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 - 437 Responses on “Canterbury”
  1. The YG extrapolations suggest that this would now be Labour’s best hope of a seat anywhere in Kent.

    Dover, Gravesham , Gillingham and Dartford are all projected to remain Tory .

  2. YouGov has the Conservatives 2% ahead here.

  3. Lancs Observer has knidly given us Ladbroke’s odds for the neighbouring seat of South Thanet. I am not into ion-line betting, so don’t know my way about the system.

    It would be helpful if sombody could post here the latest betting odds for this seat.

    Canterbury is clearly Labour’s best hope of a seat in Kent becasue of demographic changes.

    Keep an eye on the 24% of voters who are in further and higher education and how may jump on board a tidal wave voting trend as a result of the social media.

  4. Odds? Various on Oddschecker but taking the first shown, Bet365:

    Conservatives: 1/100
    Labour: 25/1
    Lib Dems: 28/1
    Greens: 250

  5. I have just looked at the YouGove rolling forecast. They have changed their prediction for Canterbury form Lean Tory to Lean Labour. On their current forecast Labour are 2% ahead.

    It looks as though Canterbury may be the one seat in Kent that the Conservatives will lose.

  6. I find the YouGov “Multi Level regression and post-stratification” fascinating, but it is important to bear in mind the wider context of other polling and also what their results at constituency level say.

    For Canterbury it’s
    Con 36-49%
    Lab 36-53%

    From this alone, you can see that there is still a wide range of possible results, so perhaps it would be best just to note that they seem fairly certain that there will be a swing of some sort to Labour in Canterbury.

    More generally their figures look good for Labour in the South and London, and good for the Tories in the Midlands and North.

  7. Thanks for the amplification, James..

    A lot depends on who will be turning out, particularly in a seat like this with its huge student vote..

    My personal feeling is that events during the election campaign are bringing out the young voters.

  8. I think Labours chances are way over hyped here, yes there is a significant student population but so do seats like Kingston and Colchester both those seats also have rough estates were Labour vote can come from as well where as Canterbury from what I have heard has one of the lowest crime rates in the U.K. Aside from the student areas the rest of the seat is Conservative and the seat has always elected Conservative MPs. Kingston and Colchester have elected Lib Dem MPs in recent years on the back of tactical Labour vote. Student towns that elect Labour MPs (Oxford, Cambridge) don’t just rely on the student vote for Labour, they have rough gritty areas that have drug and gang problems and knife crime.

  9. Yes, a 9% swing to Labour has to be extremely unlikely. It would take the LD vote collapsing further, to almost zero, AND the UKIP vote breaking more for Labour than for the Tories – or an appreciable Con to Lab swing, none of which are too likely.

  10. The fundamental point in Canterbury, whatever the result, is that there is a major and rapid demographic change going on in this seat. A 9% swing would be no more astonishing than what went on in Scotland in 2015.

    Yes the LibDem vote here has collapsed since 2010, if not to zero.

  11. I struggle to see the massive shfit from LDs to Labour – the parties are not exactly ‘overlappable’ in the same way that UKIP and Tory voters might be expected to be. Speaking generally, remember that in 2015 polls overestimated the amount of LD voters Labour would take significantly.

  12. Rumours that votes are VERY CLOSE between Labour and the Tories in Canterbury! Yes, CANTERBURY!

    FLIPPING HECK!!!!!!!


  14. I cannot believe it.

    Canterbury has fallen to Labour.


  15. If Labour have gained Canterbury, this is AMAZING!!!!!

  16. Confirmed. Labour gain. The most extraordinary result in this election.

  17. Congratulations to Labour for winning Canterbury.

    I was pushed into caution by other people commenting on this site; but I am not at all surprised that Labour have won Canterbury. I have been going on about demographic change in this seat for ages.

  18. Well done Frederic Stansfield for calling a future labour win in this seat.

    Remarkable result here.

  19. Grt call Frederic.

  20. Lib Dems gain OxWAb

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. Anyone make any money on here then? 😉

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

  29. 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.

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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

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

  34. “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.

  35. 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

  36. “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.

  37. 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.

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