2015 Result:
Conservative: 28887 (58.1%)
Labour: 4745 (9.5%)
Lib Dem: 3263 (6.6%)
Green: 2149 (4.3%)
UKIP: 10663 (21.5%)
MAJORITY: 18224 (36.7%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Dorset. The whole of Christchurch council area and part of East Dorset council area.

Main population centres: Christchurch, Ferndown, St Ives, West Moors.

Profile: Christchurch is a seat on the south coast between Bournemouth, with which it forms a conurbation along with Poole, and the New Forest. It is an affluent retirement town - the constituency has the highest proportion of over 60s of any seat in Great Britain. As well as Christchurch itself the seat includes Hurn Forest and Bournemouth International Airport and, to the north of them, the town of Ferndown and the villages of St Ives and West Moors, site of a military fuel depot.

Politics: The seat is normally very safely Conservative. It was briefly held by the Liberal Democrats after their 1993 by-election victory, but after being narrowly regained by the Tories in 1997 it has returned to form as a safe Tory seat.

Current MP
CHRISTOPHER CHOPE (Conservative) Born 1947, Putney. Educated at Marlborough and St Andrews University. Barrister. Wandsworth councillor 1974-1983, Leader of Wandsworth council 1979-1983. MP for Southampton Itchen 1983-1992. First elected as MP for Christchurch in 1997. Minister of State at the Treasury 1985-6, Under Secretary of State in the department of Transport 1986-1990, Minister of State in the Department of Transport 1990-1992. Awarded the OBE for services to local government in 1982.
Past Results
Con: 27888 (56%)
Lab: 4849 (10%)
LDem: 12478 (25%)
UKIP: 4201 (9%)
MAJ: 15410 (31%)
Con: 28208 (55%)
Lab: 8051 (16%)
LDem: 12649 (25%)
UKIP: 2657 (5%)
MAJ: 15559 (30%)
Con: 27306 (55%)
Lab: 7506 (15%)
LDem: 13762 (28%)
UKIP: 993 (2%)
MAJ: 13544 (27%)
Con: 26095 (46%)
Lab: 3884 (7%)
LDem: 23930 (43%)
Oth: 606 (1%)
MAJ: 2165 (4%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CHRISTOPHER CHOPE (Conservative) See above.
ANDREW SATHERLEY (Labour) Educated at Highcliffe comprehensive school and York University.
ANDY CANNING (Liberal Democrat) Economist. West Dorset councillor since 2003. Contested South Dorset 2001, Dorset Police Commissioner 2012 election.
ROBIN GRAY (UKIP) Born Lancashire. Businessman and former social worker.
Comments - 74 Responses on “Christchurch”
  1. A closer look at the result here in 1997-
    (Changes are against 1992, not the 1993 by-election)
    Chope (Conservative)- 26, 095 (46.43%, -17.1%)
    Maddock (Liberal Democrat)- 23, 930 (42.58%, +18.97%)
    Mannan (Labour)- 3, 884 (6.91%, -5.23%)
    Spencer (Referendum Party)- 1, 684 (3.00%, N/A)
    Dickinson (UKIP)- 606 (1.08%, N/A)

    Majority- 2, 165 (3.85%)
    Swing- +18.035% From Con to Lib Dem.

  2. Prediction for 2015-
    Chope (Conservative)- 54%
    Liberal Democrats- 21%
    Labour- 13%
    UKIP- 12%

  3. This might be one seat where you’re underestimating UKIP….I could easily see them at 15% plus here, though Chope is very right wing this is extremely strong UKIP territory.

  4. Although UKIP stands a much better chance against Europhile Tory MPs, this is a constituency full of retired people who own their own homes. They care little about the employment prospects that the EU brings and will comfortably vote against Europe purely on outmoded nationalistic grounds. They also display a preference for little right wing trivialities such as the colour of trains and taxi drivers wearing uniforms. Classic UKIP voters in other words. The question is whether Christopher Chope’s own brand of insane conservatism (see the Alternative Queen’s Speech) can keep them loyal in 2015!

  5. UKIP have opened an office in Christchurch. “The party says it is targeting Dorset.”

  6. Oh dear. Christchurch is actually in Hampshire 😛 I thought UKIP would contain enough Traditional Counties hawks like me to know that!

  7. I agree with Hemmelig up thread. The fact that UKIP managed 9% in 2010 has got to point to a double digit performance in 2015. I’d say:

    Con 53
    LD 19
    Ukip 15
    Lab 12
    Oth 1

  8. It was indeed,Dave, behind Buckingham and Boston & Skegness. Given the strength of UKIP within Dorset (which because of FPTP did not translate into many seats at last year’s county council elections in Dorset), I believe this may be a useful prediction for this seat in 2015:

    Con 48
    UKIP 18
    Lab 16
    Lib Dem 15
    Others 3

    I have considered, by the way, the fact that throughout his recent parliamentary career Christopher Chope has acted as right-wing and as nastily as any UKIP representative would (look up Mr. Chope’s Wikipedia page). He will not stick around for long,though,given his age (he turns 67 this year), and so UKIP may be able to capture this seat in the long run-just possibly.

  9. I doubt that Labour will beat the LDs here, even though the LDs are not exactly setting the seat alight.

  10. This seat will stay blue for the foreseeable future. Chope is a socially conservative Eurosceptic, so far better equipped to take on a UKIP challenge than most Tory MPs, which should keep the swing to UKIP here below the national average. I predict:

    Conservative – 53
    Liberal Democrat – 17
    Labour – 16
    UKIP – 12
    Others – 2

  11. prediction for 2015-

    con- 53%
    UKIP- 20%
    Lib- 18%
    Lab- 9%

    Moe’s prediction was really quite absurd, here’s a clearer prediction. Con will (obviously) hold, this is however a very socially ‘conservative’ area, if the general election was held here tomorrow the electoral calculus predicts a 23% UKIP vote. This is however on a slow and steady decrease. The lib dems will take a bit of a beating, but many here will feel the urge to stand up for forward thinking.

    The labour vote will be harmed thanks to UKIP’s insane rise however damaged minimized thanks to the lib dem vote fall.

    I also highly doubt any others will stand here 🙂

  12. I don’t agree that Labour will suffer a decline in its share of the vote. There is a little Labour activity in the SW of the constituency, close to the border with Bournemouth E, and there is bound to be a little tactical unwind towards them. I’d say something more like C 52, UKIP 19, LD 16, Lab 13.

  13. Current prediction for 2015-
    Chope (Conservative)- 53%
    Liberal Democrat- 22%
    Labour- 14%
    UKIP- 11%

  14. Too high on the Lib Dems, I think.

  15. At the risk of repeating myself from the Bexhill thread, I think UKIP will be expecting to get near the 20% mark here and should do so if they poll 10% nationally.

  16. I agree with Andy. Strong retired population, though perhaps a little high-income for UKIP to do brilliantly. If they do well here, they should also do well in neighbouring W New Forest which has a very similar

  17. ……….profile.

  18. Were there any other seats the Tories gained in 1997? I know there were no gains on 1992 but might have regained some other by-election losses.

  19. No just Christchurch, excluding Stratford-on-Avon where the MP had defected to Labour.

  20. And Christchurch was technically not a gain, since they’d held it in ’92. Same with Stratford.

  21. Were there any other seats the Tories gained in 1997? I know there were no gains on 1992 but might have regained some other by-election losses.

    Aberdeen South was a Tory gain in 1992

  22. Yes the Tories made gains in 1992. I meant seats the Tories won in 1997 which they didn’t in 1992.

  23. There were none of those,MrNameless. In 1997, the Conservatives lost 178 seats (on new boundaries) and gained none in return. It was the first time the Conservatives lost seats without gaining any at all in return in 31 years.

  24. I answered Stephen’s question in the post preceding it. Christchurch was the only regain for the Tories in 1997. The Tories started off on 336 seats in 1992 and ended up on 325 seats before the election campaign excluding the MP for North Dorset who I think died at the start of the campaign, Nick Baker was it? Using an old Kindle so can’t look it up simultaneouly. there were 8 by-election losses and 3 defections. From memory the sequence was: Newbury 1993/335, Christchurch 1993/334, Eastleigh 1994/333, Dudley West 1994/332, Perth&Kinross 1995/331, Littleborough&Saddleworth 1995/330, Stratford-on-Avon 1995/329, Devon West&Torridge 1995/328, Staffs SE 1996/327, Bolton NE 1996/326, Wirral South 1997/325. The Tories lost their majority for a couple of days with Wirral South but got it back again when Martin Redmond died (Don Valley). The three defections were Stratford. Devon, Bolton NE. So the Tories got back Christchurch and Stratford.

  25. Wasn’t there Reigate as well, towards the end of the parliament?

    George Gardiner resigned from the party and went on to join the Referendum Party

  26. Quite right, Hector. Yep.

  27. Having lived and campaigned for the tories in Ferndown and West Moors, it still amazes me how different politically these areas are as compared to east Renfrewshire near Glasgow where I now live. I remember canvassing in some social flats in west moors which had a large number of tory voters. You would never get that up here!

  28. Conservative Hold. 20,000 maj.

  29. The Lib Dems have now gone from 43% here in 1997 to the verge of losing their deposit.

  30. The Lib Dems’ vote was obviously hugely inflated in 1997 by the 1993 by-election won by Diana Maddock which was held at the height of the Maastricht Rebels, who came close to bringing John Major down in a confidence vote.

  31. The LD vote had by 2001 actually returned to roughly what it had been in the 1980’s. What occurred here at the last election was the standard LD collapse. Note though that the Tory vote, after a strong recovery in 2001 has been very static. Perhaps Chope is unpopular here? Though it hardly matters.

  32. Very true. I think the Lib Dem vote has now got as low as it is going to here TBH, and may even increase by about 1-2% at least in 2020 now they’re barely only in saved deposit territory.

  33. i can’t agree with comments that Christopher Chope is “unpopular” when he won 58% of the vote. unpopular MP’s tend to either lose or get deselected. A more rational explanation is that throwing resources to achieve say 62% of the vote was deemed unnecessary when they could be used in neighbouring Mid Dorset to beat the Lib Dems.

  34. What were the wards of the Municipal Boroughs of Christchurch and Lymington at the time of the 1970 redistribution? (Obviously they formed the constituency of Christchurch and Lymington)

  35. I think the Lib Dems not holding onto this in 1997 must have been one of their most disappointing results of the election, along with the losses of Rochdale and Littleborough and Saddleworth, especially when you factor in the other successful by-election wins they successfully defended.

  36. Believe it or not Oldham East & Saddleworth was notionally Tory going into 1997. The figures were as follows to the best of my knowledge:

    Con 35.4
    LD 34.4
    Lab 30.2

  37. Mudeford & Friars Cliff Ward By-election result:

    Cons 629 -9%
    Ind 466 +35%
    Lab 91 -10%
    UKIP 87 -21%
    Green 72 +5%

    32% Turnout.

  38. Incidentally this ward has one of the oldest populations in the UK, with over 40% being pensioners.

  39. In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, Christopher Chope got the highest percentage Conservative majority here of 49.71% and numerically 25, 171 and the smallest percentage Conservative majority went to Royston Smith in Southampton Itchen of just 31 (0.07%). Why is this ironic? Because despite being in Dorset and not Hampshire, Christchurch is only about forty minutes away by car, but perhaps even more prophetically, Southampton Itchen was Christopher Chope’s first seat from 1983 to 1992…

  40. One of those quirky little coincidences. Another one that isn’t quite as interesting but I found amusing was that Chris Williamson in Derby North won his seat with a majority of 2,015 votes, why is that interesting? Well he lost the seat in the “2015” general election so there’s a haunting reminder for him about what can happen every time he considers his majority.

  41. Indeed lol.

  42. Christchurch IS in the traditional county of Hampshire.

  43. Chris Chope uses some obscure parliamentary process to block a bill criminalising upskirting:

    What an utter turd.

  44. There’s al list on Guido of all the useful and sensible bills he’s blocked.
    Appalling man but he has one of the safest and most elderly constituencies in the country where a lot of people probably agree with him or at least wouldn’t have a clue what you were talking about if you described his parliamentary behaviour.

  45. What an absolute idiot of a man. I assume he doesn’t have any daughters? It must be noted that many of his fellow Tory MPs were none too happy with his little intervention.

  46. They are, although opposition to unsolicited panty shots is not a high moral bar.

    Having read around, it appears that the justification Chope has for these actions is that he believes it is undemocratic that opposition MPs should be allowed to write their own laws – that you shouldn’t have any say if you lost the election. If this really is what he’s going with, a cunning Tory MP could call his bluff by bringing forward a similar bill. Or maybe the government could try putting it through directly – it would be a nice break from Brexit legislation, which even I am beginning to find boring.

  47. Does anyone actually think looking up a girls skirt is morally okay? Even in Christchurch

  48. There are a few old farts out there who probably think these women are ‘asking for it’. And never underestimate the huge jealousy a small majority of old biddies feel for younger, prettier women. Just read the DM comments section on amy articles about people under 40.

  49. A small minority! Jeez.

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