Crawley

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22829 (47%)
Labour: 16303 (33.6%)
Lib Dem: 1339 (2.8%)
Green: 1100 (2.3%)
UKIP: 6979 (14.4%)
MAJORITY: 6526 (13.4%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, West Sussex. The whole of the Crawley council area.

Main population centres: Crawley.

Profile: Crawley is a newtown, designated in 1946 and which grew rapidly in the 50s and 60s to house overspill population from London. It originally had a high proportion of council housing, but this has been largely sold off through the right to buy and along with many private housing developments it has become a marginal seat, like many other southern newtowns. Gatwick airport is situated to the immediate north of the town and it naturally dominates the local economy, both as an employer itself as an as magnet for many other industries linked to the airport, such as Virgin Atlantic, Avios and Virgin Holidays.

Politics: Like many newtowns this is a close marginal between Labour and the Consevatives. It was held by Labour by only 37 votes in 2005, but finally won back by the Tories in 2010.


Current MP
HENRY SMITH (Conservative) Born 1969, Epsom. Educated at UCL. West Sussex councillor 1997-2010, Leader of West Sussex council 2003-2010. Crawley councillor 2002-2004.Contested Crawley 2001, 2005. First elected as MP for Crawley in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 21264 (45%)
Lab: 15336 (32%)
LDem: 6844 (14%)
BNP: 1672 (4%)
Oth: 2388 (5%)
MAJ: 5928 (12%)
2005
Con: 16374 (39%)
Lab: 16411 (39%)
LDem: 6503 (15%)
BNP: 1277 (3%)
Oth: 1408 (3%)
MAJ: 37 (0%)
2001
Con: 12718 (32%)
Lab: 19488 (49%)
LDem: 5009 (13%)
UKIP: 1137 (3%)
Oth: 1170 (3%)
MAJ: 6770 (17%)
1997
Con: 16043 (32%)
Lab: 27750 (55%)
LDem: 4141 (8%)
Oth: 552 (1%)
MAJ: 11707 (23%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
HENRY SMITH (Conservative) See above.
CHRIS OXLADE (Labour) Born Crawley. Educated at Hazelwick School. Radio presenter. West Sussex councillor since 2009, Crawley councillor since 2011.
SARAH OSBORNE (Liberal Democrat) Psychotherapist. Lewes councillor since 2011.
CHRIS BROWN (UKIP)
GUY HUDSON (Green) Educated at Sussex University. Consultant.
Links
Comments - 167 Responses on “Crawley”
  1. Surprising there was a 0.5% swing from CON to LAB here given all the other resultsv – although Henry Smiths maj increased by some 600. In Harlow the swing was over 3% from LAB to CON.

  2. There is a suggestion that the demographics of this seat could be moving towards Labour.

  3. Based on the CON 47% share I would think it unlikely to go back into LAB hands in 2020, unless the next 5 years prove to be a disaster or LAB pick a very electable leader (neither of which are likely)

  4. Jason

    You never know in politics. Middle England is nothing if not fickle.

  5. Gatwick 2nd runway is by far the biggest local issue…Tory candidates in all 3 local seats (Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex) have all been vociferously against it. Soames made this the centrepiece of his election leaflet while fracking didn’t warrant even a mention.

    Will be very interesting to see what the government do. If Gatwick expansion goes ahead there will have to be massive new housebuilding on the Downs, much of it on green belt.

  6. Hawthorn- is Middle England really that fickle? Look at the last 36 years.

    They either vote Tory, or for a decidedly right of centre Labour Party when they have a credible leader. Doesn’t seem too fickle to me.

  7. “Hawthorn- is Middle England really that fickle? Look at the last 36 years.

    They either vote Tory, or for a decidedly right of centre Labour Party when they have a credible leader. Doesn’t seem too fickle to me.”

    For a couple of heady years after 1997, many staunch Tories thought Tony Blair was leading a bloody good Conservative government (as opposed to Major’s shambolic Conservative government). I remember that national mood very well.

  8. Quite…exactly my point.

  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/E14000652

    ‘Henry Smith, who has held Crawley for the Conservatives, has offered his “sincere commiserations” to Labour’s Chris Oxlade.

    “He’s someone who’s passionate about his home town… I genuinely feel for you,” he said. ‘

    Very classy gesture by Henry Smith.

    One bit of relief for Labour in Crawley is that their vote share didn’t go down, rather went up slightly from 2010. Didn’t fall like Harlow.

  10. Neil

    That is the thing. Across “Middle England”, Miliband did not do worse than Brown, he just did equally awfully.

    That should be noted.

  11. Also, Blair only held it by the skin of his teeth in 2005, and that was before the crash.

  12. Apart from the predictably repellant Galloway and Stewart Jackson’s red faced rant in Peterborough, it was a very gracious evening all round (unless there’s some other horror show that I’ve missed). I’m guessing a few of the NI seats had some less than edifying moments.

    Oh and Salmond’s speech was charmless waffle.

  13. It was noted on Twitter that both Salmond and Galloway referred to themselves as lions in their speeches. The prospect of both of them in Commons would’ve been unbearable. The 56 SNP MPs would’ve hated Galloway on their benches if he hadn’t lost.

  14. “Also, Blair only held it by the skin of his teeth in 2005, and that was before the crash.”

    I remember reading that Laura Moffatt (former Labour MP for Crawley) cried after recounts confirmed that she held on.

  15. When/if Copthorne & Worth are transferred from Horsham to Crawley I imagine the notional Maj will rise to around 9,000

  16. Will be interesting to see who LAB pick here. Clearly a winnable seat during the Blair years.

  17. The seat next door to where I live, it won’t be in the least bit interesting, Labour will do extremely badly here this time, a Tory majority of 15000 wouldn’t surprise me, a fair chance it will be higher than in Mid Sussex where the Lib Dems will regain a strong second place.

  18. That’s a bold prediction. I don’t doubt a CON win (probably by 8,000).
    I imagine Chris Oxlade would not be up for running again after 2 successive losses.

    As for Mid Sussex – having the most pro-European MP in Nicholas Soames the Lib Dems probably won’t do as well as they would’ve thought. Despite it voting to remain.

  19. HH is closer to the mark on this seat.

  20. “The seat next door to where I live, it won’t be in the least bit interesting, Labour will do extremely badly here this time, a Tory majority of 15000 wouldn’t surprise me, a fair chance it will be higher than in Mid Sussex where the Lib Dems will regain a strong second place.” I could say the same in a few 1997 Labour seats – Dartford, Gravesham and the other North Kent seats spring to mind. In fact I think Dartford could end up a safer Tory seat than say Wimbledon or Putney – they are London seats at the end of the day have gritty bits in these seats despite the extreme wealth in them.

  21. Bexleyheath and Crayford
    Romford

  22. The seats long term Labour may do better in 10-15 years are ones where they majority will be 10k rather than 20k.

    There are early signs of demographic change in seats like Croydon South, Bromley and Chislehurst, Epsom and Ewell etc but the hope of winning them even in a 45/97 landslide is as likely as the Greens winning Basildon.

    Chipping Barnet , Chingford and Woodford Green are ones to watch in the future maybe but even those are a long shot.

  23. The seats long term Labour may do better in 10-15 years are ones where they majority will be 10k rather than 20k.
    There are early signs of demographic change in seats like Croydon South, Bromley and Chislehurst, Epsom and Ewell etc but the hope of winning them even in a 45/97 landslide is as likely as the Greens winning Basildon.
    Chipping Barnet , Chingford and Woodford Green are ones to watch in the future maybe but even those are a long shot.

  24. Apparently, the Labour leader on Crawley council has declined the chance to stand here.

  25. LAB have chosen Tim Lunnon as their candidate. Virgin Atlantic aircraft engineer and Crawley Borough councillor since 2014.

  26. UKIP have decided not to stand against “staunch Brexiteer” Henry Smith. So expect his maj to increase to around 13,000.

  27. Only three candidates on the ballot paper here. CON, LAB and LD. Is that happening a lot around the country or is this unusual?

  28. Seems to be happening in a lot of seats this time. Greens and UKIP concentrating on a smaller number of seats. Do people expect the results to come in a lot quicker on Election night? No local elections, less candidates etc…

  29. With the Labour surge, are the Conservatives in danger of losing here?

  30. YouGov’s MRP analysis suggests little progress for Labour here.

    I find the pattern of their finding in the South interesting, in that they suggest little progress in most of Labour’s old Kent marginal, but big swings in most of the large southern towns such as Southampton, Bristol and Reading.

  31. It would be really interesting if someone in the constituency could tell us whether there is any evidence of a Labour surge on the ground. All the anecdotal evidence seems to be at variance with the polls. Even if the most optimistic polls for Labour are right, the UNS would not be enough to unseat the Tory, leaving aside the question as to whether London is distorting the UNS anyway.

  32. London only has 1/10th of the UK population so a 5% swing in London would only ‘distort’ UNS by 0.5%.

    In any case, there’s very good reason to think that UNS will be very little use in this election, with big countervailing trends in different types of seats.

  33. CON Henry Smith saying this is going to be close…. It’s 71st on the Lab target list.

  34. Further up it was noted that the Labour leader of the council (Peter Lamb) declined to put himself up for nomination as PPC for last year’s election. He has this time and been selected, winning the nomination against the previous candidate who achieved the big swing.

  35. If the next election is a close contest with Labour and the Tories both on circa 40% in the polls, this will be a Basildon kind of seat where Labour fall short. Crawley has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole UK and so isn’t likely to embrace Corbynism now it is seen as a credible threat.

  36. Crawley – not sure.
    Milton Keynes I was quite alarmed by the Labour surge.

    The Labour surge must have come
    from
    i) More affluent voters who favour Remain (The Tories clearly lost some voted directly, particularly in London and the SE).
    ii) Very disaffected less affluent voters who depend on services of one kind or another.
    iii) Young voters.

    The Tories added on voters predominantly from groups squeezed above group (ii) above.
    Those who lean rightwards. (They still picked up most of the UKIP votes).

    Group (ii) and those above it are the hardest to work out.
    But perhaps some of that leans right, some left – the simple explanation is sometimes right.

    The squeeze on the Green voters (sometimes dropping out) also helped Labour.
    The Lib Dems did slightly worse overall but it was more to Labour’s benefit.

    Voters had little patience with the Lib Dems or wishy washy views – except in a few places like SW London.
    Some people think a choice like last time would lead to other parties doing a bit better – it didn’t.
    It was the highest two party vote for a very long time.

  37. I have a friend from Bucks who tells me Labour will take MK in may by a landslide. Pity MRP isnt here to talk about it

  38. Article in last month’s Prospect titled ‘Welcome to the Red Shires’ lists Milton Keynes South and Crawley in a cluster of six seats to watch. It argues there’s an ongoing migration from Londoners to MKS (8,449 since 2013) & Crawley (3,281) who bring with them their Labour voting habits.

  39. There’s migration from all over the country to Crawley, given that’s where you are most likely to move to if you get a job at Gatwick Airport.

    It’s a fairly strong Leave seat though particularly exposed to Brexit through its impact on aviation

    A big Asian community though not as monolithically Labour-voting as in most places

  40. I think this will be close in 2022 (or whenever the next election is) but depends on the Brexit outcome. If Brexit is reasonably successful then this will be a Tory hold. If the outcome is less certain then Labour may snatch it. I’m puzzled why Harlow has a much healthier majority that this seat bearing in mind the results were very much in parallel from 1997-2015. Peter Lamb only put his name forward because he thinks he has a chance of winning.

  41. I wonder if the swing in Watford can be attributed to the dame as MK since they are on the same line

  42. I do wonder if Harlow was affected by the way it was covered by certain sections of the media in the aftermath of the tragic death of Arkadiusz Jozwik, using one incident to condemn the whole town as a racist backwater.

    That said, it did still swing towards Labour, just not as much as some other new towns.

  43. “I’m puzzled why Harlow has a much healthier majority that this seat bearing in mind the results were very much in parallel from 1997-2015”

    Crawley has a much bigger Asian population than Harlow, it has a much more international outlook thanks to so many residents working at the airport, and it doesn’t have the Essex Man culture which new towns like Harlow and Basildon have.

    These factors were perhaps brought more to the fore after the Brexit referendum than before it. Though Crawley voted Leave I’d be highly surprised if the Remain % wasn’t markedly higher than it was in Harlow (I must check).

  44. “I’m puzzled why Harlow has a much healthier majority that this seat bearing in mind the results were very much in parallel from 1997-2015”

    In addition to Hemmelig’s points, whilst Harlow is considerably grimmer than Crawley they also have a considerably better MP, which probably helps explain the healthier majority for the Tories there

  45. Yes I was thinking this couple nights ago. Halfon is the only person I would genuinely fear if he became leader. His desire for a workers conservative party i think is really appealling

  46. I… just don’t get the point in a “worker’s Conservative Party”. There’s already a worker’s party, it’s called the Labour Party, and people who value the idea of a worker’s party will vote for the real deal. And lest we forget, Theresa May tried to eat Labour’s lunch last June by reheating some of Ed Miliband’s old ideas, and lumping them together with traditional Conservative ideas with no rime or reason in a complete pig’s ear of a manifesto. She couldn’t sell it to the country, or even to her own party colleagues.

  47. But that’s because she doesn’t really believe in it.

  48. Matt is right

    For Theresa May and many of her cabinet the whole workers party it has become a convenient sound bite to try and convince the ever increasing amount of WWC Tory voters that they are really on their side

    As Polltroll alludes it wasn’t remotely believable and was scarcely credible, because May obviously doesn’t believe it. It sounds completely different when it comes out the mouth of Robert Halfron – somebody who quite clearly does

  49. Maybe I’m the only one, but Theresa May did sound pretty convincing, at least at the very start of her premiership. “Burning injustices”, etc. She had me fooled.

  50. Her first speech was heralded as the most social democratic for some time and well recieved by everyone even farage. I remember being on a bus in leicester and the bloke behind me saying ‘I like that Theresa May I’m gonna go for her next time’. It quickly didnt materialise into anything though. While I then did meet former Labour voters who were considering voting Tory they weren’t very convinced by that point and I did persuade them not to.

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)