory MPs would be defeated and that the biggest margin of defeat would be just 1,451 votes.

  33. Some of us did.

  34. I find it strange that both sides (May and Leadsom) appear to be sending out some of the worst examples of MPs as their attack dogs.

    Soubry and Alan Duncan we’ve mentioned, but Pickles seriously went on TV to denounce Leadsom’s interview. His BBC Question Time squirming over his expenses and why he needed us to pay for his 2nd home 30 miles away, was a YouTube hit.

    Although Pickles understandably hates Christian activists after what almost happened to him here in 2001.

  35. Eric Pickles is standing down. Not many safe Tory seats up – only this, Hornchurch, Aldershot, Tatton and Chelmsford at the moment – so there will be lots of interest.

  36. Sure most Tory SPADs/wannabeTory MPs will be eyeing up this seat like a hawk. A very plum seat for whoever wins the selection process to become the Tory candidate here for the forthcoming General Election.

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)