The Cotswolds

2015 Result:
Conservative: 32045 (56.5%)
Labour: 5240 (9.2%)
Lib Dem: 10568 (18.6%)
Green: 2626 (4.6%)
UKIP: 6188 (10.9%)
MAJORITY: 21477 (37.9%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Glouchestershire. The whole of the Cotswolds council area and three wards from the Stroud council area.

Main population centres: Cirencester, Stow-on-the-Wold, Northleach, Lechlade on Thames, Tetbury, Moreton-in-Marsh.

Profile: This is a large rural seat, almost entirely within the eponymous Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is an area of rolling hills, small picturesque market towns and villages of listed buildings, built of cotswold stone. Economically tourism and agriculture, particularly sheep and dairy farming, are important. The main town is Cirencester, home of the Royal Agricultural College. The seat also contains Highgrove, the Prince of Wales`s estate.

Politics: This is a safe Conservative seat, held by the Conservatives since its creation in 1997, helped someone by the opposition being split roughly evenly between Labour and the Liberal Democrats at most elections.

Current MP
GEOFFREY CLIFTON-BROWN (Conservative) Born 1953, Cambridge, into a family with a long political history - his uncle was MP for Bury St Edmunds, his great uncles were MP Newbury and Speaker of the Commons. Educated at Eton and Royal Agricultural College. Former Chartered surveyor and farmer. First elected as MP for Cirencester and Tewkesbury in 1992. PPS to Douglas Hogg 1995-1997. Opposition whip 2005.
Past Results
Con: 29075 (53%)
Lab: 5886 (11%)
LDem: 16211 (30%)
UKIP: 2292 (4%)
Oth: 1368 (2%)
MAJ: 12864 (23%)
Con: 23326 (49%)
Lab: 8457 (18%)
LDem: 13638 (29%)
UKIP: 1538 (3%)
Oth: 392 (1%)
MAJ: 9688 (20%)
Con: 23133 (50%)
Lab: 10383 (23%)
LDem: 11150 (24%)
UKIP: 1315 (3%)
MAJ: 11983 (26%)
Con: 23698 (46%)
Lab: 11608 (23%)
LDem: 11733 (23%)
Oth: 689 (1%)
MAJ: 11965 (23%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Cotswold

2015 Candidates
GEOFFREY CLIFTON-BROWN (Conservative) See above.
PAUL HODGKINSON (Liberal Democrat)
CHRISTOPHER HARLOW (UKIP) Born Luton. Educated at Luton Grammar School and Lancaster University. semi-retired transport industry worker.
Comments - 46 Responses on “Cotswolds, The”
  1. The description of Clifton-Brown above doesn’t quite make sense – I don’t know where Newbury comes into it. Douglas Clifton Brown was Conservative MP for Hexham before & after WWII and was Speaker of the House for a time before he retired. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown senior was Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds & was succeeded by Eldon Griffiths in I think 1964.
    I went to what apparently was Nick Ridley’s local in this constituency a long while ago & a beautiful pub it was. The constituency includes the Donnington Brewery, surely the most picturesque one in Britain situated as it is in an old mill by a peaceful lake, and of course is renowned for the beauty of its buildings & hills. There was quite a scrap for 2nd place in 1997 & 2001 between Labour & the LDs (Labour have some support in Tetbury & perhaps did fairly well in Cirencester at that time) but the latter have won that particular battle of course.

  2. Doesn’t quite does it! I shall have to correct it.

    GCB had *two* great uncles who were MPs, one was the Speaker (the MP for Hexham), the other was MP for Newbury. Their mutual father was also an MP.

  3. Paul Hodgkinson, current leader of the Lib Dems on Cotswold District Council, was chosen by the party as candidate for this seat in 2015.

  4. Some Ladbrokes customers have been backing the LDs to gain this seat at 50/1 and now 33/1. I’m not really sure why.

  5. I would imagine due to good local election results, and good Con->LD swings.

    Which will still be nowhere near good enough to win the seat.

  6. Cotswold DC – Con 28, LD 11, Ind 5
    Stroud DC – Con 3, LD 3
    County Council: Cotswold – Con 5, LD 3
    County Council: Stroud: Con 1, LD 1 (both only part in constituency)

  7. The Labour party candidate is Manjinder Kang

  8. Lib Dems winning this seat is a total fantasy.

  9. Any other seats where the Tories increased their percentage majority between 92 and 97?

  10. Quite a few. Are we allowed to include those they’ve lost at some stage in between, or just continuous holds?

  11. Change between the two GEs, not by-elections.

  12. Mmm… not exactly sure what the rules of the game are but here goes:

    Ones that haven’t been lost:
    Witney, Richmond (yorks), Folksetone and Hythe.Rayleigh and Wickford, Ribble Valley, Eddisbury, Sevenoaks, Central Suffolk and Ipswich North, N E Cambridgeshire, Monmouthshire and Vale of Glamorgan

    Newbury was of course lost at a by-election, held for two terms, but now has a bigger con majority than 1992.

    Ones that have been lost at some point include: Isle of Wight, Dover, Calder Valley, and probably a whole stack in North Kent when you allow for boundary changes

    These are just ones I’ve checked in the last few minutes, so lack any intricate knowledge of knock on effects of any boundary reviews which might explain things. Many are on the list for rather explicable reasons.

  13. I can see why the Lib Dems went to 33/1 from 50/1. If you were to make a couple of dozen small-ish bets on the basis of believing that UKIP will produce a few quirky results (be that in Con-Lib marginals, seats where UKIP might win on a lower share that you’d previously have thought possible there, or seats where UKIP affect the Con/Lab balance in either direction), you’d only need one or two of them to pay off to come out of the spree pretty well.

    But as Runnymede says, this certainly will not be one of them.

    I neither know nor care how UKIP are looking here, but IMO the Lib Dems will lose 5-6 points directly to Labour even if Labour were to also lose much or all of that boost to a strong UKIP. The end result being that even if the Tories were to take a hypothetical battering, it would be impossible for the Lib Dem share to take the seat in any vote-splitting scenario.

  14. Those 5-6 points were a best case scenario btw, assuming that people tactically stuck with the LDs believing that they’re the best hope of ever unseating the Tories. In a worst case scenario they could easily slip behind Labour in 2015.

  15. The Liberals failed to get anywhere near defeating the extremely dislikeable Nicholas Ridley here for more than 30 years, so it’s highly unlikely they will ever get rid of his more amiable successor.

  16. The Lib Dems will not fall behind Labour here, and this could be a very good result for us (but the standards of the night).
    We increased our presence on Cotswold DC in 2011, and won 3 seats in the CC elections (the Tories were defending every seat) including one seat never won before, while coming close in a fourth. Paul Hodgkinson is a good candidate and should put in a creditable performance, though he will clearly not win.

  17. The Lib Dems are unlikely to be much above 20% IMO, though as you say, by the standards of 2015 that would still be creditable.

    In most non-held seats the Lib Dems will surely lose half to two thirds of their 2010 vote at least.

  18. The latest Ladbrokes betting has Lib Dem Paul Hodgkinson at 15-1 down from 50-1 last year. He is a very credible candidate and the LDs have bucked the national trend here. Might be worth a punt!

  19. Interesting that we are not hearing much from the Murdoch Press about the Greens in seats like this. These are rural areas where people care about the environment so I dare say some people will be surprised on election night, mark my words. They might not win here but I can envision a very strong second place to set up a possible win in 2020.

  20. Absolutely no chance!

  21. The LD goal should to be to hang on to second place here. I think the trouble for them is bluntly that the area is too posh: it has several features that would make it a more natural fit for them (notably, the large alternative sector rural economy) but it’s a lot wealthier than the more out of the way equivalents in Wales, Westmorland, Norfolk or Cornwall. I imagine it’s a seat they could take in theory if they had someone who really worked and pumped money in here, but their top end aim for 2015 would be to keep the gap between themselves and the Tories no wider than it was in 2010.

    I think a good LD result would be to hang on at about 25%, with Labour up into the high teens and probably UKIP just above 10%. The Tories might then dip south of forty if they lose a bit to UKIP or Lab, keeping the CON lead over LD in the low to mid twenties..

  22. The only markets that look properly tasty (or at least did last time I checked) are the Ukip number of seats (banded).

  23. “The LD goal should to be to hang on to second place here. I think the trouble for them is bluntly that the area is too posh”

    IMO the fact that the area is posh means the LDs have a good chance of holding second place since UKIP is more popular with working-class voters in most constituencies.

  24. the lib dems did work this fairly hard in the late 90s & early 00s, but didn’t get that far. this seat will stay safe for the tories for the foreseeable future.

  25. Not all of rural Gloucestershire is ‘posh’ by any means. It might be quite close for second here I think. The Lib Dems were well behind UKIP at the euros and not that far ahead of UKIP in the CC elections in 2013.

  26. You can find a picture of Manjinder Singh Kang, Labour PPC FOR the Cotswolds, at . Our constituency website is at:

  27. My niece Hilda lives just outside of Cirencester and I had a frightfully enjoyable weekend with her and her family just before Easter.

    This has got to be one of the most quintessentially Conservative seats in the country, and anyone who thinks the Lib Dems do (or did) stand a chance here are living in fantasy land!

  28. Conservative Hold. 16,000 maj.

  29. Still waiting for a result after 14 hours of counting.

  30. In the end this seat only saw a 10.9% decrease for the Lib Dem candidate Paul Hodgkinson here, who is a well-known figure locally and previously stood in Stroud way back in 1997. They might not ever win this seat, but I don’t think they will give up attempting to rebuild their challenge to the Tories which could potentially get stronger over the next few elections as they have held up well locally.

  31. I don’t think the Lib Dems will win The Cotswolds parliamentary seat any time in the sort or medium term. The % Tory vote in this seat is simply too high. If the Tories still got 46% in 1997 they probably aren’t going to be dropping below that any time soon so even in a terrible Tory year the Lib Dems would need virtually the entire non-Tory vote behind them which is realistically highly unlikely to happen.

    The Tories got 57% of the vote here this time so in order to win the seat the Lib Dems will need to convert a significant amount of 2015 Tory voters (as well as UKIP voters) but due to their recent lurch back to the centre left by electing Farron this is highly unlikely to happen. Also Labour’s 9% is probably close to their core vote in this seat so there will be precious little for the Lib Dems to squeeze on the left.

    The Lib Dems will remain a respectable second here due to their strength in Cirencester but the rural parts of this seat are just too staunchly Tory for them to win the seat.

  32. We actually gained a council seat on GE day within The Cotswolds which is interesting and also came within 22 votes ands 40 votes of winning another 2.

    On the other hand we only held another ward by 2 votes but the council results were promising. This doesn’t get us an MP though but more councillors can only help.

  33. The Cotswolds and Tewkesbury are two very funky-shaped seats… one wonders what the boundary redraw has in mind for them. Without knowing that predictions for 2020 or beyond remain problematic.

  34. Is this the first tine you’ve made a post which didn’t end with… ?

  35. LOL

  36. The Cotswolds is ultra-safe Tory, and so are the surrounding seats, so, whatever boundary changes might take place, the outcome in this area is going to be ultra-safe Tory seats.

    On top of this, whilst Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has never held high office (does he need to bother with the unnecessary, for him, hassle?) he is as establishment as they come, and then some more. Any boundary changes are likely to be advantageous to him.

    Look at his biographical details: Eton, Royal Agricultural College (it is here, in Cirencester) and farming. We have some commercial and industrial upstarts, like Cameron (except that SamCam is definitely establishment) and Osborne, and unfortunately large chunks of West London have been lost to immigrants from Russia, The Middle East and The Far East. But there are a select few who still own the place, and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown is one of them.

    The only office he might be interested in is Speaker, and the Commons could do worse.

  37. Tetbury was in Stroud from 1955 to 1997

    Former MP William Morrison was Speaker from 1951 to 1959.

  38. There was another big win for the Liberal Democrats in a council by election yesterday (in terms of the percentage vote changes from 2015):

    No UKIP candidate stood this time, so their vote was down just over 21%. I wonder where their votes went – to the Tories, who actually lost 40% or so? Of course, they may not have voted. Possible factors? This is presumably a strongly Brexit-supporting area. Does anyone know of any local factors which may have been influential here?

    I have also posted this on the front page thread.

  39. Cotswolds, Stroud and Cheltenham all voted Remain. I believe the Tory candidate was a Brexiter.

  40. Juat catching up on what I missed while asleep. Cotswold was the standout result of the night – the Lib Dems taking control on a huge swing.

  41. Definitely the stand out result as the Cotswold isn’t really rural England any more. more stockbroker/commuter belt and increasingly A/B professional

    Coupled with the Tories gaining North East Lincs and Walsall, it seems as if the Brexit effect has continued

  42. At this point the Lib Dems probably have the most AB1 voter base of any UK party. They’re not voting this time, but it would be interesting to see whether the Tories would do better in a more depressed Con/LD battleground like Cornwall.

  43. The Tories have hel;d the likes of Darford and Medway in North Kent, whilst losing solidly stockbroker (and staunchly Tory parliamentary constituencies) territory like Tandridge (East Surrey), Vale of Whitehorse and Chelmsford

    Likewise Labour have faced their biggest losses in urban, post-industrial and most importantly, strongly Leave-voting areas like Stoke, Middlesborough, Ashfield, Bolsover and Walsall

    Proof that politics has turned (rather than is turning) on its head and unlike in the US, the Tories, whilst thinking they are being very clever at the moment, will end up regretting this as with it goes the money they used to rely on to win elections from big business

  44. In one ward here the Tory candidate won by one vote over an independent because a vote saying Brexit was given to the Tory.

  45. Clifton Brown has always struck as a particularly unpleasant right-wing backbencher – pro Brexit, pro-hanging, pro land owners

    Perhaps it’s good that others get to see the real him – which seems ti be what’s happened here

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