Castle Point

2015 Result:
Conservative: 23112 (50.9%)
Labour: 6283 (13.8%)
Lib Dem: 801 (1.8%)
Green: 1076 (2.4%)
UKIP: 14178 (31.2%)
MAJORITY: 8934 (19.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Essex. The Castle Point council area.

Main population centres: Canvey Island, Thundersley, South Benfleet, Hadleigh.

Profile: Castle Point is a South Essex seat on the Thames estuary, consisting of Canvey Island and the nearby towns of South Benfleet, Thundersley amd Hadleigh. The area expanded rapidly after the second world war as people moved out of London and it is a solid slice of owner-occupied, middle class commuterland (in the 2001 census it had the highest rate of owner-occupation of any seat in the country). Canvey Island is a seaside resort, attached to the mainland by bridge. To the west of the island there are oil and gas terminals, but this too is now largely residential.

Politics: For a comfortable Conservative seat Castle Point has a chequered history. It was originally held by Bernard Braine, the veteran Conservative MP and father of the House who had held the seat and its predecessors since the 1950s. He was succeeded in 1992 by Bob Spink, who enjoyed what appeared to be a rock solid majority of over 30%. However like many seats which people assumed to be unassailable Conservative fortresses it fell to Labour in the 1997 landslide. Bob Spink retook the seat for the Conservatives in 2001 but left the Conservative party in 2008 over ructions within the local party, with Spink claiming he had resigned and the Conservatives claiming the whip had been removed. He was later described as a UKIP MP, although it is unclear whether he ever actually joined the party. In 2010 he stood unsuccessfully as an Independent, but lost to the new Conservative candidate Rebecca Harris. In 2015 it looked possible that the seat would again be represented by UKIP, for whom it was a key target seat. In the event they fell long short of the Conservatives, despite Castle Point being one of their strongest performances in the country.

Current MP
REBECCA HARRIS (Conservative) Born 1967, Windsor. Educated at Bedales School and LSE. Former special advisor to Tim Yeo. First elected as MP for Castle Point in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 19806 (44%)
Lab: 6609 (15%)
LDem: 4232 (9%)
BNP: 2205 (5%)
Oth: 12174 (27%)
MAJ: 7632 (17%)
Con: 22118 (48%)
Lab: 13917 (30%)
LDem: 4719 (10%)
UKIP: 3431 (7%)
Oth: 1617 (4%)
MAJ: 8201 (18%)
Con: 17738 (45%)
Lab: 16753 (42%)
LDem: 3116 (8%)
UKIP: 1273 (3%)
Oth: 883 (2%)
MAJ: 985 (2%)
Con: 19489 (40%)
Lab: 20605 (42%)
LDem: 4477 (9%)
Oth: 1301 (3%)
MAJ: 1116 (2%)

2015 Candidates
REBECCA HARRIS (Conservative) See above.
JOE COOKE (Labour) Educated at Liverpool John Moore University. Carer and former systems analyst. Former Castle Point councillor.
SEREENA DAVEY (Liberal Democrat) Public affairs account director.
JAMIE HUNTMAN (UKIP) Born 1968. Small businessman. Essex councillor since 2013.
Comments - 213 Responses on “Castle Point”
  1. I don’t really dispute any of that GT but I’m quite fond of Andy’s lists and would urge him to carry on posting such stuff

  2. UKIP didn’t even come close here in the end- a big anti-climax for them after all the hype surrounding their main target seats- South Thanet, Boston and Skegness, Thurrock and here.

    I suspect UKIP failed here because they only managed to attract some of Spink’s old vote as and Independent in 2010 as well as the Lib Dem collapse which was never going to be enough to see them come anywhere near even realistically challenging for this seat. I think they’ll go for this seat again in 2020, but it is highly unlikely they will ever win here.

  3. I completely agree The Results. I was expecting this to be close, but a nearly 10k majority for the Tories- plus a 6% vote share rise- was very impressive. I will say that Rebecca Harris seems a good, hard working constituency MP.

    It’s important to remember that this seat doesn’t just cover Canvey Island (which appears ripe demographically speaking for UKIP), but also includes suburbs to the west of Southend such as Hadleigh, Thundersley and Benfleet. These areas are very middle of the road suburbia- not wealthy, but not really ‘left behind’ etc either.

  4. Castle Point CLP have nominated Corbyn as their leadership candidate!

    I have no words!

  5. As I’ll keep saying – maybe 10% of each CLP turns up to their nomination meeting. The results are almost meaningless.

  6. About 10% here would probably be single figures!

  7. Castle Point CLP had 146 members in 2010 – if it’s grown in line with the party nationally it’d have about 200 now.

    There are a few CLPs which are out of proportion to their election results locally – several Liverpool CLPs have only a couple of hundred members, while Hove has around 500 and Sheffield Hallam around 850.

  8. “As I’ll keep saying – maybe 10% of each CLP turns up to their nomination meeting. The results are almost meaningless”.

    Why do CLPs do it then?

  9. It’s traditionally been a big part of the leadership election process (when MPs had a third of votes, it was a way for local members to advise them on their preference) and if you can get a decent turnout it’s a good way of expressing a preference.

  10. At the last election Labour got 14% of the vote in a seat they (just) held in 1997. UKIP are now the main challenger.

    I have considerable doubts whether a lage Labour membership here will translate into winning the seat, particularly if it moves way to the left. A likelier scenario is that the Labour membership is indicative of a seat increasingly bitterly divided beween the left and the right,

  11. 73% for LEAVE in Castle Point.

  12. Former Mp for here Christine Butler has died aged 73.

  13. Bob Spink given 150 hours community service, £5,000 fine and a suspended sentence for electoral fraud.

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