North Devon

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22341 (42.7%)
Labour: 3699 (7.1%)
Lib Dem: 15405 (29.4%)
Green: 3018 (5.8%)
UKIP: 7719 (14.8%)
Others: 138 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 6936 (13.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Devon. Coterminous with the North Devon council area.

Main population centres: Barnstaple, Lynton, Ilfracombe, Braunton, South Moulton.

Profile: A rural seat on the western edge of Exmoor. The biggest town by far is Barnstaple, a market town and former port that is the commercial and administrative centre of North Devon. The rest of the seat is made up of small rural villages and small seaside towns along the North Devon coast. The seat also contains Royal Marines Base Chivenor.

Politics: This has been a marginal seat between the Conservatives and the Liberals since its creation in 1950. It was previously represented by the Liberal party leader Jeremy Thorpe, who lost his seat in 1979 while facing charges of attempted murder and opposed by a wonderfully odd variety of candidates, including perennial candidate Bill Boaks and Auberon Waugh`s Dog Lovers Party. In 2010 was one of four seats where UKIP finished third (the others being West Devon and Torridge, North Cornwall and the Speakers seat in Buckingham).

Current MP
PETER HEATON-JONES (Conservative) Born 1963. Former BBC radio presenter. Swindon councillor since 2010. First elected as MP for Devon North in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18484 (36%)
Lab: 2671 (5%)
LDem: 24305 (47%)
UKIP: 3720 (7%)
Oth: 2141 (4%)
MAJ: 5821 (11%)
Con: 18868 (36%)
Lab: 4656 (9%)
LDem: 23840 (46%)
UKIP: 2740 (5%)
Oth: 1826 (4%)
MAJ: 4972 (10%)
Con: 18800 (38%)
Lab: 4995 (10%)
LDem: 21784 (44%)
UKIP: 2484 (5%)
Oth: 1191 (2%)
MAJ: 2984 (6%)
Con: 21643 (39%)
Lab: 5367 (10%)
LDem: 27824 (51%)
MAJ: 6181 (11%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
PETER HEATON-JONES (Conservative) Born 1963. Former BBC radio presenter. Swindon councillor since 2010.
MARK CANN (Labour) Born 1950, London. Educated at St Josephs College, London and Reading University. Retired teacher. Former Mendip councillor. Contested North Devon 2010.
NICK HARVEY (Liberal Democrat) Born 1961, Chandlers Ford. Educated at Queens College and Middlesex Polytechnic. Marketing executive. Contested Enfield Southgate 1987. MP for North Devon 1992 to 2015. Minister of State for the Armed Forces 2010-2012.
STEVE CROWTHER (UKIP) Born Devon. Contested Devon North 2010.
RICKY KNIGHT (Green) Language teacher. Contested North Devon 2005, Bristol West 2010. Contested South West region 2009, 2014 European elections.
GERRY SABLES (Communist Party GB) Contested North Devon 2010.
Comments - 231 Responses on “Devon North”
  1. @ P T Richards: to explain your post about the Lib Dems not fielding a candidate in Ilfracombe, which they held the previous election — the candidate Mike Edmunds was an independent on very friendly terms with the local Liberal Democrat association and was almost a member-by-proxy. In fact I once poured drinks for Nicholas Harvey at a party by the virtue of the aforementioned Mr Edmunds being my ex-girlfriend’s grandfather.

  2. Robbie, you predicted that UKIP would get 28% in Boston and Skegness only 2 weeks before a survation poll showed UKIP on 46% in the constituency. Therefore I don’t understand why you can make certain predictions on the limit of support for UKIP in this constituency especially considering this was one of the only constituencies UKIP won in the 09 EU elections and has the UKIP chairman standing as candidate!

  3. I’d agree with Robbie that UKIP won’t gain it, but it’s not a total impossibility.

    I already gave my prediction, but something like this would be possible (if not likely):

    LD 33
    Con 30
    UKIP 29
    Lab 6
    Oth 2

    I’m not predicting that, but it’s not implausible that it could be very tight three way.

  4. I think a better picture will emerge when the campaign truly starts — things have been a bit quiet up until now!

  5. I think this seat has a UKIP gain written all over it.
    In 2010 they polled 7.2%, more than twice the national average (3.1%) UKIP polled nationally.
    They are currently showing 16% in the polls, if we take into account the swing back to the Government that nearly always occurs as polling day nears, lets say another 3%, that still leaves UKIP on 13%.
    If, as in 2010 they again poll more than twice the national average, well, lets play safe and just say twice the 2010 vote, that would give them 26%.

    In a constituency where 30% could be enough to win, UKIP have more than a good chance of riding home a winner.
    With the Party Chairman, who is also a North Devon lad, having also raised his profile since 2010 and UKIP moving seasoned, experienced and Knowledgeable elite campaigners into the area from the rest of the South West, this seat may well turn Purple.

    There is also the added advantage for UKIP that the current MP has recently fronted a local campaign against cuts in local Government, whilst TWICE voting, in the commons, to CUT the amount of funding granted to local Government.

  6. This is one of the only places that UKIP came 1st in the 2004, 2009 and 2014 European elections which shows they have consistantly been strong here. I wouldn’t rule out a UKIP gain here, but I think this could be a better target for them in 2020 if they cement themselves as opposition

  7. Dear Anthony

    Just wondering what the three asterisks after my name are for?

    Biog details: Born 1957 North Devon. Educated at Blundells, Tiverton and Bristol Polytechnic. Career in journalism and advertising. Chairman of UKIP since 2010. Contested North Devon 2010.

    Regards, Steve

  8. Steve – means you stood there last time (Andy, who posts on the site here, keeps a list of candidates and marks those who stood in the same seat last time. I copied and pasted over some of his UKIP list and failed to edit out some of asterisks)

  9. Don’t know why you’re even bothering Steve. Easy hold for the LibDems here

  10. It’s great when candidates post on here, especially higher profile ones like Mr Crowther.

    You, on the other hand, are tiresome and boring.

  11. This is what the asterisks mean on my candidates list:

    “* — incumbent MP (incl. standing for different party/ind)
    ** — was previously an MP for the constituency
    *** — was previously an unsuccessful candidate for the constituency, not necessarily for the same party
    **** — new candidate in constituency where party holds seat”

    I did think about having another category for candidates who had stood in 2010 but in a different constituency but decided that was making things a bit complicated, especially for me having to check every selection to see if they had stood somewhere else last time.

  12. Ashcroft poll (Bad for LDs, but not dismal):

    CON 30
    LD 29
    UKIP 23
    LAB 9
    OTH 9

  13. I believe Nick might hold on, just about, P.T. Richards. Personal votes and campaigning abilities matter significantly in many South West seats (compared to other UK regions) and North Devon is no exception.

    Most of that ‘other’ vote in the Ashcroft Poll for this seat will be for the Green Party 🙂

  14. Yes I still think he could very well. Still, this isn’t great for the LDs.

  15. Definitely a UKIP target, being just 7 points behind.

  16. I should think so, yes, although I doubt it would work out for them.

  17. Jeremy Thorpe, former leader of the Liberal Party & MP for this constituency from 1959 to 1979, died today.

  18. Indeed so, Barnaby-a lot of people on Twitter are retweeting Peter Cooke’s biased judge sketch in relation to Jeremy Thorpe’s 1979 trial….I was wary about paying tribute to Mr Thorpe especially when it has been revealed that whilst that trial was going on his legal team helped cover up stories of Cyril Smith abusing children.

  19. I wasn’t paying tribute, merely noting his death. Unusual for me to get in first on such occasions. He certainly was a major political figure in his day.

  20. He was open to joining a Tory-led coalition in 1974 but his party wouldn’t stand for it.

  21. How times have changed.

    He was still North Devon Lib Dem President when he died.

    Here’s what Harvey said (from LDV):

    “Jeremy Thorpe was a colossal figure in the revival of the Liberal cause in post-war Britain and today’s Lib Dem politicians continue to feast on his legacy. His charisma, energy and innovative campaigning lit up his generation of British politics. He was the first to embrace fully the television age, the first to hit the campaign trail in a helicopter and both the first and, rather memorably, the last to deploy a hovercraft. He would have shone in whatever walk of life he chose, but it was to the lasting benefit of Liberalism that he rejected the Conservatism of his ancestors and devoted himself to progressive causes at home and abroad. In North Devon he was a greatly loved champion of the community and is remembered with huge affection to this day. He was a towering force in shaping the political landscape of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

  22. Some nice airbrushing there

  23. Not long to go now, any predictions? a Lib Dem Hold? a really close 3 way battle? etc etc

  24. Tory gain with UKIP a strong third.

  25. Ah, the MrNameless stock answer because UKIP take more votes from LibDems than Tories..

  26. I am going lib dem hold for the time being.

  27. Same here TBH. Nick Harvey’s been here a long time and he has the incumbency.

  28. Nick harvey has been here a long time and has incumbency…

    A good number of Tories in 97 had similar qualities but it did save them!

  29. could ukip win this?

  30. Could Plaid Cymru?

  31. UKIP’s star has waned & it seems unlikely. But not impossible. Plaid, on the other hand……

  32. Well UKIP will most likely come second I think, and maybe fairly close to Harvey but not by anywhere near enough to win. I would predict given how close we now are to the election-
    Harvey (Lib Dem)- 34%
    Crowther (UKIP)- 28%
    Heaton-Jones (Conservative)- 25%
    Cann (Labour)- 7%
    Knight (Green)- 5.5%
    Sables (Communist)- 0.5%

  33. I think that’s rather silly, frankly. Ashcroft found UKIP in third at a point when they were higher up than they are now.

    I’d update my prediction to:
    Heaton-Jones (Conservative) – 33.75%
    Harvey (Lib Dem) – 30.25%
    Crowther (UKIP) – 23.5%
    Cann (Labour) – 7.5%
    Knight (Green) – 4.75%
    Sables (Communist) – 0.25%

  34. The Results I don’t think Harvey will win by as much as that, I actually have a feeling he may lose. The Tories will at least get second with UKIP in a relatively close third, unless there is a massive shift in the opinion polls in UKIPs favour between now and May.

  35. I don’t think the Tories will take this, I think Harvey will hold on and UKIP will be coming second here.

  36. Why would you think that, with UKIP far back in third in the Ashcroft poll?

  37. You never know, they just might manage second still.

  38. If it’s not clear who the challenger is locally between the Tories and UKIP, I think personally that increases Harvey’s chances of holing on against split opposition.

  39. Who the clear challenger is OUT OF the Tories and UKIP that should read, in fact.

  40. It’s pretty clear it’s the tories that are the challengers here. I think they will take it in a squeaker aswell.

  41. Don’t agree. Think Harvey will hold on.

  42. The Tories are obviously the challengers. Ashcroft poll:
    CON 30
    LD 29
    UKIP 23
    LAB 9
    GRN 7
    OTH 2

    Where exactly do you think UKIP are going to come from? They’re in a far third and the Tories are first! FIRST! They won’t be coming third on election day! I usually agree with a lot of what The Results says, but this is lunacy.

  43. 7% behind the leading Party is hardly far behind. The 3 are all between 20-30% so that’s a close 3way fight.

  44. Antiochian,

    “Ah, the MrNameless stock answer because UKIP take more votes from LibDems than Tories..”

    Oh come off it. The Tories will lose more voters to UKIP than the Lib Dems do here. But the Lib Dems will also be losing votes to Labour, the Greens and the Tories as well.

  45. I think it’s very possible the LDs could lose slightly more votes to UKIP than the Conservatives. LD voters tend to be more working-class than Tories in this part of the world and UKIP’s appeal is more to working-class people in general.

  46. Moreover, in the Southwest much of the Lib Dem vote is an anyone-but-Tory vote.

  47. Exactly. There could be some big LD to UKIP swings in certain seats in the south west.

  48. Indeed I think that is highly likely.

    A lot of people on the left can’t understand it but the Lib Dems and UKIP are fishing in substantially the same pool in a lot of these seats – I’d call it an anti-everyone/political establishment vote rather than specifically anti-Tory though.

    The key segment of the vote may be the working class small/medium-sized town vote in some of the scruffier towns in Somerset in particular. I know UKIP fancy their chances of making serious inroads there.

  49. A lot of people don’t like the two main parties and, if they’re also not the type of voter to consider voting for the Greens, that leaves just the LDs and UKIP.

  50. Runnymede.. pray tell, what does a scruffy town in Somerset look like..? I was in Radstock recently and for an ex-mining town it looks fantastic..

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