South East Cambridgeshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 28845 (48.5%)
Labour: 9013 (15.1%)
Lib Dem: 12008 (20.2%)
Green: 3047 (5.1%)
UKIP: 6593 (11.1%)
MAJORITY: 16837 (28.3%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Cambridgeshire. Parts of South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire council areas.

Main population centres: Ely, Burwell, Fulbourn, Isleham, Linton, Milton, Soham, Waterbeach.

Profile: This covers the rural areas between Cambridge and Newmarket. The main population centres are the Cathedral city of Ely, one of the smallest cities in England, and the town of Soham, now sadly best known for the murder of two schoolgirls by a local school caretaker in 2002. It is an area of agricultural fenland, dotted with dormitory villages for nearby Cambridge. The west of the seat runs right up to the suburbs of Cambridge and includes part of Cambridge airport and the technolology and biotech hub of Cambridge Science village.

Politics: The seat has been held by the Conservative party since its creation in 1983, initially by the former foreign secretary Francis Pym, but for most of its existence by James Paice who retired in 2015.

Current MP
LUCY FRAZER (Conservative) Educated at Cambridge University. Barrister. First elected as MP for Cambridgeshire South East in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 27629 (48%)
Lab: 4380 (8%)
LDem: 21683 (38%)
UKIP: 2138 (4%)
Oth: 1772 (3%)
MAJ: 5946 (10%)
Con: 26374 (47%)
Lab: 11936 (21%)
LDem: 17750 (32%)
MAJ: 8624 (15%)
Con: 22927 (44%)
Lab: 13714 (26%)
LDem: 13937 (27%)
UKIP: 1308 (3%)
MAJ: 8990 (17%)
Con: 24397 (43%)
Lab: 15048 (26%)
LDem: 14246 (25%)
Oth: 278 (0%)
MAJ: 9349 (16%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
LUCY FRAZER (Conservative) Educated at Cambridge University. Barrister.
HUW JONES (Labour)
JONATHAN CHATFIELD (Liberal Democrat) Contested South East Cambridgeshire 2010.
Comments - 65 Responses on “Cambridgeshire South East”
  1. James Paice is to stand down at the next general election. I don’t think the Tories are in any danger at the next election here, since the Lib Dems have clearly fallen back and will need to divert resources to Cambridge, and the Labour candidate is less likely to actively drive our vote to them.

    I’d imagine there will be a lot of competition for a seat like this. Nick Clarke, the leader of the county council, might be interested and lives here. Nick Hillman, who works for David Willetts and stood in Cambridge in 2010, has maintained an interest in Cambridgeshire politics, so he might also take a shot at it, although he might suffer for his liberal instincts.

  2. Huw Jones selected for Labour.

  3. The Conservatives retained Ely East in yesterday’s East Cambs DC by-election. The results were as follows:

    Con: 418 (37.3%)
    LD: 322 (28.7%)
    UKIP: 146 (13.3%)
    Lab: 135 (12.0%)
    Ind: 93 (8.3%).

    Ely East is a tightly fought marginal between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. Adopting the ‘highest vote’ methodology, the 2011 result was:

    Con: 613 (42.0%)
    Lib Dem: 541 (37.1%)
    Lab: 306 (21.0%)

  4. when are the tories choosing their candidate?

  5. Can anyone posit why the Tory vote wouldn’t suffer as much as a 10% retreat here with the MP retiring and the UKIP last time at fairly low levels?

    I can find no evidence that the LD’s ocal party have chosen a candidate as yet…

  6. Tories are presumably selecting relatively soon, since Heidi Allen (district councillor in SE Cambs) has a website up claiming to be on the shortlist.

  7. Conservative Home informs us that the constituency association will pick the four people who’ll contest the open primary today.

    The open primary itself is in two weeks, on Saturday 7th December.

    I haven’t heard anything about the Wealden selection process yet.

  8. Can a 5 – 6k majority really be classified as safe?

  9. Semi-marginal at best I would have thought.

    I think the Tories do have a good chance of increasing their majority here in 2015 and there could be a big rise for Labour here given the circumstances surrounding their candidate here in 2010.

  10. I hadn’t even realised that the LDs had managed to get the majority down into this sort of territory, since this had always been a safe Tory seat before, as was its nearest predecessor Cambridgeshire (although that was astonishingly won by Labour in 1945). It’s particularly surprising given the generally rather centrist Conservatism of Jim Paice, but less surprising given the LDs’ local government presence. I agree that despite (or, who knows, even because of? I don’t know how good a constituency MP he’s been in recent years) Paice’s retirement, the Tories will win here by quite a bit more in 2015.

  11. It’s safe-ish, in the context of the next general election at least, as it seems the LDs are unlikely to make any great headway.
    In that sense, this is still an attractive seat to go for if you’re on the candidate’s list.

  12. I feel that the majority here will stay in the four figures in 2015, probably about 7,000 I think with a new Tory candidate.

  13. Yes, I think 7,000 is a very sensible prediction.

  14. Something like this perhaps-
    Conservative- 46%
    Liberal Democrats- 32%
    Labour- 13%
    UKIP- 6%
    Others- 3%

  15. Actually I’ll amend that as the above prediction would put it a little over 8,000 on the same turnout as 2010-

    Con- 45%
    Lib Dem- 32%
    Lab- 14%
    UKIP- 6%
    Others- 3%

    So that would be a majority of over 7,000.

  16. It needs to be remembered that in 2010 the Labour Party suspended its own candidate here. While obviously there would have been movement from Lab to LD, this became far more so, resulting in the narrowing of the Con lead on the back of the Labour vote collapsing to the LDs.

    To my mind, the 2010 result here was a one-off. I’d expect the Lab & LD shares to be roughly level here in 2015, as they were in 1992, 1997 and 2001.

  17. Thanks James. I knew there were 3 such instances, but I’d forgotten that it was here where the 3rd instance of it was.

  18. If North West Norfolk was one, where was the third?

  19. I don’t know if the Labour vote can go back up that much in one go- I think it will be +7% in 2015, then maybe +9% in 2020.

  20. I thought that something like that had also happened in Moray, John. Certainly the Labour vote has dropped like a stone in that constituency since the party came quite close to defeating the SNP in 2001; I seem to remember an extremely unwise or offensive remark on Twitter, or something of that sort.

  21. @ The Results

    Becaue of the specific problem with the candidate in 2010 the Labour vote here declined by a higher proportion (64% of the 2005 VI) than any other seat. Unless you believe that the 2010 result was due to some other trend, it seems logical to expect some reversion in 2015 – the choice of candiate 5 years earlier is unlikely to influece many voters.

    Labour polled around 20% here in the context of taking around 35% nationally in both 2005 and 1992. To my mind it makes sense to expect something similar in 2015.

  22. I suspect that may be optimistic. 15 seems more likely to me.

  23. There was also the very odd case of Northampton South where the Labour csndidate appeared to write off his chances and apparently hardly ran a campaign although the seat is marginal.

  24. yes, his campaign was widely derided & the result, though poor, was considerably less disastrous than some expected. With Binley retiring it is a bit of a decent outside chance.

  25. The majority in Northampton S is just over 6,000 isn’t it? If South Northants wasn’t created, Binley’s majority might have been larger. Now that both Northampton seats are concentrated on the town itself, it certainly gives Labour a fighting change in the future. Sally Keeble could do that as early as 2015 in Northampton N.

  26. The particular circumstances of 2010 definitely had an impact – the Tories were petrified for a few days that they could actually be in trouble due to the disappearance of the Labour vote.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the Tory majority ought to increase. The Lib Dems have held up better here than in some neighbouring areas and they actually managed to more or less hold steady in the South Cambs bits of the seat this year, but that depended upon tactical votes that will be harder to obtain in 2015 and they slipped back notably round Ely.

    If we can get on level pegging with the Lib Dems, that would be an extremely good result, because there aren’t that many areas of Labour strength in the seat. A decent rebound ought to be on the cards, but the Lib Dems have a stable base in most parts of the seat, whereas we’re move dependent upon the Cambridge suburbs.

  27. Conservative shortlist

    Heidi Allen (St Alban Cllr)
    Paul Bristow (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland in 2010, former Hammersmith Cllr, former Conservative Future Chairman)
    Lucy Frazer (from Camden, shortlisted in Croydon)
    Charlotte Vere (shortlisted in Croydon)

    Longlisted: Antonia Cox, Christine Emmett, Rachel Joyce, Steve Mastin, Robin Millar, Wendy Morton and Helen Whately

    Open Primary on Saturday 7th December

  28. No locals….? Thats tempting fate…. is this a pseudo-AWS list I see… with token males?

    Contains Ely which was Clement Freud’s old seat

  29. well his seat was the Isle of Ely which was basically much of the existing NE Cambs + the city of Ely itself. The vast majority of this seat was in Cambridgeshire (Francis Pym’s seat) before 1983.

  30. Ely is about 20,000 people so maybe a quarter of the constituency, I guess

  31. Good chance of a woman being the next MP for this seat with 3 out of 4 contenders for the Tory candidature being female.

  32. Lucy Frazer won Tory nomination

  33. The Tory version of Lisa Smart.. LoL

  34. I note Ms Frazer is a QC.

  35. … and studied at Cambridge.

  36. and travelled on a train that once passed through this constituency…

  37. The MP for this seat from 1983 until his retirement in 1983 as well as one of its predecessors Cambridgeshire for many years was of course Francis Pym, who made those famous remarks in the 1983 election about governments with large majorities which may well have cost him his place in Thatcher’s new cabinet.

  38. I meant his retirement in 1987.

  39. All of which is written at the top of the page. Why are you wasting our time by repeating it?

  40. There’s no need to be so nasty.

  41. Allegations of miscount into Conservative primary

    The valid votes in the final round were 132. I don’t know how many members the association has but it doesn’t suggest a great turnout among not party members. Unless the turnout was very low among Tory members.

  42. LibDem PPC is Jonathan Chatfield

  43. He contested the seat in 2005 and 2010. Before that Sal Brinton was the LD candidate in 1997 and 2001.

  44. He’s also the district councillor for Histon & Impington, next up in 2015.

  45. I remain true to the prediction that I made for this seat a short while ago. As this is good territory for UKIP, they should really get at least 5%, and I’ve got them on for 6%.

  46. Sebastian Kindersley named as LibDem PPC. What happened to the last one?

  47. Apologies – SK must be in Lansley’s seat, ready for a by-election.

  48. My guess would be that this is the weakest of Cambridge’s four rural seats for the Tories, in that in the odd event that a) UKIP ran an exceptional campaign and b) the LD vote held fairly steady they could be in trouble. Obviously this is pretty much out of the question for 2015, the big question after that is whether the Liberal vote holds for them as the main opposition or whether Labour resurges and the seat becomes safer again for the Tories. I think ECB’s post above is very much accurate wrt 2015, Labour might be able to hit level pegging next year but it seems unlikely given that this isn’t one of the areas where the Liberals have dissolved into nothingness, even though they’ve clearly taken a hit.

  49. Before the last election this looked like a seat where the Lib Dems might have had long term hopes of eventually gaining it, but I guess those hopes have now been dashed for the foreseeable future.

    I’ll be very surprised if there isn’t an increased Tory majority here next year, even with a new candidate.

  50. This is exactly the sort of seat where the Liberal Democrats will crash next summer.

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