2015 Result:
Conservative: 25670 (49%)
Labour: 13325 (25.4%)
Lib Dem: 1454 (2.8%)
Green: 1324 (2.5%)
UKIP: 10434 (19.9%)
Others: 211 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 12345 (23.6%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. The Dartford council area and one ward from the Sevenoaks council area.

Main population centres: Dartford, Greenhithe, Wilmington, Hartley.

Profile: The last seat in Kent before Greater London, Dartford is a former industrial area that is now largely a commuter town, best known for the tunnel and bridge across the Thames and the Bluewater shopping centre. The town is undergoing rapid expansion with a planned Garden City at Ebbsfleet, which is served by the high speed Channel tunnel rail link, and proposals for a Paramount Pictures theme park on the Swanscombe peninsula.

Politics: Dartford itself contains strong Labour areas like the Tree and Temple Hill housing estates, but is balanced out by outlying Conservative supporting areas like Joydens Wood and Longfield. Since the 2010 election Dartford has been the country`s strongest bellwether seat, having returned an MP from the party that went on to win the election since 1964.

Current MP
GARETH JOHNSON (Conservative) Born 1969. Educated at Dartford Grammar School. Former solicitor. Bexley councillor 1998-2002. Contested Lewisham West 2001, Dartford 2005. First elected as MP for Dartford in 2010. PPS to David Gauke 2014-2015. PPS to Matt Hancock since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 24428 (49%)
Lab: 13800 (28%)
LDem: 7361 (15%)
UKIP: 1842 (4%)
Oth: 2649 (5%)
MAJ: 10628 (21%)
Con: 19203 (41%)
Lab: 19909 (43%)
LDem: 5036 (11%)
UKIP: 1407 (3%)
Oth: 1224 (3%)
MAJ: 706 (2%)
Con: 18160 (41%)
Lab: 21466 (48%)
LDem: 3781 (8%)
UKIP: 989 (2%)
Oth: 344 (1%)
MAJ: 3306 (7%)
Con: 20950 (40%)
Lab: 25278 (49%)
LDem: 4827 (9%)
Oth: 943 (2%)
MAJ: 4328 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
GARETH JOHNSON (Conservative) See above.
SIMON THOMSON (Labour) Born Strood. Former BBC journalist.
SIMON BEARD (Liberal Democrat)
ELIZABETH JONES (UKIP) Educated at Cardiff University. Solicitor. Contested Dulwich and West Norwood 2010, London region 2014 European election.
STEVEN UNCLES (English Democrat) Born 1964, Blackheath. Educated at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar. Project Manager. Contested Bromley and Chislehurst by-election 2006, Gravesham 2010. Contested South East region in 2004, 2009, 2014 European elections. Contested Kent Police Commissioner election 2014.
Comments - 201 Responses on “Dartford”
  1. The amount of African voters is probably only a maximum of 5% of the electorate. If they all vote Labour they probably don’t counterbalance all the white voters moving away. Asian voters seem higher judging by the census through they also more Labour than the population as a whole( I have never been to Dartford except for passing through on the train so don’t know for sure)
    If there is Labour Landside from say 2025 onwards then maybe Dartford could be won by Labour again as the amount of African and Asian voters may increase to 30-40% of the electorate. Thurrock will be the first seat in South outside of London to be influenced by Ethnic Minority’s moving in from London. Dartford the first in Kent being the nearest and one of the poorest.

  2. ‘I think you’re all correct folks. Labour are finished in Dartford for at least the next 30 years! It has turned from a reliable/ strong bellwether to a safe Tory seat.’

    I don’t think a seat that was held by Labour throughout the last time they were in government camn be described as safely Tory.

    The working class industrial seats in North Kent are certainly trending Tory and Ed Milliband is one of the least likeliest Labour leaders to win them back, but saying Laboir are finished there is ludicrously premature

    People were saying the same in the late 80s/early 90s, only for Labour to achieve swings in 1997 that were every bit as impressive as the Tories did in 2010

    Of course UKIP cloud the picture, especially in this part of the world were thet seem just as well placed to win Labour votes as Tory ones

  3. Well the swing in Dartford obviously predates Ed Miliband’s leadership. The long-term swing from Labour to Tory in real terms was already apparent in 1979, certainly in 1983, and Labour hasn’t achieved a truly above-average result there (at least in regional terms) since 1974. Even in 2005, the Tories did less badly in Dartford than in S Thanet, Sittingbourne & Sheppey and Gillingham, though not as well as in Gravesham. What BM11 says is broadly true.

  4. Very much in agreement with everyone here

  5. One day Labour might re-take a number of North Kent seats where a favourable political climate presents itself. But one thing to remember is that while they’ve lost grip of such seats over time, they have managed to strengthen their grip/influence on a number of other seats they took in 1997, which they hadn’t taken before that. Some of those are currently still with them, or they narrowly lost them in 2010 but well in contention. Kind of like a trade off.

  6. There are considerable differences of opinion at present about how the next General Election wil turn out, but I don’t think anybody thinks there will be an 11% swing to Labour, or that there are any reasons to believe that Labour will do exceptionally well in this seat.

    This is not a UKIP target seat, so it should be a safe Tory hold.

  7. Just to add. This seat was fiercely contested between the Liberals and Tories before the Frist World War. From 1923 onwards it was Labour and the Tories who fought it out.

  8. Frederic is quite right on this one.

  9. Lost deposit for the Lib Dems no doubt.

  10. There will be a lot of those

  11. Indeed. I was being sarcastic.

  12. I think they’ll be slightly less loss deposits for the LDs than expected: they’ll hover just over 5% in a large number I expect, because there is a small core LD vote in most constituencies.

  13. That’s probably fair enough Andy. If they could keep a deposit in Heywood & Middleton then there’s probably more hope for holding them than one might imagine.

  14. If the Lib Dems are polling 8% nationally (and that’s a little on the generous side), but are making a big thing of how they have a concentrated local vote that will see them hold on to 30+ seats, then doesn’t that necessarily mean a lot of lost deposits in the seats where they don’t have a local vote?

  15. I’m pretty sure the LDs will get over 10% in the election. The national opinion polls don’t take personal votes and local support into account which are both very important as far as the LDs are concerned.

  16. We’ll see about that in due course

  17. Liberal Democrat candidate- James Beard

  18. I can’t ever see Labour winning this seat again. It’s a respectable working class area with a few pockets of deprivation but to say this area is anything like Woolwich/Plumstead is a real insult to North Kent. It’s now less industrial and the Dartford electorate are more right leaning than they used to be. I know Labour gained nearby Gravesham in the locals but both constituencies look as safely Conservative as Putney. I have been to Gravesend Town Centre in the last couple of years and I visited Dartford a few times in my opinion neither place looks any worse than Woking or Redhill.

  19. I’m not sure that Dartford has quite the demographic profile or feel of Woking or Redhill, but I would agree that this seat has moved out of Labour’s orbit for the foreseeable future.

  20. Re: demographics Not sure about individual towns but both Dartford borough and Bexley LB suprisingly has a higher % White British than both Epsom and Ewell and Woking despite Bexley having part of Thamesmead within it’s boundaries.

  21. ”It’s [Dartford] a respectable working class area with a few pockets of deprivation but to say this area is anything like Woolwich/Plumstead is a real insult to North Kent.”

    Surrey Politics – I can’t see anywhere in this thread where someone has compared Dartford or any of north Kent to Woolwich/Plumstead. Yes, the north Kent seats are a bit tatty in some parts but they cannot be compared to the deprivation of SE18 (see my post in the Thurrock thread). If someone has compared Dartford/north Kent to those towns then you’re right, it would be a huge insult.

    I’ve got a few friends who live in this seat. All of them aspirational upper working class / lower middle class voters who moved from south-east London 10/15/20 years ago. As I and many others have mentioned, Howard Stoate will be the last Labour MP here for at least a generation.

  22. Dartford is in the main a very working class aspirational seat, however, there are pockets of Labour voters in terms of Crayford and parts of Erith. I don’t think comparing this seat to Thurrock ([purely on Geographical reasons) is right as Thurrock has big areas of ex-dockers and the like who will always prop up the Labour vote. Add to that South Ockendon and Tilbury and Thurrock and Dartford are poles apart

  23. Hello

    I have pictures of most of the English Democrats candidates standing in the 2015 General Election.

    Where do I send them to ?

    Kind regards

    Steve Uncles
    English Democrats
    PPC Dartford
    [email protected]

  24. Will the construction of Ebbsfleet Garden City make this seat even more Tory once it’s been built and families move into the homes? From the pictures, it looks like it’ll be ‘Barrett box’ aspirational suburbia similar to King’s Hill in West Malling.

  25. “Will the construction of Ebbsfleet Garden City make this seat even more Tory once it’s been built and families move into the homes? From the pictures, it looks like it’ll be ‘Barrett box’ aspirational suburbia similar to King’s Hill in West Malling.”

    Christian I think you’re spot on there.

    I think Dartford and Gravesham will be long term be safe Tory.

    In contrast I believe Thurrock will be a Labour gain.

  26. Anyone else seen Elizabeth Jones in action? She could be a spitting image puppet if she wasn’t real. So much anger and hate. She could do well here though.

  27. “I think Dartford and Gravesham will be long term be safe Tory.”

    Actually, I’d go even further and suggest that ALL of Kent will be safe Tory in the long-term much like Surrey is. Sussex, on the other hand, appears to be fragmenting into different areas of strength for the parties. Labour/Green in Brighton & Hove, Labour in Crawley and Hastings, Lib Dems/UKIP in Lewes and the other coastal towns and the Tories confined to the inland areas.

  28. Crawley was inland last time I checked

  29. It is but I was making the point that the Conservatives seem to be increasingly confined to inland parts of Sussex like East Grinstead, Horsham and Burgess Hill while the coastal areas are trending to other political parties. There was plenty of evidence for this in the 2013 county council elections.

  30. I can see all of Kent becoming safe Tory in the next couple of decades except for perhaps Thanet South if UKIP can get a foothold there.

  31. I don’t think one can make generalities about ‘Sussex’. With the possible exception of Crawley, West Sussex is monolithically Conservative and likely to stay that way for at least the next 10,000 years. No fragmentation here.

  32. Point taken but East Sussex has definitely fragmented politically as has been discussed elsewhere. It’s one of the areas I’ll be keeping my eye on during the election campaign.

  33. Yes – as we were saying yesterday on the Hove thread, some very interesting and tight fights In Brighton and Hove/East Sussex. I even think that Lewes could produce a nasty surprise (although probably not a terminal one for Norman ‘I’m no longer part of the coalition’ Baker.

  34. Will gay marriage help the Tories a bit in Hove and Kemptown?

    Back to one of my hobby horses again – Lib Dem MPs dominating BBC south east local news coverage and the local Tory MPs being invisible despite there being dozens of them.

    The other day there was a story about a lady from Bexhill who couldn’t access some kind of mental health service locally and had to travel 5 hours per day to the other side of London. Who was standing next to her on the news report? Norman Baker and the Lib Dem care minister Norman Lamb. Bexhill isn’t even in Baker’s constituency! Where the fuck was Greg Barker? Sussex Tories have known long enough that Lib Dems do not mind trampling over constituency boundaries when it comes to self publicity. The Tories are asleep and it’s no wonder Baker and Lloyd are going to be re-elected despite the Lib Dems’ worst election in decades.

  35. They’re past masters at that kind of trick – and it may well save the Lib Dems some seats including Lewes.

    Gay marriage may damage the Tories in Kemptown – some votes off to UKIP, but not in more socially liberal Hove.

  36. Apologies to those looking for erudite comments on Dartford here which we seem to have moved some 50 miles to the south!

  37. Living in southfleet we have felt that immigration has been a big thing also the hit on the poor & disabled people after a shut at the village last week with much of the village there UKIP came out on top so I feel this could be a close call

  38. ” on top so I feel this could be a close call”

    Thanks Jack. Do you mean UKIP have a chance of winning Dartford in May in your opinion?

  39. “Actually, I’d go even further and suggest that ALL of Kent will be safe Tory in the long-term much like Surrey is.”

    I agree there, what will be interesting to see as if any of the North Surrey seats (Spelthorne/Epsom and Ewell) start gradually demographically changing into neighbouring London Boroughs Hounslow and Merton.

  40. Yes, Epsom is certainly becoming more diverse. The last time I visited 3 years ago, I noticed many blacks and Asians in the town centre and visted a great cake shop owned by a Ghanian immigrant.

  41. Yes I do feel that ukip could win dartford this Gareth Johnson bloke has not done anything he said he would all he does is goes on about a train being late & hay look the cricket ground looks good not it takes 3 hrs to park at darenth hospital he also back the bedroom tax with out a thought about it so its money for the banks and rob from the poor again .
    The NHS affects us all the posh and rich go private but the main voters are old who can’t afford private and we can see what this Tory lot have done to our NHS so I think there’s going to be some surprises this time

  42. Jack – I’d be very surprised if UKIP won Dartford but I could see them coming second and pushing Labour to third. However, despite me knowing this seat fairly well, you’ll have more knowledge than me with regards to constituents’ concerns.

    Ive also heard about the problems of parking at Darent Valley Hospital. I feel this has been made worse by the closure of Sidcup’s Queen Mary Hospital’s A and E and maternity wards. The residents of Bexley borough were informed to visit QE Hospital in Woolwich if they require A and E or maternlty services. However, none of my friends would go to Woolwich if ypu paid them as it’s a very rough area so all my friends and their neighbours attend Darent Valley now.

  43. * meant to write. ‘would NOT go to Woolwich’

  44. Something is happening in Dartford, and the election is far more open than people think. Labour has consistently underperformed in this one time stronghold, but now the momentum is moving its way – strong ground organisation, fast growing BME vote now registering, young progressive professionals moving out from London for an affordable house, a strong Labour candidate, rather weak Conservative iuncumbency and a high UKIP demographic that will take Conservative votes. And a Dartford Town Centre mothballed by Tesco and neglected by the Conservative-council. Depends on national mood, but no walkover for Mr Johnson

  45. I can’t see how Labour can consider this a former stronghold, whilst also acknowledging that it is a reliable bellwether! Even during the Blair years it remained a marginal.

    It seems very unlikely that Labour will win this seat. It would take a landslide like 1997, which I think all will accept wont happen.

    Reduced Conservative majority is the extremely likely outcome.

  46. David Garner – As a Labour supporter and someone who lives fairly near Dartford, it’d be great to see it turn red again but I just can’t see it happening. Dartford has gone from a bellweather to a safe Tory seat.

    The development of Ebbsfleet Garden City will make this seat even more solidly Tory as it will be full of aspirational families / city workers (think of Barrett box suburbia) due to the good transport links (Ebbsfleet International Station).

    As Hector said, it will take a 1997-style landslide for Labour to win Dartford again and I don’t think we’ll see a GE like that in our lifetimes.

  47. “it will be full of aspirational families / city workers (think of Barrett box suburbia)”

    How patronising! I’m guessing you live in a mansion in its own 20 acre grounds?

    I highly doubt you will find many city traders living in Barrett boxes as you call them, certainly not as far out as Ebbsfleet. They can usually afford something and somewhere far nicer. The garden city will be populated by squeezed middle types who can’t afford south London.

  48. Sorry, I don’t mean to be patronising but just trying to convey what the garden city will be like judging by the CGI’s I’ve seen thus far.

    I get the impression the garden city will be similar to King’s Hill in West Malling or Elvetham Heath in Fleet.

    It’d be good to get an Ashcroft poll of this seat. I suspect Labour could be in third place behind UKIP on GE night here.

  49. CHRISTIAN you have no need to apologise.

    You said; “..The development of Ebbsfleet Garden City will make this seat even more solidly Tory as it will be full of aspirational families / city workers (think of Barrett box suburbia) due to the good transport links (Ebbsfleet International Station).”

    The bully HHEMEMLIG then says; “I highly doubt you will find many city traders living in Barrett boxes as you call them..”

    There was nothing wrong with your original comment and your second sentence in your 2.37 post is spot on.

  50. Good afternoon Mr Shapps / Green. Shouldn’t you have more important things to do with a week to go until the election?

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