Bury St Edmunds

2015 Result:
Conservative: 31815 (53.6%)
Labour: 10514 (17.7%)
Lib Dem: 3581 (6%)
Green: 4692 (7.9%)
UKIP: 8739 (14.7%)
MAJORITY: 21301 (35.9%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Suffolk. Part of St Edmundsbury and Mid Suffolk council areas.

Main population centres:


Politics: A safe Conservative seat, continously returning Tory MPs since 1885.

Current MP
JOHANNA CHURCHILL (Conservative) First elected as MP for Bury St Edmunds in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 27899 (48%)
Lab: 9776 (17%)
LDem: 15519 (26%)
UKIP: 3003 (5%)
Oth: 2521 (4%)
MAJ: 12380 (21%)
Con: 24332 (46%)
Lab: 14402 (27%)
LDem: 10423 (20%)
UKIP: 1859 (4%)
Oth: 1603 (3%)
MAJ: 9930 (19%)
Con: 21850 (43%)
Lab: 19347 (38%)
LDem: 6998 (14%)
UKIP: 831 (2%)
Oth: 1231 (2%)
MAJ: 2503 (5%)
Con: 21290 (38%)
Lab: 20922 (38%)
LDem: 10102 (18%)
Oth: 272 (0%)
MAJ: 368 (1%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DAVID CHAPPELL (Liberal Democrat) Born 1953. Educated at Edinburgh University. Chartered surveyor. Former St Edmundsbury councillor. Contested Bury St Edmunds 2005, 2010.
JOHN HOWLETT (UKIP) Contested Bury St Edmunds 2005, 2010.
Comments - 163 Responses on “Bury St Edmunds”
  1. But it is funny, because of the extent to which Labour collapsed in both 2005 and 2010.

    It seems as though in many seats they came close to winning in 1997, they’ve on average gone back by even more than the ones where they were say 3000+ votes out.

    Of course it begs the question quite how did Labour get so close in 1997 in the first place, but I think that’s probably already been explained on here.

  2. In 1997, David Ruffley was an unknown candidate; Labour’s Mark Ereira-Guyer was a borough councillor – elected in 1995 – and chairman of transport and works. David won by 368 votes. Four years later, David and Mark fought it out again, with David increasing his majority.

    In 2003, Mark lost his Risbygate borough council seat (to me) and although he returned for the St Olaves ward (safe Labour at the time) in 2007 his star had waned. He lost St Olaves in 2011 – the only one of the 34 councillors who failed ( he was now Green) but won the county seat for the Tower Division in 2009 – 5 borough wards including Risbygate and St Olaves – and held it in 2013. I was also elected for Tower in 2013.

    The local Conservative Association has announced that it is seeking a parliamentary candidate with ‘local connections’ but would consider Boris if he was interested. This proves beyond all reasonable doubt that they are barking mad!

  3. Good to have you posting here again David.

    There was actually a substantial Labour vote here in 1979 but as discussed, much of this from Haverhill (Suffolk West) and the Tories polled over 40,000. Around 2010, Pete Whitehead estimated the Tories would only be about 4% down from 1979 in that swollen seat so it does seem to be a place they’ve got pretty close back to where they were.

  4. JJB – Thanks. I wish I had more time to post but since my election to the county council in May 2013 I have been inundated with work. I’m also still a borough councillor – until 07 May 2015 at least – so I effectively have two jobs. At 70 this can be a bit of a struggle at times. Still, nobody forced me to stand for election way back in 1997. Mustn’t Grumble!

  5. 11 candidates shortlisted for Conservative ppc here. (no names unfortunately). Replacement for Ruffley stand-down. Timetable :-
    Interviews Saturday, October 25.

    A SGM of the association will vote by secret ballot to decide the candidate on Tuesday, November 4.

    Article here:-


  6. Three-time parliamentary failure in Bury St Edmunds, Mark Ereira-Guyer has announced in the East Anglian Daily Times that he is no longer the Green candidate for Ipswich. The reason given is that Ben Gummer MP is ‘dedicated and hardworking’ and Mark hasn’t ‘got the heart’ to take him on next May. Isn’t that nice?

    At the same time, the West Suffolk Green Party has called for David Ruffley MP to resign with immediate effect. This story appears in the Bury Free Press on the same day. are the two stories in any way connected? Yes, of course they are!

    The West Suffolk Green Party is a Mark Ereira-Guyer front organisation, so the demand for David’s resignation is just the first salvo in Mark’s 4th attempt to win Bury St Edmunds. He cannot announce his candidacy just yet as the replacement Conservative candidate will not be known until 04 November.

    Mark will denounce whoever is selected from the ‘shortlist’ of 11, but the line of attack must fit the new candidates profile. It will either be an head office A list carpetbagger or a local councillor with a blemished track record. Mark will already be aware that Sarah Stamp – the only Tory councillor Mark likes – has already ruled herself out as she is vice-chair of the local association.

    In 2010, Mark was last of the five candidates, losing his deposit. He won’t win next May but there is no point in telling him this, as it wouldn’t be believed. There is also future council elections to consider, so a high-energy campaign will keep Mark’s name in the spotlight.

    Mark – you are no Douglas Carswell!

  7. Conservative shortlist

    Johanna Churchill (Lincolnshire Cllr, shortlisted in South Cambridgeshire)
    James Cleverly (London Assembly Member)
    Helen Whately (shortlisted in Wealden, South Cambridgeshire, NE Hampshire, longlisted in SE Cambridgeshire)
    Zehra Zaidi (2009 Euro candidate in South West)

    Selection on November 4th

  8. So nobody from remotely nearby? Poor show.

  9. Is this a seat where UKIP could get a strong finish? I don’t see them as challenging given how safe it is for the Tories though.

    In the borough they seem to have built a bit of a local base in Haverhill, which falls in the West Suffolk seat.

  10. I have met James Cleverly. This certainly isn’t the right seat for him. He’s a saarf London streetfighter type who would be far better suited to a seat on his own patch. If a safe seat in Bromley or Bexley doesn’t show up, he’d be a superb candidate in Eltham or somewhere in North Kent. He’d have been good in Rochester too.

  11. you never know! i never thought a guy called rushi sunak would be selected to fight Richmond (yorkshire).

  12. Ultra-safe NE Hants and Wealden have also selected Asian candidates.

  13. One of the three female candidates will be selected. My hunch is it will be Helen Whately. She gave a good account of herself against Ed Davey in Kingston and Surbiton in 2010 and her profile seems to fit this constituency.

    Personally, I’m sad to see the end of David Ruffley as our MP. I always worked well with him in my role as an Independent borough councillor in Bury since 2003 and a county councillor since 2013.

    The only local Tory councillor who could step up to oche is Sarah Stamp. But as the vice-chairman of the local association

  14. Sorry – pressed the wrong button! …and a busy mum of three, Sarah didn’t want the job. I don’t blame her.

    UKIP could be second – but the Tory will win.

  15. The Daily Mail may have ruffled a few feathers with this:

    “Sleepy Suffolk gets a taste of the erotic

    If you want to see how much the Tory Party has changed, go to quintessentially Olde English Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk on Tuesday.

    Favourite to succeed retiring local Conservative MP David Ruffley is the exotically named Zehra Zaidi – a young law student and human rights worker with family roots in India and Pakistan. She speaks French, Urdu and Italian – very handy when buying turnips in the town market.”


  16. “Taste of the erotic” …. right. If she’s selected, she’ll be another BME candidate in a very safe Tory seat.

  17. Hmmm… I’ll be charitable and assume that it’s a typo and they meant to say ‘a taste of the exotic’ (at least by ‘sleepy Suffolk’ standards anyway).

  18. It’s the sort of article which would have been commonplace in the 80s maybe but it’s very patronising at best & outdated now.

  19. The Tories seem to be following Labour’s lead in parachuting metropolitan types into safe seats like this – the equivalent of Kitty Usher in Burnley, Miliband in Doncaster etc.

  20. Johanna Churchill won the Conservative selection on second round.

  21. Female Tory candidates are cleaning up in East Anglia.

  22. I will investigate turnip sales on the Bury street market this Saturday morning. I doubt that it is a big seller. At least we are not being called swede-bashers! Must dash – the goat has done a poo on the mat in front of the open fire.

  23. Andrea – second ballot? I thought the Conservative Party believed in first-past-the-post. I’m confused.

  24. @David Nettleton

    Conservative selections use the exhaustive ballot system: multiple ballots eliminating the candidate in last place until somebody reaches the 50%+1 threshold.

    Last night Whately was last after the first ballot. They revoted with only Churchill, Cleverly and Zaidi on the ballot paper and Churchill got more than half of the votes at that point.

    I am not sure why they don’t save time and use AV

  25. Prediction – Bury St Edmunds 2015

    CON 40: UKIP 21: LAB 18: LD 15: GRN 6.

  26. I just spotted this MP’s wild eyes on last night’s Newsnight. It was very Alan B’stard. He also had a chalk stripe ’80s suit on. As a commentator in the Sunday papers said – “people just don’t know anyone like that in their everyday lives. Apart from a few older barristers, no-one looks and acts like a lot of MPs seem to think is the norm.”

  27. I personally can’t wait to see MPs with drug-hazed eyes wearing trackie bottoms and with roll ups stuck to their lower lips…

  28. I did see someone with trousers such as Lancs Observer describes on Saturday evening. However, he was playing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

  29. “I personally can’t wait to see MPs with drug-hazed eyes wearing trackie bottoms and with roll ups stuck to their lower lips…”

    With respect that sounds like exactly the attitude Lancs Observer is criticising.

    Not being a pompous arse does not mean you are going to be a chav.

  30. get a life guys! why shouldn’t a chap wear chalk stripe suits if he wants…we are fast becoming a like some comedic socialist state from a monty pythonesque sketch. We’ll have MPs in dormitories issued pc-regulation “man/woman of the people” clothing to show they are “in touch”. I have never met anybody who dresses or sounds like Jacob Rees-Mogg, but i think he s a fine parliamentarian.

  31. I’m sorry I just think the whole thing is getting silly. What I want is high quality people as MPs, first and foremost.

    I am not very interested in what suits they wear (or don’t), what school they went to or whether they have rolling eyes or not. I want people who bring real talent and purpose to the House of Commons and will be good at the job of legislating and holding the government to account. Honesty and integrity would be nice as well.

    Btw I don’t think we are necessarily getting that – in fact I have made it clear I am unimpressed by a lot of MPs. But trying to make them confirm to some kind of risible social stereotype of ‘Mr/Mrs/Miss Average’ is not going to help.

    If that’s what we want we may as well choose the Commons by lot and see how that works.

  32. “I have never met anybody who dresses or sounds like Jacob Rees-Mogg”

    You’ve clearly never worked in the City then

  33. I worked in the City for more than a decade but didn’t meet many people like JR Mogg there. You are far more likely to meet a sharp-tongued (and sharp witted) Essex/Herts man on most trading floors.

  34. I agree they aren’t that common now, but it depends which part of the city. The more old fashioned bits such as the LME (Farage’s former stamping ground) still has the odd Rees-Mogg type broker. And also the strange “fixers” you meet from time to time – often well connected ex diplomats who are now flogging arms etc to the Saudis and such. I met one such extraordinary character earlier this year.

  35. I worked on a bond desk for a number of years and never saw anyone in the dark blue double breasted suits JRM habitually wears! His couture is out of the 1940s, except that the suits always seem just a little too large for him.

    he definitely adds to the house of commons with his clear diction, well-argued speeches and knowledge of procedure and all that.

  36. True. The stockbroker (Justin Urqhart-Stewart?) who appeared on the BBC’s Working Lunch used to wear chalk stripes or just red braces over his pink shirt and big starched white collar but even by 1995 it looked old hat. Btw I was more worried by this MP’s manic eyes than his attire. At least he’s now received treatment, to add to Falkirk’s finest and the perve of Portsmouth. I recall when I questioned – on the old site – whether this MP’s mental health problems meant he should stand down, someone suggested we should have more MPs with mental health problems in order to be representative (!)

  37. I really don’t think that is one of the areas where we have a problem of under-representation among MPs.

  38. We can agree on that….no need for a gay quota either

  39. David Chappell will again be the Liberal Democrat candidate and I believe UKIP has also re-selected their 2010 candidate.

  40. David — you may find my candidates’ spreadsheet useful:


  41. hhhhh

  42. moo

  43. Labour will probably regain second place here, and UKIP will no doubt do fairly well. My current prediction here would be-
    Tory- 42%
    Labour- 19%
    UKIP- 17%
    Lib Dem- 14%
    Green- 8%

  44. The LD candidate is David Chappell not ‘Steve’ as indicated above. He was the candidate in 2010.

    David is a Monkey Hanger by birth. No offence, Hartlepool!

  45. prediction for 2015-

    Con- 44%
    UKIP- 19%
    Lab- 18%
    Lib- 10%
    Green- 8%
    Other- 1%

  46. Not bad Robbie. You won’t be far out. I agree with your batting order at least. There may not be an ‘Other’ but it doesn’t matter.

  47. Conservative Hold. 14,000 maj.

  48. Good Tory result here probably helped by the departure of David Ruffley with their vote share now a tad above 1992 with the majority nearly 6% higher. From a 2015 perspective it is sort of amazing that Labour managed to get within 368 votes here in 1997.

    It was also an ok result from the Greens, their vote probably comes more from the villages surrounding Stowmarket if there is any correlation between local election results and general election results. Interestingly they actually do fairly badly locally in Stowmarket proper which leads me to believe the Green local vote in the more rural areas around the town is probably of the NIMBY type and perhaps due to popular local figures. I wonder if there is a large crossover between Green local voters and Conservative general voters however odd that may sound given the massive gulf between the parties.

    It doesn’t look like natural Green (or left wing) territory to me and those Green coloured wards on the Boundary Assistant’s map of local election results do look like an anomaly compared to the rest of rural southern/eastern England. Though if someone knows more about the area I’d be interested to know more.

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)