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 think a lot of the forecast websites putting them on just 1 seat are nonsense. They will win at least 2 seats IMO although I don’t know which 2 are most likely. Not necessarily Farage.

  2. For two most likely I personally would have said Clacton and Boston and Skegness. The others are indeed uncertain.

  3. I think Clacton and Thurrock are rather the certain gains, with B&S and Grimsby ‘very likely’-s, and the rest somewhat less certain.

    But it’s true UKIP have enough good prospects to be sure of more than 1 seat (Clacton is a dead cert after all) and realistically anywhere from 2-10 could be possible.

  4. Yes, the models re UKIP are bizarre and wrong. Evan Davis said UKIP need 5m more votes to get a 2nd MP ha

  5. It’s possible the Greens and UKIP will poll about 6 million votes between them and get 3-4 MPs. That should put the voting system under a bit of pressure after May 7th.

  6. Well AV was very convincingly defeated. With the LibDems likely to be at least halved in size, I can’t see any referendum for at least a generation – if ever. Likewise with Scotland. Just because the SNP have changed their leader, they seem to think that entitles them to another referendum. If it had been over 55% Yes, I bet they wouldnt be saying the Scots deserve another say asap.

  7. Av would quite possibly make it even harder for ukip and the greens.

  8. I can’t understand how anyone can call Thurrock a certain UKIP gain. All polls there have shown it as a close 3-way contest, with the Conservatives consistently a narrow 3rd. UKIP’S poll ratings have slightly declined since the last constituency poll there, and l still think there’s a very strong chance Labour will squeak home in the end. No poll has yet put UKIP ahead in Grimsby, so while it’s a possible “very likely” is too strong.

  9. Grimsby is certainly not a ‘very likely’ UKIP gain and if anything their support is likely to edge down further in the next few weeks as people’s minds turn to electing a Government. I think Labour will have a clear win in that seat.

    This seat will be fought out between the Conservatives and UKIP presumably. In my view this seat was the most surprising gain for Labour in 1997, eclipsing the likes of Hove and Enfield Southgate.

  10. “I can’t understand how anyone can call Thurrock a certain UKIP gain. All polls there have shown it as a close 3-way contest,”

    I agree Barnaby I only see a Labour gain.

    The only certain UKIP seat for me is Clacton.

  11. “Well AV was very convincingly defeated.”

    AV is an even less proportional system than FPTP. It probably would have given Blair a majority of around 250 in 1997 instead of 179 despite 56% of GV voters not having voted for his party.

  12. Tory hold here. I predict UKIP and the Greens will end up with one seat each, although UKIP’s share of the vote will be significantly higher. (Around 10% as compared to 3% for the Greens.)

  13. How would the Tories and Labour getting all but 30 seats in England and Wales result in electoral reform?

    They would and will work together to preserve FPTP absolutely regardless of political cost, because that’s what those fearful of permanently losing power do.

    But getting back to the strength of the national stitch-up in relation to this constituency, this is a seat where I still don’t think we have a reliable feel for which way this is going to go. At least in Watford I can say “it will be very close”. But here I don’t know that. Even 17 days out this seems as though it could end up as a Tory safe seat or UKIP’s second safest seat.

  14. I think people are forgetting how many voted UKIP (& BNP, ED) even in 2010. They’ve since surged in members, won the Euros, Cllrs, won 2 and almost 4 Parliamentary By-elections. 12% seems to be the minimum they’ll poll with more candidates and an increase in every safe Labour seat. They’ll only win 2-6 seats IMHO though.

  15. They’ve gone beneath 12% in quite a few polls now. I would put their absolute minimum perhaps at 8%. I’d say it’s touch and go whether UKIP will poll in double figures at this point.

  16. Latest Ashcroft has five point Tory lead.

    Con 41%
    UKIP 36%
    Lab 12%
    Grn 3%
    LD 2%
    Oth 5%

    However, there are no “other” candidates so that 5% is a question mark.

  17. I still reckon UKIP will poll a higher percentage of the vote here than in Thurrock. Ashcroft has them as a dead heat (although of course there is a more even split between Conservatives and Labour in Thurrock).

    UKIP haven’t had the best campaign here – something one can say about many seats…….

  18. HH – 15% is the fav UKIP vote share with the bookies. In bands 10-15% is favourite. Survation seems high at 18%. 13.5% in the poll of polls.

  19. That 5% will most likely be for Canvey Island inds, I would expect it to go UKIP. Therefore the CON lead is less than it looks.

  20. Still rather too close for comfort for the Tories I’d suggest. A 2.5 swing is all that’s needed for them to lose.

  21. With the most recent Ashcroft poll for Castle Point, there was 5% support for “Others”. But in reality there are no other candidates apart from Con, Lab, LD, UKIP, Green. If those “Others” vote for UKIP they would have a good chance of winning the constituency:

  22. Conservative Hold. 5,000 maj.

  23. If the Conservatives win by 5000 I’ll go canvassing for the Monster Raving Looneys. It’ll be much closer than that.

    Although come to think of it the Canvey Island Independents do have some similarities…..

  24. Con hold, majority 2100.

  25. If I had confidence in polling relating to UKIP in their first “proper” general election, I’d mirror Tory’s prediction of Con by 2,000 or so. But I think there’s a relatively high probability that Ashcroft might have gotten UKIP wrong in either direction. Not through bias, but through unknown polling vs voting patterns of UKIP VI.

    We’ve long known about the shy Tory factor. We’ve had plenty of time to realise that there is substantial false recall among those that have deserted the LDs since 2010. That non seat winning parties ultimately get squeezed badly on polling day even though the previously indicated VI was probably accurate. That Scots really are masochistic enough to vote 55-45 against independence, months before the majority of them vote to elect separatists.

    But with UKIP we really have no reliable reference points on which to judge whether they are overhyped or under-represented by methodology. The 2014 by-elections perhaps, but those were strange beasts – national interest and local apathy.

    If UKIP win more than three seats this should be one of them. I don’t see how going further in a high UKIP target would be anything other than a blind guess about how well Ashcroft has managed to model UKIP overall.

  26. Lib Dem candidate here only got 80 votes. Tory hold by about 9000.

  27. Disappointing for UKIP.

  28. Conservative hold by 8,934.

    UKIP are in deep trouble.

  29. These results will be a joy to Dan Hodges. He hates Labour and hates UKIP so seeing them fall flat essentially vindicates all he says.

  30. Full result

    Con 23,112 51.7%
    UKIP 14,178 31.7%
    Lab 6,283 14.0%
    Green 1,076 2.4%
    L Dem 80 0.2%

  31. The Lib Dem result is on the floor here!

  32. Felt so sorry for the Lib Dem candidate. Tumbleweed in the hall when ’80’ Was read out. I thought the returning officer had missed a number off somewhere.

  33. I lolled at 80. That’s just crazy. Has a major party ever recorded a lower vote?

  34. Lib Dem total has been amended to 801. It was obviously misread at the time. The Lib Dem candidate was trying to make the point to the official as soon as it was read out.

  35. According to the BBC’s Election website, the Lib Dem candidate in fact got 801 votes.

  36. You are right, The Results. Was this simply an error of speech on the part of the returning officer? I have to admit that that was my first reaction.

  37. I did notice that after the declaration was made, the Lib Dem candiate Sereena Davey did briefly speak to the returning officer as they were leaving the stage, so it was probably about her figures.

  38. Wellytab – yes, the lowest was the NI Cons in West Belfast.

  39. I thought it sounded suspect that the Lib Dems had got only 80 votes, even here I don’t think they’d expected to do as badly as that!

  40. The LD candidate Serena Davey immediately had a word with the returning officer after the declaration as you can see on here at 4:39:00

  41. Seats where the combined Con and UKIP vote was higher than 75%:

    Castle Point (82.05%)
    South Holland & The Deepings (81.37%)
    Clacton (81.09%)
    Christchurch (79.57%)
    Boston & Skegness (77.59%)
    Cambridgeshire North East (77.59%)
    Beaconsfield (76.99%)
    Rayleigh & Wickford (76.94%)
    New Forest West (76.43%)
    Staffordshire South (76.10%)
    Meon Valley (75.88%)
    Broxbourne (75.77%)
    Brentwood & Ongar (75.65%)
    Maldon (75.25%)
    Arundel & South Downs (75.23%)

  42. The usual East of England suspects but quite surprised to see seats like Beaconsfield, Arundel and New Forest West included – which by any measure are very wealthy

  43. Tim- well the high combined Conservative and UKIP vote in the seats you mention are attributable to huge Conservative vote shares.

  44. The Albanians used to claim that together with China, they represented the world most populous military alliance.

    The Conservative plus UKIP figure is is a meaningless total. You might as well add the Greens and UKIP performance together and conclude on parties that do better in proportional elections than first past the post. What seems clear is that the heralded big drift from the Conservatives to UKIP generally did not happen where it mattered. UKIP’s second places are almost always in the safest seats for either Labour or the Conservatives. It suggests that when the other main parties gave up, electors saw nothing to lose by going UKIP. Hence former Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative voters and those who had not voted for years made up UKIP’s total. Hence it is meaningless to add them to anyone else’s.

  45. Rubbish, it makes infinitely more sense to add the Tory and UKIP figures than the UKIP and Green percentages or the UKIP and SNP percentages.

  46. I’m not referring to anyone on here, but I can’t help noticing how the same types of people who used to love to add together the Labour and Alliance shares in the 1980s or the Labour and LD shares between 1997 and 2010 are now suddenly horrified by the idea of adding together the Tory and UKIP percentages.

  47. I never thought this seat would be particularly close.
    In fact, the Tories have done pretty well by historical standards in the seat aswell.

    Even with the large UKIP vote.

  48. @Andy JS They’re all pretty meaningless, aren’t they?

  49. ‘The Conservative plus UKIP figure is is a meaningless total.’

    I thought the rest if your analysis is sound, but I don’t think the two figures are completely meaningless, as regardless of where the UKIP votes come from, it is, along with the Tories, a right wing party and with the demise far-right groups like the English Democrats and the BNP, the UKIP and Tory vote makes up the vote of the Right

    It’s noteworthy because it;s significantly higher than in 2010 – where I think Maldon, South Holland and Rayleigh had the highest right-wing vote share (tory+ukip+ED+BNP)

  50. I am not convinced that the source of votes for BNP or ED were exclusively on the right of the spectrum. Many of their voters in their stronger areas such as South Yorkshire and Durham were in ex-Labour districts.

    These parties and UKIP may be branded as on the right , but often have left wing economic policies, even if their social attitudes would be categorized as “populist, nationalist or anti-social”.

    Hence I disagree with the approach of adding party votes together. This implies that a UKIP voter in Manchester is a short hop away from becoming a Conservative voter, which is unlikely.

    This analysis only works in a country like Germany where regional parties come together nationally -CDU/CSU or where there are parties that are always in coalition such as the fragmented Conservative and Liberal parties of France.

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