2015 Result:
Conservative: 22918 (42.9%)
Labour: 13120 (24.5%)
Lib Dem: 6227 (11.6%)
Green: 3746 (7%)
UKIP: 7289 (13.6%)
Others: 165 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 9798 (18.3%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. Most of the Canterbury council area, excluding Herne Bay.

Main population centres: Canterbury, Whitstable, Sturry.

Profile: The seat consists of the city of Canterbury, the surrounding rural villages and the coastal town of Whitstable. Canterbury is a religious and tourist centre, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The cathedral and St Augustines Abbey are a world heritage site and major tourist attractions. The city is also home to the University of Kent as well as several smaller universities. Whitstable is a tourist town and fishing port, most associated with oyster fishing..

Politics: Canterbury is a solid Conservative seat, having been represented continuously by the party since the First World War. The majority over Labour was reduced to under 10000 at the nadir of Tory fortunes in 1997 and 2001, but has grown since then.

Current MP
JULIAN BRAZIER (Conservative) Born 1953, Dartford. Educated at Wellington College and Oxford University. Former management consultant. Contested Berwick-upon-Tweed 1983. First elected as MP for Canterbury in 1987. PPS to Gillian Shepherd 1990-1993. Opposition whip 2001-2002, work and pensions spokesman 2002-2003, home affairs spokesman 2003, international affairs spokesman 2003-2005, transport spokesman 2005-2010. Under secretary for Defence since 2014. Is a member of the right-wing Cornerstone group. Served 13 years in the territorial army and was awarded the TD in 1993.
Past Results
Con: 22050 (45%)
Lab: 7940 (16%)
LDem: 16002 (33%)
UKIP: 1907 (4%)
Oth: 1310 (3%)
MAJ: 6048 (12%)
Con: 21113 (44%)
Lab: 13642 (29%)
LDem: 10059 (21%)
GRN: 1521 (3%)
Oth: 1252 (3%)
MAJ: 7471 (16%)
Con: 18711 (41%)
Lab: 16642 (37%)
LDem: 8056 (18%)
GRN: 920 (2%)
Oth: 803 (2%)
MAJ: 2069 (5%)
Con: 20913 (39%)
Lab: 16949 (31%)
LDem: 12854 (24%)
Oth: 933 (2%)
MAJ: 3964 (7%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JULIAN BRAZIER (Conservative) See above.
HUGH LANNING (Labour) Former Deputy General Secretary of the PCS union.
JAMES FLANAGAN (Liberal Democrat) Born Canterbury. Educated at Bath University. Government affairs advisor. Canterbury councillor since 2007.
STUART JEFFREY (Green) Qualified nurse and NHS manager. Contested Maidstone and the Weald 2010.
ROBERT COX (Socialist Party GB)
Comments - 427 Responses on “Canterbury”
  1. Frederic I owe you an apology! Cannot take in how well Corbyn has performed – my only consolation is that I wasn’t the only one to doubt a Labour win here

  2. Incidentally, the Canterbury Gazette tied itself up in knots by trying to write off the polls saying that Labour were ahead here. They are celebrating 300 years’ history: this wasn’t the proudest moment in their genrally proud history.

  3. Yes Frederic, it’s not like you haven’t been going on about Labour winning here for the last 10 years, to widespread derision. Persistence pays off sometimes, well done. A truly remarkable result. Just shows how much bigger some of these provincial universities are getting.

  4. I also congratulate Frederic on this call. Odd that Lab’s potential here had not shown previously – perhaps it was masked by the strong Lib Dem vote that used to exist in this seat.

  5. Most astonishing result of the night in my view. Although explained to some extent by the demographic change Frederic mentioned, and the inclusion of three ‘universities’ in the constituency.

    One of my great-nephews studied in Canterbury recently, and it is said that Sir Julian Brazier is seen as somewhat of a dinosaur figure

  6. Seats won by a party for the first time:

    Canterbury for Labour
    Stoke South, Mansfield, Ochil and South Perthshire for the Conservatives
    Foyle for Sinn Fein

    Difficult to define sometimes due to seat boundaries changing substantially. If I’ve missed some it’ll probably be first-time Tory seats in Scotland, since those boundaries seem to change all over the place.

  7. Anyone make any money on here then? 😉

  8. Plop
    Lab obviously won Sheffield Hallam for the first time

  9. I think this is similar to Warwick & Lemington, a former Conservative stronghold that went Labour for the first time in 1997.

    I would imagine that Canterbury would have voted Labour in 1997 and it would have been the rural wards that kept the constituency Conservative.

    University towns are getting less Conservative irrespective of any affluence.

  10. I think part of the reason I was so sceptical of the rumours that Labour might take this is that the part of the seat I am most familiar with is Whitstable. That is not the part of the seat that voted for Labour!

  11. I would have thought Labour would have been fairly close in the town of Whitstable itself. They had a councillor elected there in Gorrell Ward in 2015; a year they generally performed poorly in Kent. Seaside towns do tend to lean to the right overall, but they sometimes have a sizable artistic/hipster vote that makes left wing parties competitive. Witness Hythe on the south Kent coast which has recently been marginal between the Conservatives and the Greens, and the fact that Labour won Margate in this year’s Kent CC elections.

    It will have been Canterbury itself that decided this seat. With hindsight the fact that Kent University’s exam period didn’t finish until after the election might well have been significant for the result here. The exam for the module I taught on this year was not until June 16th. Similar might well have been the case for the other universities in Canterbury. I didn’t mention anything prior to the election as I never believed this seat would be that close.

  12. With regards to seaside towns the delapidation factor should work in Labour’s favour too – although it says quite a bit that the Tories did hang onto yarmouth, margate, hastings, blackpool, skegness, colwyn bay at the last election, although Labour did win Rhyl back

  13. Regarding Hastings I presume Labour carried the Borough of Hastings and Rudd only held on because of the Rye part of the seat.

  14. “With regards to seaside towns the delapidation factor should work in Labour’s favour too”

    Hardly. Look at the seats where Labour gained from the Tories, and where the Tories gained from Labour. The second list, as well as being much smaller, is significantly more deprived than the former.

  15. You could argue that now the delapidation factor isn’t likely to aid Labour and if you look at the seats the Tories won from Labour not just in 2017 but 2015 too, they mostly seem to be far from well off – far more so than the seats that went the other way

  16. “University towns are getting less Conservative irrespective of any affluence.”

    Including smaller but emerging ones like Truro & Falmouth. Could explain why they performed well there on the 8th. Assuming the university keeps expanding it could go their way, especially with both campuses in Falmouth and Penryn. Plus it’s an arty institute so more likely to favour Labour.

  17. Labour won a seat in Gorrell Ward in the 2015 Canterbury City Council elections, true. The Conservatives won the other two.

    And looking at Whitstable as a whole, the 2015 council election result was one Labour councillor and eight Conservative councillors.

    Gorrell itself includes the town centre, which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered a “dilapidated seaside town” and the actual centre itself has been subject of an influx of wealthy, left-leaning middle class Londoners since the mid-1990s. A three bedroom terraced property recently sold there for £500,000. So not too surprising the town known as Islington-on-Sea backs a party led by the Member for Islington North.

    And having spoken to people who saw the referendum count (constituency voted Remain, the district – which includes Herne Bay in the North Thanet seat – voted Leave) the breakdown was apparently urban Canterbury very Remain, Whitstable Leave, villages leaning Leave (those three areas are roughly equal in electorate, for all intents) whereas Herne Bay was very Leave.

  18. I tend to think it’s best for all religious leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, not to poke their nose in to politics.

    Nevertheless it’s highly amusing that many of the Tories tut-tutting about Justin Welby’s criticisms the other day were the ones cheering loudest when various rabbis were socking it to Jeremy Corbyn the other week.

    On Canterbury in particular, the Labour MP here was hinting yesterday that she might resign in protest at all the flack she’s getting from her CLP re her stance on anti-Semitism. A by-election here would certainly be very interesting indeed, perhaps even more so than Peterborough. On a by-election turnout timed carefully to minimise the student vote, the Tories ought to have a very good chance of winning the seat back unless they reselected Julian Brazier.

  19. Personally I’d welcome more people to speak at the TUC whether it were religious leaders or not. I don’t think it should be an ideological barrier that some people can’t hurdle as Ben Bradely was seeming to suggest. I’d welcome Ben to go himself.

    I believe the criricism have been withdrawn after a backlash from many on the left including Owen Jones. Rosie has said Corbyn’s even spoken to her to offer his support. If she does reaifn and it’s soon it would have to be Oct half term or Christmas to guarentee student break. I’ve campaigned in November and January with the dark nights and cold weather it’s not encouraging for a high turnout. It’s 4pm but feels like 7 no one answers doors.

  20. Complaints that someone in a supposedly neutral office is “too political” are never really about the neutrality of that office – it’s just a way of playing the man, not the ball. If the Tories were more honest they would explain why they disagreed with Welby, rather than just attempting to silence him. (It’s a similar story to the Speaker’s comments on Trump a couple of years ago.)

  21. Paxman spotted canvassing for the LibDems in Canterbury.

    Scaring voters to turnout is a new method!

  22. I’m surprised Paxman was out canvassing, but I’m not surprised he’s plumped for the Lib Dems this time. He was open post retirement about being a One Nation Tory, plus he also admitted to voting Remain. Quite frankly, who else was he going to vote for?

  23. @Tristan

    No he said he was going to vote Leave but changed his mind at the ballot box and reluctantly voted Remain. He also said that the government should get on with respecting the result of the referendum and has also called the EU ‘an awful institution’. Sounds more like the demographic that would stick with the Tories so it’s pretty surprising he’s campaigning for the ultra-Remain Lib Dems.

  24. In the leaked tape Jon Ashworth predicts Labour might hold on here. Labour lead in the MRP grew last night so it could happen

  25. Rosie Dufield has predicted the Tories will get a 15 or so majority. Interestingly she has the time tonight to go to London to appear on Peston which might hint she think her own seat is not critically going to fall.

  26. The YouGov MRP was pretty comfortable for Lab here so I guess they are feeling confident of holding this seat. Interesting that she is floating the idea of such a small Tory majority…wonder if that’s just her hunch. Farage said earlier that it would be Con with a 30-40 majority and I’d probably agree with that.

  27. Rosie Duffield is said to be one of two Labour MPs considering leaving the Party.

    She said she has received no help from Sir Keir or Labour HQ, after she supplied them with evidence of bullying by Labour Party members.

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