2015 Result:
Conservative: 21737 (43.3%)
Labour: 15443 (30.7%)
Lib Dem: 1572 (3.1%)
Green: 1295 (2.6%)
UKIP: 10177 (20.3%)
MAJORITY: 6294 (12.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. The southern part of the Dover council area.

Main population centres: Dover, Deal, Walmer.

Profile: A diverse seat with a political tradition which includes coal mining, seaside resorts, a major port and picturesque surrounding countryside. The seat consists of the towns of Dover, Deal and the surrounding countryside.

Politics: The strong Labour presence in the centre of Dover itself made this Labour`s best target seat in Kent well before the 1997 election and during the 1997-2010 Labour government it was their safest seat in the county. It fell to the Conservatives in their 2010 clean-sweep of Kent.

Current MP
CHARLIE ELPHICKE (Conservative) Born 1971, Huntingdon. Educated at Felstead School and Nottingham university. Former Partner in an international legal firm, specialising in taxation. Lambeth councillor 1994-1998. Contested St Albans 2001. First elected as MP for Dover in 2010. Government whip since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 22174 (44%)
Lab: 16900 (34%)
LDem: 7962 (16%)
UKIP: 1747 (3%)
Oth: 1602 (3%)
MAJ: 5274 (10%)
Con: 16739 (35%)
Lab: 21680 (45%)
LDem: 7607 (16%)
UKIP: 1252 (3%)
Oth: 606 (1%)
MAJ: 4941 (10%)
Con: 16744 (37%)
Lab: 21943 (49%)
LDem: 5131 (11%)
UKIP: 1142 (3%)
MAJ: 5199 (12%)
Con: 17796 (33%)
Lab: 29535 (54%)
LDem: 4302 (8%)
Oth: 443 (1%)
MAJ: 11739 (22%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
CHARLIE ELPHICKE (Conservative) See above.
CLAIR HAWKINS (Labour) Born Dover. Tower Hamlets councillor 2006-2010.
SARAH SMITH (Liberal Democrat)
DAVID LITTLE (UKIP) Born 1963. Educated at Dover Grammar School for boys. Businessman.
JOLYON TRIMINGHAM (Green) Technical author.
Comments - 196 Responses on “Dover”
  1. I like the way some declarations are made in such an understated way that it could almost be an announcement at something as inconsequential as a bingo evening rather than something upon which the whole future of the country might depend.

  2. @AndyJS
    I know. Some returning officers sound so disinterested that it is almost as if they would much rather be elsewhere.

  3. Does anyone know the full names of the PPC’s during the 80’s general elections Mr Love(lab), Mr Nice(SDP) and Mr Potter the ecology candidate ? Thanks

  4. Sarah Smith selected for the LDs.

    Colin — in 1987 the candidates were Stephen Love (headmaster, b. 13th Aug 1934) and Geoffrey Nice (barrister, b. 21st Oct 1945).

    I don’t have the 1983 guide to hand at present so can’t give you the full name of the Ecology candidate.

  5. Gravesham is a very strange one, the council has swung to Labour over the years, (in fact the only time they won overall control before 1994 was 1973-76) but in general elections it has swung very much to right. Its has gone almost as out of range for Labour as Putney. Maybe there is a Croydon 1994-2002 factor with the borough council (the Cons win the overall share of vote but the wards are divided in a way that Labour takes most seats).

  6. The Ecology candidate might have been Michael Potter, but that’s merely a guess.

  7. 2015 forecast for Dover

    Lab 37
    Con 35
    UKIP 17
    LD 7
    Others 4

  8. Interesting thoughts from Labour Uncut.. the party’s retreat from its target list…

    Dover mentioned as one where doubts are now circulating..

  9. That site is generally known as Labour Unhinged. The site managers are so far to the right they have fallen off the edge, and they do not represent or reflect mainstream Labour opinion

  10. Some of that article is indeed quite unhinged….the idea that Labour are at any risk of losing seats like Ashfield, for example.

    Nevertheless it is a smart move by Labour to slim down their target list and throw out no-hope seats like Battersea. I don’t see why a slimmed down list of 60 targets is a bad thing. If they won the vast majority of them, which they stand a reasonable chance of doing, they would still get a small majority. Wasting time on the likes of Battersea and Finchley is not a good use of resources.

  11. Labour Unhinged is a good name for that site.

    106 or more seats is only ever achieveable in a landslide year. Even the Tories aren’t looking for a massive sweep of seats. Their strategy is based on defending their 40 most vulnerable seats and gaining the 40 most marginal Labour and Lib Dem targets.

  12. @HH

    If I recall rightly there was a very mixed verdict on the Ashfield prospects of Gloria del Piero, even from Labour commentators… now she has the distractions of junior ministerdom and the fastest growing LibDem branch in the country nipping at her heels..

  13. You are keen on making silk purses out of sows’ ears.

  14. I have never heard her called a sow’s ear before…

  15. No, dear sir, the sow’s ear in question is the extreme unlikelihood of the Liberal Democrats to gain Ashfield. The CC elections certainly suggest that they will do better than in most Labour seats, but they don’t give them any realistic chance of actually winning. The fact that Gloria de Piero is a junior minister is not going to have the slightest impact on her availability to campaign to retain her seat. The LDs may perhaps be able to position themselves to mount a more threatening challenge in the constituency in 2020, but no more than that.

  16. Labour do have to be careful in that seat. Its clear from an outside perspective that the Lib Dem is more able, energetic and local than Ms del Piero and that this is causing the seat to be closer than it ought to be.

  17. I can speak with some authority on Ashfield, having grown up there. Yes, the seat is closer than it ought to be, which more reflects decades of complacency in the local Labour party rather than de Piero’s unpopularity, though I concede she isn’t very well liked locally and her parachuted candidacy didn’t help her election result.

    There is however no chance whatsoever of the Lib Dems winning the seat in 2015, though it will not be a landslide and I do think their local activism might restrict the Labour majority to about 5000. Even with no swing from the Tories or Lib Dems, most of the high BNP vote in Ashfield will move back to Labour and that in itself will enable them to win by a couple of thousand.

  18. It’s also worth remembering that De Piero’s predecessor was Geoff Hoon, who was one of the MPs named in the 2010 sting operation on political lobbying by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme.

    Hoon told an undercover reporter that he wanted to translate his knowledge and contacts into something that “frankly makes money” and on 22 March 2010 it was announced he had been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party

    Although Hoon stood down, this must have had some bearing on the 2010 result and along with what Hemelig says about the complacency of the local Labour Party and De Piero’s parachuting into the seat, explains why Labour did so badly

    Now that De Piero has proved that she’s more than a pretty face, with Hoon a distant memory and with the local Labour Party presumably given a short, sharp shock by the 2010 poll, I’d expect Labour to enjoy a majority of at least 5,000 in 2015

  19. “Now that De Piero has proved that she’s more than a pretty face”

    When did she do that? I must have missed that development

  20. LOL. And even if you accept she is a pretty face, her annoying voice is certainly not attractive.

    On Tim’s point, Hoon was always quite popular in Ashfield prior to the Dispatches sting, he was at least a genuine local who was a pretty good constituency MP. I accept the scandal must have had some impact in 2010. However the problems of the Labour party in Ashfield date back much further than that, to the victory of a group of Independents in the early 2000s which was the embryo of the Lib Dem success in the district.

  21. Seems Gloria’s discussion is doomed to be in Dover…

  22. Thanks Sarah et al, much appreciated, that completes my records.

  23. This is a “Dog that didn’t bark in the night” note.

    We should all be saddened by the ferry sinking in South Korea. But what if it happened to one of the cross-channel ferries?

    It is now a considerable time since the “Herald of Free Enterprise” sinking, when hundreds of people were drowned in a box-like ferry with inadequate watertight divisions, because of needs to load vehicles, and with inadequate escape arrangements for passengers. But what has changed? The events in South Korea suggest not enough.

    The politicians in this country could have done things about this. They could have funded, admittedly at very great expense, a more adequate channel crossing – a bridge-tunnel system with a road as well as a railway – which would have eliminated the need for Channel Ferries. And/or they could have done more to change the design of the ferries.

    So far, the ferry operators and the politicians have been lucky and have got away with it. If there is a major accident in the Channel, it is to be hoped that there will be major political repercussions because, in my view anyway, it is an accident waiting to happen.

  24. I felt slightly touched by the tragedy, as I visited the obscure Korean island of Jeju, where the ferry was headed, a few years ago.

    Cross channel ferries are now far safer than when the Herald of Free Enterprise sank, and now only have a tiny share of the UK to France/Belgium/Holland market. I’m guessing at least 90% of people now fly or use Le Shuttle or Eurostar.

  25. Yes, I think that you can only sail from Dover to either Calais or Dunkirk now – the longer crossings to Ostend and Zeebrugge haven’t operated for quite some time. Nonetheless, the Calais ferries at least still do a very good trade. Really important for Dover that they continue to do so.

  26. Worth saying that the Koreans are the world’s leading shipbuilders. This couldn’t have happened in a more awkward location for them.

  27. The ferries to Ostend and Zeebrugge have stopped largely because they are out-competed by the Dover to Calais ferries. One reason is that these ferries are huge. They are indeed safer than the Herald of Free Enterprise but their very size, plus the impossibility/commercial unwillingness of compartmentalising their vehicle decks means that a major accident to one of these ships could entail large loss of life.

  28. That is a statistically nonsensical argument Frederic.

  29. Con 49% +5%
    Lab 39% +5%
    LD 6% -10%
    UKIP 7% +4%

    Swing 0.0%

  30. A very belated repsonse to Joe.

    The ferries from Dover to Calais are very safe, but after the “Titanic” a hundred years ago (and other shipping accidents since then) nobody would say that a ship is unsinkable.


    Charlie Elphicke needs to get a grip, anyone with a tiny amount of sense realises that this cartoon was self-depreciating and satirical. I worry that people like him are in my party…

  32. Humourless pricks like him are the reason I left the party

  33. Which party?

    I think that UKIP will be helped here by the image the far right often use as the white cliffs of dover and how that’s the way all the immigrants are getting in that we’ve seen from the BNP and the likes. That is in this seat right or is it someone else near?

    Think they might be looking at over 20%.

  34. Robbie if you look at the top of the page you can see that Charlie Elphicke is a tory mp.

    And yes this seat does include the white cliffs of Dover (obviously) and indeed I expect UKIP to do well here, especially considering the incumbent MP’s views. which will undoubtedly help UKIP.

    I reckon the tories will probably hold here though

  35. I think that UKIP will carry this seat by a few percent at least.

  36. ‘UKIP will carry this seat by a few percent at least’

    What will the coming crushing UKIP victory look like at most, then? A 30 or 40% majority, perhaps?

  37. I don’t think UKIP will do better than 3rd place here. The Labour vote will not collapse so strongly to UKIP as in eg. Thanet, because of the residual seamens’ union strength in Dover. And though Dover town is pretty shitty these days, this seat does contain some quite nice Tory areas (including Deal and many nice villages) which will probably hold up quite well for the Tories.

  38. Deal isn’t all that much more Tory than Dover

  39. Surprising….it’s certainly a much nicer place.

    How do you rate UKIP’s chances here Pete?

  40. Deal is a nicer place – even the bits which aren’t so nice are much nicer than the not so nice parts of Dover. I guess it may have more Labour strength due to the legacy of coal mining. Walmer is certainly quite nice and has no equivalents that I know of in Dover Town.
    I’m sure UKIP will do well here by national standards, but there are several better prospects in Kent. Any party with any sense targets it’s resources and as this seat borders Thanet South it seems obvious to me that activists from here should be deployed heavily there

  41. My thoughts too. A Con hold is likely here even if they are pushed down to 35% or so.

    Incidentally, I was surprised by your comment that “UKIP is a libertarian party”. Is that still the case for the membership, now that hordes of ex-right wing Tories have flocked to the party in disgust at gay marriage etc? And a fair few old Labour types too, especially in the north. I’m sure even you wouldn’t try to contend that most UKIP voters are libertarian these days.

  42. The youth movement is very much libertarian, but most of the rest of the party isn’t.


    A continuation of this country’s disregard for free speech. Outrageous, and I aint a UKIPer

  44. Looking back to mid-2014, I do not see why my point about the ferries was statistical nonsense. The chances of an accident to one of the ferries is very small, but because they are so big the effects of such an accident could be horribly large.

    Moving to contemporary matters, there is a noticeable lack of comments on this seat. Labour needs to win here if they are to get representation in Kent, and a comfortable overall majority. Nobody on this site seems to be seriously considering the possibility of Labour winning here. Nor, so far as I know, os anybody seriously talking in East Kent about this seat changing hands.

    Labour’s aspirations are currently remarkably limited fo a party expecting to win a General Election, if indeed Labour in private expect to do so, which I ppersonally doubt..

  45. Nigel Farage held a press conference in Dover today where he said ”many people have seen there towns change beyond recognition from 10 or 15 years ago”. I’m certainly not a Farage/UKIP supporter but it certainly rings true and I’ve noticed it in many parts of London (see my various posts across the forum). Mantra like this will certainly sway votes towards UKIP.

    Any predictions for this seat?

  46. Con hold by about 3,500 with Lab in second with UKIP a relatively close third.

  47. ”many people have seen there towns change beyond recognition from 10 or 15 years ago”.

    But surely that’s as much to do with modern technology as it is immigration.

    Towns that tend to be resistant to change are those that tend to get left behind, leaving them open to decline and deprivation – as has happened in some of the once prosperous Northern towns

    London is a bit different as there are areas where the racial mix has completely changed over a relatively short space of time to such a degree that many areas are unrecognisable from 10-15 years ago

  48. I cannot see a Town Mayor defecting from Labour to the LibDems mattering much, particularly given that the LibDems are likely to be squeezed even more by tactical voting than in previous elections.

    UKIP are likely to be squeezed here too by comparison with other East Kent seats.

    Charlie Elphicke is likely to get a first time incumbency effect, which will not least help to keep the UKIP vote down. Even if there is a swing nationally to Labour, I cannot see them geting the 5% + swing needed to unseat the Tories here.

    Dover is not like some other Kentish seats which can look back to effective Labour MPs holding on between 1997 and 2010 despite the lack of interest in the county by the Labour Party nationally. Gwyn Prosser was as I recollect a divisive figure who gave much precedence to the interests of his own supporters.

  49. How much effort are the major parties putting onto this seat? In particular, do Labour seem seriously to think that they are likely to win?

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