Esher & Walton

2015 Result:
Conservative: 35845 (62.9%)
Labour: 7229 (12.7%)
Lib Dem: 5372 (9.4%)
Green: 2355 (4.1%)
UKIP: 5551 (9.7%)
Independent: 228 (0.4%)
Others: 396 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 28616 (50.2%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Surrey. Most of Elmbridge council area.

Main population centres: Esher, Walton-on-Thames, Cobham, Molesey, Thames Ditton, Claygate, Oxshott.

Profile: This is a prosperous middle class suburban commuter area just outside the Greater London boundary and within the M25 boundary. Most of the constituency is designated as the green belt and with good commuter services into central London the area commands high property prices as is regularly cited as one of the best places to live in the UK. The constituency includes Sandown Park racecourse.

Politics: This is an extremely safe Conservative seat, held by the party since its creation in 1997 (with its predecessor Esher also only have ever returned Conservative members of Parliament). At a local level Elmbridge council is largely contested between the Conservatives and various local residents associations.

Current MP
DOMINIC RAAB (Conservative) Born 1974, Buckinghamshire. Educated at Dr Challoners Grammar School and Oxford University. Former foreign office legal advisor and Chief of staff to Dominic Grieve. First elected as MP for Esher and Walton in 2010. Junior justice minister since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 32134 (59%)
Lab: 5829 (11%)
LDem: 13541 (25%)
UKIP: 1783 (3%)
Oth: 1256 (2%)
MAJ: 18593 (34%)
Con: 21882 (46%)
Lab: 9309 (19%)
LDem: 14155 (30%)
UKIP: 1582 (3%)
Oth: 950 (2%)
MAJ: 7727 (16%)
Con: 22296 (49%)
Lab: 10758 (24%)
LDem: 10241 (22%)
UKIP: 2236 (5%)
MAJ: 11538 (25%)
Con: 26747 (50%)
Lab: 12219 (23%)
LDem: 10937 (20%)
Oth: 860 (2%)
MAJ: 14528 (27%)

2015 Candidates
DOMINIC RAAB (Conservative) See above.
ANDREW DAVIS (Liberal Democrat)
DELLA REYNOLDS (Independent)
Comments - 142 Responses on “Esher & Walton”
  1. Seems like an honorary LibDem for his valiant crusade against Julian Smith and the forces of darkness…

  2. Conservativehome has a full list of MPs for Mr Raab’s amendment to the Immigration Bill-

  3. Prediction for 2015-
    Raab (Conservative)- 59%
    Liberal Democrats- 19%
    Labour- 14%
    UKIP- 8%

  4. Although this seat has now returned to normal service resumed for the Tories in terms of the vote share and majority levels, it is interesting all the same to have another look at what happened here in 2005. There were a number of striking things about the result-
    1. The Conservative vote fell by 3.3%
    2. The Labour candidate had the same surname as the sitting MP, who was then Ian Taylor
    3. The Liberal Democrat candidate Mark Marsh, who was standing for the second time, increased his vote by 7.1%, which was above average for Surrey in 2005.

    Now I know this particular result was discussed a bit on the old site, but were there any local factors that might have effected the result here that year? All I know is that Ian Taylor was a very pro-EU MP, and I don’t know if the Tory vote would have declined in both 2001 and 2005 anyway regardless of who the MP was here. What else is for certain is that for one of the most safest of Tory seats in the land, their performances here until 2010 were to say the least underwhelming.

  5. I mentioned all of the above because this seat had two very strange results in 2001 and 2005- in fact I can’t really think of too many other seats the Conservatives held in both those elections where their vote share and majority continued to fall both times, East Hampshire is the only other one I can think of, but here the decreases were much more marked. If this seat had behaved normally in those years, there definitely wouldn’t have been the huge swing there was in 2010 I don’t think.

  6. There seems little question that Ian Taylor had become unpopular with the electorate at large as well as his own Conservative Association. He came to be regarded as a rather unapproachable, out of touch, even arrogant MP & as the leading opposition party in the constituency the LDs clearly obtained the votes of many normal Conservatives who had become fed up of him. The Tory improvement when he went & Raab came in was very striking even given the party’s improvement nationally.

  7. So the Tories’ disappointing performance until 2010 wasn’t because of other problems, it was all because of Taylor. I do know having read on the old site that I think there was certainly at that time (2005-2010) at least a Residents Association locally who took a lot of votes which might have hit the Tories in particular, perhaps in the general election in 2005 they sided with the Lib Dems as you say because they couldn’t vote for Taylor for whatever reason. The irony is though IT was as moderate if not maybe more so than even that party. The Tory recovery here in 2010 was clearly long overdue however, and was probably delayed because of the problems Ian Taylor had experienced with his local party during the 2000s in particular. In fact there’s actually now a chance that Dominic Raab might increase his majority again next time, if the Lib Dems continue to fall back here- they did have above average increases in both 2001 and 2005 after all.

  8. It is an interesting seat as it is almost undergoing Inner West London type demographic change, with the classic stockbroker demographic moving out (I assume further into Surrey) and being replaced more and more by the ultra-rich.

    Plots are worth so much more than the houses that stand on them, so “knock down and rebuilds” are phenomenally popular in places like Oxshott and Cobham.

    Meanwhile even the grubbier parts of this seat (e.g. northern Walton and Hersham) have become relatively expensive, more than some areas within the Greater London boundary.

  9. RR is right – I had relatives who used to live in Thames Ditton. Having left the area for Rhos on Sea, North Wales, in the early 1980s they went back recently and said that even though it was prosperous when they lived there, it is almost unrecognisible now

  10. The old Esher produced vote shares for the Tories of 63.3% in 1983, then 65.5% in 1987 and finally 65.4% in 1992. Ian Taylor actually increased the vote share when he took over from Carol Mather in 1983, by 2.2%, so did manage to increase once. Although this seat can’t be compared to the old Esher because of the boundary changes in 1997, I think the Tories have probably lost more than 6% of their vote compared with 1992.

  11. “Plots are worth so much more than the houses that stand on them, so “knock down and rebuilds” are phenomenally popular in places like Oxshott and Cobham.”

    This is happening a lot in parts of Harpenden too – a horrible practice I had only witnessed in the US previously. I suppose one can’t object to what people choose to do with their own property, its depressing to see some beautiful and houses built in the 1920s but in perfectly good condition, demolished and replaced by some hideous eco-house or something

  12. TheResults – the Residents’ Association (properly “Associations” since nominally the various localities have separate associations) were a major factor in local government in Elmbridge for many years before that & are still very much around. Despite the fact that they have tended to draw their votes disproportionately from Tory voters in national elections, they tended to form alliances with the LDs who used to have quite a lot of local councillors rather than the Tories whom they saw as their rivals. They have however lost seats in recent years to the Tories. They are purely district council politicians, not standing in either CC or parliamentary elections. When Labour were still a considerable force in some wards – they have in the 90s had councillors in Hersham, W Molesey & Walton-on-Thames – they didn’t enjoy very good relations with the residents’ associations. The one in Hersham, the Hersham Village Society, was commonly referred to in Labour circles as the “village idiots”.
    I agree with Pete on this issue. It is strange that people pay shitloads of money to buy a house, then either change it out of all recognition or rebuild it completely. It is also odd that one would pay a fortune for a house & hardly ever actually be there! – a phenomenon I encounter all too often in my professional life when I am working in a particularly upmarket area. I blame it all on Kevin McCloud 🙂

  13. Thanks for all that Barnaby, very interesting. It explains a lot.

    This seat looked semi-marginal after 2005, the majority having dropped incredibly by 11% since 1997, although there might also have been something of a Kingston effect here as Ed Davey’s seat is neighbouring.

  14. I don’t actually know how much strength the Lib Dems had built up locally here going into 2005, but the seat certainly stood out because elsewhere in Surrey the Lib Dems either increased but nowhere near as much as the 7% here, and in some cases even decreased slightly.

  15. I do n’t think the result in 2005 had much to do with any innate Libdem strength or Kingston overspill but more to do with Taylor’s unpopularity.
    Totally agree about the horror of “knockdown and rebuild”.
    It’s happening on a large scale in St Georges Hill (Weybridge) too. The twenties large house s are much more attractive than the replacements.

  16. How many other ‘underwhelming’ Tory results can we think of from 2005? East Hampshire comes to mind, and I think there might be a few others.

    In 2001, there were negative swings against quite a few Conservative MPs I think where their own vote actually decreased- Ian Taylor here, Michael Mates in East Hampshire, Richard Page in South West Hertfordshire, Jonathan Djanogly in Huntingdon (special circumstances) and also Andrew Hunter in Basingstoke.

  17. I don’t believe Labour will ever win a seat in this Elmbridge ever again. The same applies to probably Waverley, Mole Valley, Tandridge, Reigate and Banstead and LB Sutton.

    Surrey seems to be very anti Labour terrority even in the more working class parts due to the boroughs generally being very ultra wealthy throughout and voters prehaps being more right wing.

    If Epsom and Spelthorne become demographcally more like their neighbours (Merton/Croydon) or (Hounslow/Ealing) then we may see a minimal change in Labours favour.

  18. “It is strange that people pay shitloads of money to buy a house, then either change it out of all recognition or rebuild it completely”

    The main issue with knock down and rebuilds comes down to money, like anything else.

    The value of a house is majority based on the land it sits on, rather than the building itself, particularly in this area where residential land prices have gone stratospheric.

    Where you have a relatively small house on a relatively large plot…bingo…you have a recipe to make money building and selling a mini-mansion in its place by massively increasing the footprint.

    Say you buy a small house on land in Oxshott for £2 million, you might spend £800,000 building a mini mansion. Total cost £2.8 million. But you can probably sell for more like £4 million. Profit £1.2 million.

    Years ago, and in lower-value areas still a developer might seek to squeeze more units in, but the market (and money) in this area is far more geared to single supersize properties.

    To be fair while many of the existing houses (particularly the Tarrants of St Georges Hill) once had some merit, many of these Unlisted houses have been so systematically butchered with extensions over the years that in terms of planning/conservation merits they are not adjudged as worth saving.

  19. Given everything that happened here before 2010, rather ironically the Tory majority could well in fact increase here next time.

  20. Weybridge North Cllr Andrew Davis selected for the Lib Dems.

  21. Olivia Palmer is standing for the Green Party and is also contesting the Hersham South ward on Elmbridge BC on the same day. Fist time a Green candidate has stood here at either level unless I’m mistaken.

  22. I’m voting green. Lib Dem and Labour = wasted votes in this constituency

  23. and green isn’t?

  24. Voting Tory is a wasted vote here.

  25. If the Green vote tops 1,000 here I shall be very surprised.

  26. The Greens will come fifth here which makes voting Green the most wasted vote of all in this seat. The Tories will come first (obviously) but I wonder how the Lib Dems, Labour and UKIP will place in the fight for second, third and forth. My guess would be: Con, UKIP, Lib Dem, Labour, Green as the order. UKIP, Lib Dems and Labour will probably all be marooned on the low to mid teens so it is really anyone’s guess as to what order they come in.

  27. Oh I don’t know, I think the Lib Dems will hold second. They have seven councillors currently. Claygate is a Lib Dem outpost and Long Ditton (where I am standing as the Conservative candidate this year) leans Lib Dem owing to its position on the border with Kingston and Surbiton, so a lot of residents in the ward identify as Surbiton residents. Even though I only have to overturn a majority of 42, because of the kind of area it is – and the more Lib Dem areas around it – the fact that it’s only 42 votes in it might mean nothing at all.

    I’d give Andrew Davis 15-20%, Labour maybe 12-15%. UKIP came nowhere in the 2014 local elections.

  28. Six councillors, sorry, not seven. I checked.

  29. Conservative Hold. 22,000 maj

  30. By-election called for Long Ditton after one of the Lib Dem councillors resigned. I lost by 49 votes in May, ready for round two…..

  31. Good luck the second time round then… I used to live in this ward until 3 years ago so hope you get in..

    Always surprises me when councillors resign so close to an election- if they had done so a month earlier it would have saved the council a bit of money not having to run a second election so close to the one we have just had..

    I have also just seen the huge majority which raab has built up must be in the top 5 nationally for conservative seats

  32. In terms of majority (both the raw numerical majority and the percentage majority), Esher and Walton now has the third largest of all Tory seats, after North East Hampshire and Maidenhead.

    In terms of share of the vote Esher and Walton is sixth after North East Hampshire, Maidenhead, Windsor, Beaconsfield, and Chelsea and Fulham.

  33. As recorded upthread, the Tory majority was depressed for a while by the previous MP and has now returned to what one would expect…or even beyond.

  34. Dominic Raab – key Gove ally who would probably have been Justice Secretary in a Boris/Gove govt., has reportedly been sacked. Sir Oliver Heald replaces him at the MoJ.

  35. That is a shame, he is a very talented man. But he made a bad choice.

  36. Raab’s gone.

    Who would even want to replace him?

  37. Quite possibly no one.
    He could be back through within a few weeks. Surely May won’t last till even christmas before Javid (most likely) replaces her.

  38. The Sunday Times now has Dominic Rabb as the favorite to succeed May.

  39. I’m hoping I win some money on this

  40. IMO he’s probably blown it.

    The majority of Tory MPs are angry with him which makes it harder to imagine him getting into the final 2

    The Guardian interviewed Tory members and Tory voters in Esher today and many were not complimentary to Raab. One view heard quite often was that he was an inexperienced lightweight. If things get more frantic it might be the safe pair of hands candidates that become more attractive.

  41. House prices in Esher fell 6.4% year on year in October, one of the worst declines in the whole UK.

    Brexit is most clearly impacting the housing market in the most exclusive areas.

  42. That might also effect Javid who while being a fair bit more experienced than Rabb would still be a chance candidate when a interm caretaker type might stand a better chance.

  43. Along with Javid being a reluctant remainer just like may.
    Hunt has of course also changes his views but I am not sure if he was really decided in 2016 on what way to go.

  44. I don’t believe Hunt for one minute. He’s a centre right Remainer who is now frantically trying to butter up the people he feels he needs to impress to secure his ultimate aim- leadership. Javid is somewhat more convincing in this area.

    I notice that another ‘votes for Remain but now I’m an arch Leaver, honest guv’ Liz Truss was suspiciously quiet over the last week. Surely she’d be outraged by this draft is she was such a passionate Leaver now? To be fair, perhaps they just forgot she was there.

  45. Disagree about Hunt, he was one of those who contributed to the infamous Britannia Unchained pamphlet, along with the likes of Priti Patel and Douglas Carswell. Likewise Liz Truss, who started the Free Enterprise Group with Dominic Raab, and is the most vocally free-market government minister.

    They’re not compromising their beliefs for expediency. That’s what they were doing when they supported Cameron against their own instincts, because they expected remain to win and thought backing the winning side would help their careers.

  46. Truss is being seen as a possible kingmaker for the next leadership election – rather than standing herself (prehaps the fact she got effectively demoted from Justice secretary to chief secretary is the biggest sign that would probably struggle).

  47. Or, let me put it this way, Hunt and Truss would probably have broken for leave had they not been in cabinet, and owed their ministerial seats to David Cameron.

  48. Hunt also has a very Remainy seat

  49. ‘I don’t believe Hunt for one minute. He’s a centre right Remainer who is now frantically trying to butter up the people he feels he needs to impress to secure his ultimate aim- leadership. ‘

    Totally agree – and he’s going about it in the most obvious and cack-handed he possibly could

    It shows how out of touch Hunt is in thinking that all he has to do is say a few nasty things about the EU and immigrants, and all the right-wingers forget that he was a pivotal figure in trying to Cameronise the party

    Most of them aren’t known for their intelligence – but they are not that thick

  50. Dominic Rabb has challenged Jeremy Corbyn for a debate on Brexit.
    Both him and Esther Mcvey have already spoken in the commons – one eye for both on Number 10?

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