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. I live in Mid Sussex and I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t vote to Remain. Bromley might also vote Remain given that it’s quite a wealthy demographic these days, different to Bexley.

  2. There was a little discussion on Today in Parliament tonight in effect on behalf of the Law Commissions for England, Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland. One point was that they are considering whether Nominations Papers should still have to be handed in by hand. This needs to be considered perhaps in particular in relation to Canterbury because of the situation that occured in Blean Ward for the City Council elections in 2011, when the Returning Officer disqualified the Labour nominations in circumstances which were, shall we say, murky.
    I for one would, if I may express an opinion here, be very very unhappy if it were not possible to hand in Nomination Papers in person. I would add that there should be a legal requirement to provide a receipt before close of Nominations that they have been received and are to the best of the Returning Officer’s belief valid.

    Any arrangements for e.g. online recipt of nominations would have to be 100%, and I mean 100%, not 99.999%, foolproof and to provide an equally foolproof audit trail.

    Another issue concerns the now ubiquitous possibility of taking selfies. The Law Commissions are apparently saying that permission for this should be left to the discretion of the Returning Office (presumably delegated to the officer in charge of the Polling Station).

    Again in my opinion, I am aghast that there should be any such discretion. On this site, we have evidence from several threads (e.g. Blackburn and Pendle) that large numbers of postal votes are being taken to the Polling Station by single individuals, and that where these are dubiuous the police and returning officer are doing nothing about it.. Frankly, these officials appear to be treating voting irregularities not as an extremely serous matter which should be prosecuted save in exceptional circumstances, but as a trivial matter that can be overlooked in order not to upset ethnic minority memebrs (I would say to treat them grossly preferentially as compared to other groups). The consequence is that informal community leaders may exert heavy pressure for photographs showing that people have voted and very possibly how they have voted.

    Given the current problems concerning postal votes etc., in my view it should simply be illegal to photograph a ballot paper.

    There is one exception. Now that photographicl techniques are becoming so much cheaper and simpler, if absolutely reliable, simple and cheap means of photographing/scanning ballot papers are identified, the returning officeers and their staff should perhaps photogrph all ballot papers immediately before they are put into the ballor box. One side-product of this might be that the results would be almost immeidately available at the close of poll.
    Comments on all this very welcome! Of course, these photographs would not be available to any voter or, save in exceptional legal circumstances, to candidates or their agents.

    P.S. Isn’t it still a bit early to start discussing the European Referendum? Not least, I would be far from surprised if at least one country refuses to agree the current proposals, before we get anywhere near the referencudm stage.

  3. Further to Maxim’s earlier question (and having grown up in Essex)- it’s completely possible that every Essex parliamentary seat will vote to ‘leave’. Essex is a pretty Eurosceptic place. However, if anywhere bucks the trend, it will be the better off commuter towns- Chelmsford, as you say, maybe Brentwood and Ongar. Southend West is a possibility too.

  4. Saffron Walden too possibly.

  5. Possibly- it’s by far the ‘poshest’ Essex seat, with quite a bit of old money. That said, it’s not really prime commuter land, and it is very much small town, rural England. Both these factors make a ‘leave’ vote more likely there. It is a gorgeous part of the country.

  6. Tristan

    Are you a former Labour councillor from Lambeth?

  7. “Bromley might also vote Remain given that it’s quite a wealthy demographic these days, different to Bexley.”

    that’s true, I will say Orpington would say leave and Bromley and Chistehurst would be a knife edge, though Chislehurst is wealthy it’s very white van man terroritory, Bromley and Beckenham/West Wickham are more posh commuter belt. Sutton may be a bit divided too with Carshalton and Wallington most likely saying Leave whereas Sutton and Cheam is getting more posh like Kingston and Surbiton so that may say Remain.

    RA strongholds like Epsom, Upminster and Loughton are very likely to say leave.

  8. I think Sutton would vote to Remain although it might be close.

  9. It’s worth noting that saffron walden has been represented by one of the most pro-european tory mps in the house whilst that might be a moot indication of the seat’s likelihood of voting to stay in the EU I concur with the consensus that saffron walden, brentwood and chelmsford are the only essex seats that might vote to remain

  10. A lot of this could of course be more of a guide to the size of votes in comparison to other areas only.
    If Remain decisively win the whole thing, I guess they could carry nearly all the local authorities, even in Essex.
    If Leave actually win, or come very close, then a lot of this could be correct and they win the majority of LAs aswell.

    Not relevant, but I looked at the 1975 results and the only places to vote Out were 1 or two remote places in Scotland.

  11. I don’t know btw – I just think it wouldn’t be as nuanced as a General Election between the two main parties.
    I would think once there’s a significant gap it would tend to blanket nearly all the LAs,
    but I could be wrong and it may be close.

  12. @Joe James B

    Indeed. Fascinatingly, from a psephologist’s point of view at least, it is quite likely that the regional strength for each side will be essentially the reverse of 1975.

    Scotland was then the strongest area for Out. It looks very likely this time it will be the strongest area for In (though the fisheries issue may mean Shetland is still for Brexit?).

    The strongest area for Out in England last time were the cities and industrial areas, including London. This time it is likely that they, and especially London, will be the strongest areas for Remain. The shire counties – now likely to be strong Brexit territory, especially to the north of about London – all voted overwhelmingly Yes.

    The reasons for this are worth pondering.

  13. I think and feel relatively sure the result will be 51-55% remain.

    The only relative certainties about vote distribution are a big 60%+ remain vote in Scotland with biggest remain votes in inner London, Oxford, Cambridge and other metropolitan areas.

    Biggest leave votes will almost certainly be in Essex, Kent and Lincolnshire.

    In Tory constituencies where voters aren’t too bothered will probably produce narrow remain votes.

    Some old Labour areas like Stoke, Bassetlaw, Teeside etc could produce leave votes but only fairly narrow ones IMO.

    I think it will mainly come down to differential turnout and it could be disappointing e.g 56% as Jack Sheldon has alluded to.

    As for Canterbury I agree that Labour could get up to 30% in 2020 against a trend of doing badly elsewhere in Kent but that is Labour’s ceiling here for the foreseeable future.

  14. Jack, A Brown
    Good points.
    I agree Scotland and many of the large urban areas are more likely to be pro it.
    Turnout – difficult to say at this stage. It could end up higher than we think.
    At the moment I’d say a few points below a general election – around 55-60%.

  15. HH- nope. I wish I had committed myself to a vaguely interesting career such as politics but alas no.

  16. To add to what I wrote last night comparing the geography of 1975 to the likely geography of 2016…

    Back then it seems a lot of voters took a cue from the feeling within the parties they usually supported thought. So the then largely united Tory party’s voters seem to have been strongly for Yes, the supporters of the more divided but predominantly for Yes Labour Party less enthusiastically for Yes and the supporters of the then Brexit supporting SNP for No. Obviously most Liberal supporters were also for Yes.

    Party cues shouldn’t be discounted this time – that Cameron and Corbyn both favour staying in will carry voters (and had either come out for Brexit it would probably have pushed a large number of number of their supporters with them). But I think they will be less important this time, with the dividing lines more cultural than political.

    Generally the groups most in favour of staying in the EU will be those that are comfortable with globalisation and the reduced importance of national borders, and who have sufficient qualifications to take advantage of it. For these groups day-to-day interaction with the EU means doing business with European countries, mixing with people from different cultures (a massive positive for this group, if not for the second group) and receiving funding (e.g. for research at universities). It is hard for them to see what the downside is.

    Generally the groups most in favour of leaving the EU will be those that are less comfortable with globalisation and the reduced importance of national borders, who are uneasy about change and who are not sufficiently qualified to take advantage of the benefits the EU brings. For these groups day-to-day interaction with the EU means not being allowed to buy the type of lightbulbs they want and seeing people from Eastern Europe move in to the local area and posing a threat to community cohesion. It is hard for them to see what the upside is.

    This is a significant divide and, in my view, is likely to mean a far less uniform map than in 1975. Even if the UK votes for Brexit London – where many, if not most, people fall into the first of my two categories – is likely to vote overwhelmingly to stay in. On the other hand even if the UK votes to remain it is hard to see areas where people are predominantly on the other side of the cultural divide such as Norfolk and Lincolnshire voting to remain.

  17. “Biggest leave votes will almost certainly be in Essex, Kent and Lincolnshire.”

    I think parts of East Anglia and the south west could also produce considerable support for Leave. UKIP do/did have quite a fair amount of support there (local elections, Euro elections) although it didn’t translate into GE success.

    The traditional Labour heartlands of the north is still a bit of an unknown quantity. There’s obviously Euroscepticism, and maybe some voters would want to use the referendum to “kick” Cameron. But the extent of the Leave vote may not be as large as, e.g. Lincolnshire.

  18. Essex and Kent will probably be split. There are certainly parts of those counties that are likely to produce among the highest leave votes, but they also have parts that are well within the orbit of London and which will probably be less favourable towards Brexit (e.g.

  19. I didn’t realise the SNP used to be for Brexit.
    Not that it’s particularly relevant now.
    Interesting all the same.

    I think Jack makes a very good point that in 1975 people seemed to be taking the lead from their respective parties – as far as one can tell from the results.

  20. I think Jack’s post makes a lot of sense and I say that as one of those comparatively rare Oxbridge-educated professionals with anti-metropolitan views.

  21. Are the results going to be known at local level?

  22. I’d imagine the results will be released according to local authorities as a whole as well region (bit like they do with the Euro elections). Not sure about individual wards though.

  23. Anybody want a guess at what the best local authority for each side? I’ll try
    Remain = Edinburgh or Camden
    Leave = Clacton or Castle point

  24. Much of inner London will be vying for the highest % for Remain.

    Boston and Peterborough will surely be quite high for Leave as well.

  25. We know NI Unionists are heavily anti-EU, so somewhere like Lisburn might have a shot at highest Leave percentage.

    Edinburgh isn’t a bad shout for highest Remain.

  26. Lambeth, Haringey and Islington very high for remain.
    Tendring for exit,
    perhaps take a punt on the odd old Labour area like Rotherham or North Tyneside.

    But at this stage I really have not much idea how this is going to go, and I do think you’d get a blanket effect on results if there’s a significant lead.

  27. The AV referendum declared results by local authority in England (in Scotland and Wales they used the devolved assembly constituencies, because those elections were happening at the same time). I imagine that the results for the EU referendum will be declared by local authority as well.

    As for the highest vote share for Remain – I don’t actually know whether they will get a vote, but if they do, it will surely be Gibraltar.

  28. @Andy54

    Good point on Gibraltar. They do get a vote and will probably be very strongly for Yes – at the 2014 European elections the Lib Dems took 67.2% of the vote there!

  29. Will people in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man be able to vote in the EU referendum?

  30. @Andy JS

    No, as they have never become members of the EU like Gibraltar has.

    In some ways it seems unfair on the people of Gibraltar that they (due to the very small number of voters there) are in practice subject to whatever the UK decides. But Scots have tried to make that argument about Scotland and having said it’s a very tenuous one for them I suppose I must be consistent and maintain that line for Gibraltar, although as an overseas territory rather than part of the UK their case is somewhat different.

  31. @Jack Sheldon The interesting question, of course, is whether the argument remains tenuous if it’s England that’s forced to remain due to the rest of the UK voting to stay in.

  32. The relative size of the constituent bits of the UK suggest that a Leave lead in England would have to be very narrow in order to be outweighed by heavy Remain votes in the rest of the country.

    It’s surely more likely that the reverse would happen (although I suspect, as happened with the AV referendum, the differences between regions will be exaggerated, and all of them will probably end up voting the same way).

  33. @Simon

    For me, absolutely. In fact it would be less tenuous as the status quo would be retained – nobody would be being forced out against ‘their will’. But it would be interesting to see how people react.

    By the way, whilst I think the SNP argument is tenuous that doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious issue. A leave vote with a clear remain vote in Scotland (and NI for that matter) would leave a very messy situation.

  34. Back of the envelope calculations, assuming GE turnout, 65% remain in Scotland, 60% remain in NI, and 55% remain in Wales, suggest Leave might need about a 900,000 lead in England. That would translate to just over 52% in England.

    I can’t imagine the likes of Farage going quietly into the night if Leave got 52% in England but still lost.

  35. If London, Scotland and Northern Ireland all vote 60/40 in favour of Remain, can Leave still win without receiving unrealistic support in the rest of the UK?

    This spreadsheet shows it could still be very close without any of the other regions voting more than 54% Leave and mostly between 50% and 53%. With the values I’ve inputted Remain is only ahead by 50.65% to 49.35%.

    Conclusion: Remain can’t assume a comfortable victory simply because they may win a 60/40 margin in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  36. Yes but where is your evidence that the vote in London will be as close as that? IMO it could easily be more like 75:25. The outer boroughs may be more like 60:40 but most of inner London will have a very low vote for Leave.

  37. Lewisham, Westminster, kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster, Camden, Haringey, Lambeth, Southwark, Islington, Newham, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Brent can all quite conceivably vote at least 75% to remain.

    On the other hand Bexley and Havering are probably likely to vote leave. Andrew Rosindell and Gerard batten certainly have a pretty united front in Romford.

    Overall I’d guess London will vote about 66% to remain.

    There was an interesting study done in 2014 which shows some interesting patterns. Maybe it’s a bit out of date now with things a bit worse for remain then perhaps (a few surprises like Leicester East, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich in there) .

    In England outside of London Bristol West is unsurprisingly the most pro EU seat.

  38. I think Andy is saying it’s not a prediction but shows what credibly could happen even if large votes for Remain in those regions.
    Personally I doubt the SE would be against unless the whole thing turns out to be.

    My own personal view is I will probably back Remain but I feel quite deflated by this – although it’s not the PMs fault.
    I would be grateful if HH could elaborate more on whether trade barriers are likely if we left.

  39. Joe is right, I wasn’t making a prediction, I was just showing what is possible without using unrealistic figures — such as putting Leave at over 55% in any region, which I think is unlikely.

  40. Thanks Andy

    btw – not deflated. but weighing things up.

  41. I think Remain are likely to get at around 70% in Haringey, Hackney, Islington, Newham, Brent and Lambeth, and close to 70% in Camden, Hammersmith&Fulham, Westminster, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth.

  42. Kensington and Chelsea will be remain too.

  43. Bexley and Havering are the only London boroughs likely to vote Leave IMO. Hillingdon and Bromley could go either way. The rest are likely to vote Remain.

  44. I doubt Bexley will vote to Leave though I accept it could be pretty close. Sidcup and Bexleyheath are quite wealthy in parts and there will be plenty of Tories voting to Remain there, Erith/eastern Thamesmead have seen a large influx of ethnic minorities diluting the WWC flavour of the area.

    I agree Havering will probably vote for Leave but that’s probably the only London borough that will do so unless Leave gets a convincing national win.

  45. Bromley will vote Remain…the Cray Valley and Mottingham will be very staunchly for Leave but will be easily outvoted by the moneyed voters elsewhere (plus the very multi ethnic electorate in Penge, Crystal Palace and south Sydenham).

    Don’t know Hillingdon well but doubt Leave could win there overall. Hayes & Harlington is no longer a WWC seat.

  46. Are there any WWC parts of Sutton within the Carshalton & Wallington seat (UKIP got around 15% of the vote at the GE) that could vote Leave? Or have demographics shifted there?

  47. Its a mistake to judge who will vote to leave or remain in the EU merely by social class or income. The reasons people may vote to leave or remain are more nuanced than that. If we were to just look at political parties we have Conservatives politicians at either side of the vote. We have Labour Party politicians at either side of the vote. We even have the two most prominent Green Party politicians at either side of the vote. Therefore its impossible to predict percentages on boroughs given individual perspectives.

  48. In addition just because someone is from an Ethnic Minority doesn’t make them more likely to vote to remain in the EU. Remember there are vast amounts of people from NON-EU ethnic minorities who are discriminated against financially when it comes to bringing their friends and family over in comparison to EU residents. I believe UKIP was calling for an alternative immigration system which could be quite appealing to people who are from the CommonWealth or elsewhere.

  49. @D. Alex

    I wouldn’t extrapolate what the voters on each side look like from the politicians on each side. As somebody said the other day – I can’t remember who or where I read it – most leave voters don’t look like Daniel Hannan!

  50. Agree entirely JACK SHELDON, which was my point on guessing by wealth or class given the splits in the Party’s.

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)