Epsom & Ewell

2015 Result:
Conservative: 33309 (58.9%)
Labour: 8866 (15.7%)
Lib Dem: 5002 (8.8%)
Green: 2116 (3.7%)
UKIP: 7117 (12.6%)
Independent: 121 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 24443 (43.2%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Surrey. The whole of the Epsom and Ewell council area, two wards from Reigate and Banstead and the Ashtead wards from Mole Valley council.

Main population centres: Epsom, Ewell, Ashtead, Tattenham Corner, Nork.

Profile: This is a commuter area just outside Greater London and within the M25. It is an affluent and desirable area, regularly classed as among the best places to live in the UK. It includes the former spa town of Epsom, Ewell, the village of Ashtead, Nork and Tattenham Corner from the Reigate and Banstead council area and the Epsom Downs, an area of chalk uplands that is the site of the Epsom Downs Racecourse and hosts the Epsom Derby.

Politics: This is a rock-solid Conservative seat. It has returned a Conservative MP since its creation as Epsom in 1885 and even in the Labour landslide year of 1997 it retained a Conservative majority of over 20 percent. At a local level, however, Epsom and Ewell council has always been dominated by councillors from the local Epsom and Ewell residents association.


Current MP
CHRIS GRAYLING (Conservative) Born 1962, London. Educated at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, and Cambridge University. Former BBC producer. Merton councillor 1998-2002. Contested Warrington South 1997. First elected as MP for Epsom and Ewell in 2001. Shadow leader of the Commons 2005, shadow transport secretary 2005-2007, shadow pensions secretary 2007-2009, shadow home secretary 2009-2010. Minister of State for Work and Pensions 2010-2012, Lord Chancellor 2012-2015. Leader of the House of Commons since 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 30868 (56%)
Lab: 6538 (12%)
LDem: 14734 (27%)
UKIP: 2549 (5%)
Oth: 266 (0%)
MAJ: 16134 (29%)
2005*
Con: 27146 (54%)
Lab: 10265 (21%)
LDem: 10699 (21%)
UKIP: 1769 (4%)
MAJ: 16447 (33%)
2001
Con: 22430 (48%)
Lab: 12350 (26%)
LDem: 10316 (22%)
UKIP: 1547 (3%)
MAJ: 10080 (22%)
1997
Con: 24717 (46%)
Lab: 13192 (24%)
LDem: 12380 (23%)
Oth: 1537 (3%)
MAJ: 11525 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CHRIS GRAYLING (Conservative) See above.
SHEILA CARLSON (Labour)
STEVE GEE (Liberal Democrat) Contested Wimbledon 2005.
ROBERT LEACH (UKIP)
SUSAN MCGRATH (Green)
GARETH HARFOOT (No description)
LIONEL BLACKMAN (Independent) Educated at Sutton Grammar. Solicitor. Epsom and Ewell councillor 2005-2007. Contested Esher and Walton 2010 for the Liberal Democrats.
Links
Comments - 247 Responses on “Epsom & Ewell”
  1. Yes, I suppose it is, Joe. Of course as you and others have said, this seat is different in subtle but important ways from those constituencies deeper into Surrey. We saw in 2001 that Labour can get into the mid-20s here in a very good year.

  2. The Lib Dems must be congratulated for saving their deposit here.

  3. I think Stoneleigh is possibly the Surrey version of Welling.

    Despite the nice houses it’s not posh

    http://m.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/13361261.Thugs_hurl_eggs_at_Muslims_just_days_after_Tunisia_attack/

  4. I think the Labour vote would come from Ruxley Lane area in North Epsom and be scattered elsewhere.
    My guess is it wouldn’t be particularly concentrated in the Epsom Wells area.

  5. ‘I think the Labour vote would come from Ruxley Lane area in North Epsom and be scattered elsewhere’

    I think the Court ward, which contains much of the noreth of the town, was once pretty reliably Labour, but i doubt they topped the poll even there in 2015

  6. That’s true.
    Probably not enough to win a ward – but a reasonable showing.

  7. “I think the Court ward, which contains much of the noreth of the town, was once pretty reliably Labour, but i doubt they topped the poll even there in 2015”

    Labour won all three councillors there which is a pretty good achievement considering it was a poor local election for the party across the southeast. They also polled well in Town Ward which is seeing a bit of demographic change and also a small student population.

  8. I’d have thought Labour will have narrowly carried Court in the general election.

    How will Stamford have voted? I know it had a track record of returning LD councillors in the 2000s.

  9. Court is Labours strongest ward in Surrey so it plausible that Labour would have narrowly carried it at the GE. It’s a very council estate dominated ward where with RTB there is some aspirational Conservative vote and perhaps a fair bit of UKIP vote too. I think Labour will carry this ward forever now as it is likely to demographically become more like Merton in years to come. Court is the kind of ward that if Epsom was in Greater London it would be held in 1968!!! As there would have been no RTB in those days.

  10. ‘Court is Labours strongest ward in Surrey so it plausible that Labour would have narrowly carried it at the GE.’

    There’s another ward – preston – in the ‘ultra-safe’ reigate seat which was labour throughout the 90s and 2000s.

    The party did much better there than in other wards in that seat like Woodhatch and South Park, which couldn’t be further from the stereotypical image of the Surrey stockbroker belt

    Very surprised that Labour beat UKIP to second place here

  11. UKIP did rather badly in posh seats like this. I think there was a late swing from UKIP to the Tories in this type of constituency due to the perceived SNP threat.

  12. Odd in this seat if that did happen, since it must be pretty widely known it’s going to be Tory until the end of time. Perhaps also a factor is that knowing this, pissed off voters who might have gone UKIP just said “Oh what’s the point” and didn’t vote.

  13. You’re way off beam there Mr Nameless. I live in exactly the type of seat Andy describes, where UKIP underperformed their potential by some distance (Mid Sussex). On election day there was a palpable feeling of solidarity that people were piling in behind the Tories to show their distaste for Miliband and an SNP coalition. You could feel it buzzing round the polling station. Don’t forget the election was expected to be extremely close and national vote share may well have been a key factor in who formed a government.

    The other factor behind UKIP’s poor showing was their complete absence of any campaign on the ground, outside their 10 or 20 key targets.

  14. Thanks for your perspective Hemmelig. Being stuck in the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire (in the student villages at that) means my memory of polling day was wearing out a nearly new pair of shoes and being cheered in the street.

  15. The mood on the day in the polling station is almost always a good pointer to the result. In 1997 I voted in Cities of London & Westminster; even there, in a safely Tory ward, there was a distinct feeling of “kick the bastards out”. After that I knew Blair was going to get a historic majority and win many seats Labour had never won before. It wasn’t a surprise to me that the Tory majority in Westminster fell from 20000 or so to barely 4000.

  16. You have a point. I knew the Greens were going to do worse than expected in Sheffield Central when I went to vote.

    Although I was one of only two in the polling station (I voted at about 10:30AM) there were three Green tellers standing outside, to whom I refused to give my polling number.

    When a party is blowing three reasonably young volunteers (rather than one retiree who can’t do anything else) on telling, you know they don’t have their ground game in order.

    Of course, the polling station mood isn’t always a great indicator. I went in to check turnout at the Endcliffe Village polling station every couple of hours, and if that was representative Ed Miliband would be sitting on a Blairesque landslide. Students are not representative, it turns out.

  17. Parts of the seat particularly around West Ewell would actually be good terroritory for UKIP. But as noted beforehand this is an ultra song Conservative seat and will always remain blue even if Epsom starts to over the next twenty years to resemble Merton/Croydon which is doubtful because of the good schools in the area because Ashtead, Tattenhams, Nork, East Ewell and Epsom Downs areas are so affluent.

  18. “SURREY POLITICS
    This seat will move to the Very safe Conservative seat to an ultra Safe Conservative due to a Lib Dem collapse.
    Conservative- 58%
    Labour- 18%
    UKIP- 11%
    Liberal Democrat- 10%
    Green – 2%
    Others – 1%
    I also predict the concurrent local elections the Liberals will wiped off the council. With the Conservatives gaining College, The residents will win pretty much every other ward except safe Labour Court. UKIP may get a seat or two somewhere.”

    My prediction here weren’t far off from reality

  19. MrN – do the Greens have any OAPs? I know they had a Peer.

  20. This seat however had one of the worst green votes in the southeast region( only the North Kent seats and Spelthorne are worse) for quite obvious reasons. Funny enough Labour polled relatively well (17%) in the Epsom and Ewell council elections their vote went up a fair bit certainly compared to the rest of Surrey and also Labour had a disastrous local election in general though they nearly lost a councillor in Court they still held a whole ward something they couldn’t do in former Labour councils such as Hertsmere and Braintree. They were also less than 400 votes from a councillor in Town ward. To be fair I heard they had a bit of help from Merton borough activists even though this borough on paper would be poor territory for them. Second place ahead of UKIP was a good achievement for the local Labour Party. There also may have been a switch of Lib to Lab here too.

  21. It is not obvious to me,as an outsider, why the Greens should do particularly badly here (by South East standards). Could somebody speel this out in a bit more detail?

  22. Frederic- I’d have thought it is because because Epsom and Ewell has a bigger upper working-class/lower middle-class element than your average Home Counties dormitory seat.

  23. I think Tory is spot on there with Analysis there. The only place in the seat where the Greens would get votes would be Town which is more cosmopolitan than your average Surrey ward plus it has a UCA campus linked with other campuses in Farnham, Maidstone and Canterbury. Might explain why Labour are picking up a bit in that ward in the locals.

  24. Council By election pending here Lib Dem resigned.

    http://m.epsomguardian.co.uk/news/13896798.Epsom_and_Ewell_Labour__fighting_to_win__first_county_council_seat_since_1981/

    RA favourites here, but if Labour win here it might be a early sign of demographic change in Northern Surrey. The old Epsom and Ewell SW and West county council divisions did used to be Labour in the 1970s.

  25. Tories win Epsom West by-election, having been 5th on 13% of the vote last time!

    CON 612
    RA 591
    LD 588
    LAB 578

  26. 34 votes separating first from fourth? Blimey!

  27. Tories won with 23.6% of the vote. Such a poor result for Democracy.

  28. I would argue that a result in which every single vote was crucial is good for democracy

  29. Democracy is always about choosing the least bad option.

    Electing the guy who came top with 24% is less bad than electing the guy who came second with 23%.

  30. If democracy is translated directly as people power, how do the people have power if less than a quarter of those who voted now have a representative?

    While it was good that there were not a lot of wasted votes for the winning party (21), at the end of the day you have 76% of voters in Epsom West going home with someone they played no part in electing. Is that not wrong?

  31. The reason for this kind of close result is because it’s a very socially mixed electoral division. It contains the desirable Stamford Green area around the Cricketers pub, Epsom Common, the new housing estates on the former hospitals which are all well to do middle class suburbia in contrast it contains very down at the heel grotty parts north of the Town centre, part of the large Longmead estate (where the used to film episodes of The Bill) and some parts of Town ward which aren’t particulary nice either, large Victorian houses split into BTL profiles rather like parts of Croydon.

  32. Stephen Crabb MP refused to pay for a further appeal by the DWP against the FOI Tribunal and so all of the Universal Credit docs have now been published, after 4 years.

    Here’s a take on them:

    https://ukcampaign4change.com/2016/04/19/hidden-for-four-years-a-review-of-universal-credit-it/

    The main finding was that civil servants warned Ministers of the problems with the rollout of Universal Credit and that a further £25m would need to be spent on IT.

    At the same time, Chris Grayling MP, as the then DWP Ministers informed Parliament that the UC rollout was progressing on budget and on time.

    The other admission which stands out is that civil servants said communication and liaison with local authorities would aid the rollout of UC; however, doing this might lead to Cllrs informing the media of the great problems with the rollout of Universal Credit, so the DWP chose not to liaise with councils re rollout functionality.

    I can see why some believed civil servants should be able to provide advice without the worry of it being leaked to the media, but why on earth the Govt spent more on the legal fees of Tribunal fees over 4 years, than the extra spend is bonkers, if it was purely to save face.

  33. Interesting the seats which voted the opposite way to their MP’s view.

  34. I am shocked that Epsom voted remain considering it was UKIPs second best area in Surrey at the euro elections in 2014. It’s not an Elmbridge ultra-rich banker type area or a Redbridge/Croydon/Enfield area either. Very puzzled?

  35. They didn’t win Bromley either. It has a better Labour vote at GE (on borough boundaries) than the other Surrey districts but I wouldn’t have thought was significant. Only 4 of the 13 wards I would say are overly affluent. The rest of the borough is ordinary suburban and still mainly white English.

  36. Sorry to be pendantic but I think it was the other way round with South Bucks and Wycombe.

  37. Exactly, very odd result I would backed Epsom ahead of Sutton and Hillingdon to leave too. Remain must have carried 7 wards – Ewell, Nonsuch, Woodcote, College which are the wealthiest then I am guessing maybe old Liberal strongholds of Stamford and Town and maybe the poorest ward Court may have been the bellwether wards.

  38. The other way round I expect. Remain would have been strong in the Labour areas around Crystal Palace and Penge, amongst the commuters in Beckenham and Bromley town, and in the posh mansion-lined roads in Chislehurst.

    Most of Orpington would have been pretty solid for Leave, from Biggin Hill right across to the Cray estates

  39. I think Farage lives in Orpington constituency (Darwin ward)

  40. The Result here is very strange as it was most marginal Con over UKIP in the euros. I would have laid my house on this voting leave I know the area fairly well, though it’s a reasonably well of area with the exception of Epsom Downs and East Ewell it isn’t what I would call posh. Though if you read the local news reports it’s getting the local news reports there has been an increase in violent crime in the area recetly. I would have thought this would have got the WWC that moved out from South London to here to vote leave because in they would perceive the area turning into a shithole like Croydon or Enfield if they didn’t.

  41. Chris Grayling said to b the new transport Secretary.

  42. Yay, I got this one right! (not much else)

  43. This is the first possible sign that the borough is an early stage of going in the direction of Croydon/Enfield/Redbridge? It will be a real shame if the town continues to decline like this I remember in the 1980s when it a nice pleasant market town with green London and Country buses. I am not sure what is causing the decline in this area, yes it’a nowhere as bad as Croydon North or Mitcham and Morden yet. Because it’s perceived to be a very affluent area maybe the problems get swept under the carpet and people that lived in Epsom all their lives are being ignored.

    http://m.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/14787090.Epsom_and_Ewell_worst_place_to_eat_in_south_east__survey_finds/

  44. Many independent restaurants, bars and coffee shops have opened up on the high street in the recent years. Not to mention that Epsom has the usual chains such as Bill’s, Cafe Rouge, Pizza Express and ASK Italia. Even Epsom’s Whetherspoons is nice. Going by the standards of its restaurants, the area doesn’t seem to be declining!

    I’m slightly puzzled by the the previous comments about Epsom on this thread though. And what do you even mean by going the same way as Croydon, Enfield and Redbridge?

    This area is one of the least deprived places in the UK and has a much higher than average educated and middle class population. Not to mention that’s its often rated one of the best places to live in the country.

  45. Not to mention it voted Remain!
    I think the food issue is a coincidence, I don’t think it’ll get like the places mentioned.

  46. Population stats for Epsom and Ewell-

    Those with a university education: 50.5% (NVQ4 or higher)
    AB social class: 34.3%
    DE: 13.5%
    Over 65: 16.8%
    Immigrant population: 14.3%

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/24/eu-referendum-how-the-results-compare-to-the-uks-educated-old-an/

    Going by stats, Epsom and Ewell can be described as lot more middle-class than most other areas.

  47. “it’s often rated one of the best places to lie in the Country”

    I doubt that.

    It’s certainly not in the Top 20 of the most recent survey.

    Epsom was featured on one of those police docus and there were fights in the town centre which surprised me. Although I think HH & other on here have indeed mentioned that the area has declined since the ’80s.

    Incidentally, I’d be wary of citing the first stat (50% having degrees), as I recall one of the most crime ridden wards in Lpool was also the second highest for graduates, simply cos it’s where lots of post grads and lived.

    I agree a third being AB sounds positive for an area though.

    Although the other 3 stats are fairly standard.

  48. It was no. 19 in the Halifax list of March 2016. But there are various “best places” lists using different criteria.

  49. Epsom and Ewell comes up in the top 20 best places to live in various ‘best places to live’ surveys.

    Moreover a fight in the town centre does not equate to an area declining. Drunken fights at night happen in various well-do town centres. For example I have seen one in Winchester, which is a very affluent posh town.

    The English indices of deprivation 2015 also rated Epsom and Ewell as one of the least deprived local authorities in the country.

    Overall I don’t understand this notion that the area is declining on this thread. Is it because the majority of residents speak with an London/Estuary English type accent? Or because its more urban than other Surrey towns? Perhaps its unfairly compared to ultra-wealthy Elmbridge?

  50. A fight alone does not, but it may do. Esp as areas of Greater London have changed or got worse as many on here have given countless local examples.

    I’ll let the Greater London posters on here reply as to why they believe this area has declined.

    Although as an outside Northerner an observation which always amuses is many move to places ‘cos they’re Surrey – as opposed to London – but still want to take advantage of Tube zones or extra London hospital or education funding etc. Although I can’t remember whether that discussion was on a Croydon thread or here.

    Similarly both Grayling & Pickles famously claimed that their constituencies were so far away that they required the taxpayer to fund a second home 18 miles away – yet Grayling himself has campaigned on extending the two ‘London benefits’ to their areas.

    [As an aside – although not totally unrelated as James also cites the MID data, there’s a very decent, but lengthy critique of that by Prof Stoney. It really is startling when you read it and shows how little the MID data actually reveals in reality

    Two examples which struck me where that a person can be classed as being in the poorest 1% of pensioners in the UK ‘cos they’re in receipt of a state pension only – even if they own their own home and have eg £30k in the bank! He cited this example as this was the typical ex-Liverpool dockworker who ‘took the money’ 20 years ago from the MDHC. In essence it’s therefore a test of income and not wealth, so even GO’s brother – when in rehab/not working as a Dr – would have fallen into this category, as income <£8k pa in any year.

    The other glaring error/misleading stat related to the 'economically inactive' – as the same can be as high as 40% in some rather affluent wards as it includes full-time students in this. Whereas we tend to think a figure this high means it must be akin to a council estate in Glasgow.

    Most on here will be able to read past the bare stats re relative poverty, but often these headlines are used in press releases by both the main Parties and at times even headlined by BBC Newsnight and so on – when one alone means little or rather can be very misleading indeed in terms of the picture conjured up in the minds are of 'poverty']

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