Faversham & Mid Kent

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24895 (54.4%)
Labour: 7403 (16.2%)
Lib Dem: 3039 (6.6%)
Green: 1768 (3.9%)
UKIP: 8243 (18%)
Loony: 297 (0.6%)
Others: 158 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 16652 (36.4%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. The eastern part of the Swale council area and part of the Maidstone council area.

Main population centres: Faversham, Bearsted, Shepway, Lenham.

Profile: This is probably the most disjointed seat in Kent - the county`s comunication lines tend to run west to east, along the A2/M2 north of the North Downs and M20 below them. Faversham and Mid Kent runs counter to this, including the town of Faversham in the Swale council area, then stretching south across the North Downs and through little country roads to take in the rural villages around Maidstone, the villages along the M20 and the suburbs of Maidstone itself, such as Shepway and Bearsted.

Politics: A safe Conservative seat, held by the party since its creation in 1997.

Current MP
HELEN WHATELEY (Conservative) Educated at Micklefield School and Oxford University. Contested Kingston and Surbiton 2010. First elected as MP for Faversham & Mid Kent in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 26250 (56%)
Lab: 7748 (17%)
LDem: 9162 (20%)
UKIP: 1722 (4%)
Oth: 1830 (4%)
MAJ: 17088 (37%)
Con: 21690 (50%)
Lab: 12970 (30%)
LDem: 7204 (17%)
UKIP: 1152 (3%)
Oth: 610 (1%)
MAJ: 8720 (20%)
Con: 18739 (46%)
Lab: 14556 (35%)
LDem: 5529 (13%)
UKIP: 828 (2%)
Oth: 1399 (3%)
MAJ: 4183 (10%)
Con: 22016 (44%)
Lab: 17843 (36%)
LDem: 6138 (12%)
Oth: 1536 (3%)
MAJ: 4173 (8%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
HELEN WHATELEY (Conservative) Educated at Micklefield School and Oxford University. Contested Kingston and Surbiton 2010.
MICHAEL DESMOND (Labour) Educated at Orange Hill School and London University. Managing director. Hackney councillor 1990-1998 and since 2002.
DAVE NAGHI (Liberal Democrat) Maidstone councillor since 2002. Contested Faversham and Mid Kent 2005, 2010.
PETER EDWARDS-DAEM (UKIP) Born 1956. Former Medway councillor for the Labour party.
TIM VALENTINE (Green) Psychology professor. Contested Faversham and Mid Kent 2010.
GARY BUTLER (English Democrat)
Comments - 34 Responses on “Faversham & Mid Kent”
  1. This MP and Richard Benyon apparently both sacked for being tweedy toffs, after a certain Austalian election guru said they looked like ‘clowns’ on tv. Truck driver Mike Penning promoted.

  2. Well not really – now Minister of State at the FCO.

  3. I’ve been up the allotment & didn’t realise Hugh Robertson had been sacked. That comes of something of a surprise, seeing that he was in many ways quite an effective Sports Minister, but perhaps it had been surmised that he could not realistically be promoted any further, and it wasn’t fair to keep him at this ministerial rank. He’s past 50 now after all. Note that he hasn’t been given Privy Council status, which is sometimes an indicator that a minister is or isn’t going up the ladder.
    This seat was fairly close (though still fairly comfortably Conservative) in 1997, when Andrew Rowe was still around. An untutored observer might have surmised that the seat was Labour Faversham versus Tory mid-Kent – after all, Faversham had had a Labour MP for a long time after WWII – but in fact Faversham even in 1997 stayed very narrowly Tory, and instead it was from the very oddly-included Shepway estate in Maidstone whence the Labour vote mainly came. The Tories however still had enough votes in the small towns of Bearsted, Headcorn & Lenham (unless perhaps the last-named wasn’t included in the seat) to make sure that they held on. Nowadays Labour struggle to get any sort of majority even in the Shepway estate, although they have managed to get back a council presence in the area at least.

  4. ‘Nowadays Labour struggle to get any sort of majority even in the Shepway estate, although they have managed to get back a council presence in the area at least.’

    Which surely Barnaby is proof that working class voters in the South East of England have never in the post war period been less inclined to vote Labour than they are now

    One does wonder when they are going to wake up to this fact

  5. Indeed, Tim. As you and I have said before, it is quite conceivable (indeed perhaps even more likely than not) that Labour will form the next government without gaining a single Kent seat.

  6. Seems that Robertson wasn’t sacked as reported earlier – he’s been moved to the Foreign Office.
    Tory is quite likely correct. Labour has never previously formed a government without winning at least Dartford, though in February 1974 that was indeed Labour’s only seat in Kent. Dover is the most likely but if Labour is, say, 1 to 2% ahead of the Conservatives nationally it would be pretty likely that there would be a parliamentary majority, but no Labour MPs in Kent. But – and it could be quite a big but – many of these seats are quite volatile, and if Labour ends up with a statistically significant national lead it wouldn’t be that surprising if at least one Kent seat falls. Interestingly, in this year’s county council elections, Labour’s strongest seat in the county wasn’t Dover, but Gravesham. Of course, there weren’t any elections in most of Chatham & Aylesford, but I personally would have been surprised to see Labour ahead there either.

  7. sorry I missed Jason Harcourt’s comment above, which corrected the mistaken report that Robertson had been sacked.

  8. Well, perhaps the reports of Robertson being sacked were premature rather than wrong.

    Cameron’s action in sacking both Robertson and next-door MP Damien Green do appear rather bizarre, hollowing out the bedrock of the Government for the sake of political correctness. And how many people would satnd up and say that the MP for Maidstone is a better minister than Roberston or Green?

    I am tempted to say that this reshuffle shows how little Cameron knows or cares about the politics and interests of East Kent, with the posisble exception of Canterbury.

    By the way, how many people these days, with the possible exception of their wives, cares if MPs get knighthoods?

  9. I agree about him and Green, they seemed OK. Another move which was cack-handed was Nick Gibb who seemed a good minister. Bye-bye – oh sorry changed our mind, welcome back.

  10. Hugh Robertson is standing down.

  11. Ooh, some attention for my boringly safe seat 🙂

    It’s still going to be a boringly safe seat though.

  12. Ah, but now you have the excitement of a candidate selection procedure to look forward to. Lucky you 😉

  13. Yeah, that’s the real election in this seat, and I have no part in it. Isn’t democracy great?

  14. The conservative candidate will be selected next week – and the shortlist is 4 women.

  15. UKIP may do rather well here with a new Tory candidate being selected.

  16. Might one of them be Ann Widdecombe? Maybe after five years in which she has done little beyond making a prat of herself on Strictly Come Dancing and hosting the utterly forgettable Cleverdicks she might feel quite up for another spell on a cosy Westminster backbench…

  17. Dave Naghi, the Lib Dem candidate here, yet again.

  18. Bruce Parmenter stood here in 1997, then Gravesham in 2001 and 2005.

    Then in 2001 Mike Sole stood here- He had previously been Lib Dem candidate in Dover in 1992. Dover Sole?

  19. Andy JS: Faversham & Mid-Kent, or at least where I live in Bearsted, doesn’t appear to be natural UKIP territory. UKIP might have done better here a few years ago off the back of Kent International Gateway, a proposed Channel Tunnel link designed to reduce motorway frieght in Kent. However those plans were cancelled a while ago now.

  20. UKIP does have some potential in the Shepway estate in Maidstone, which is included in this constituency. I don’t think their potential is that great elsewhere.

  21. Helen Whately wins Conservative selection. It was her 6th shortlist i this parliament.

  22. How Eurosceptic is she?

  23. Helen was the candidate in Kingston and Surbiton in 2010 and so I got to spend a lot of time with her. Considering the different nature of the two seats (Lib Dem South West London vs Rural Tory Kent) I imagine she would adopt a more pragmatic view.

  24. She is probably the right Conservative candidate for a seat like this. The transition from affluent urban Surrey to affluent rural Kent makes sense for Whately I think, she’ll probably go down well.

  25. Possible seat for a decent Green result – could beat UKIP for 4th place. Votes for all 3 main parties likely to be pretty stagnant.

  26. Driving through some of the rural parts of this seat and saw a lot of UKIP leaflets in windows. Perhaps I was premature in writing them off totally here – maybe they will do better than I predicted.

  27. Good to see it’s a safe Tory seat. A bit disappointed Hugh isn’t standing- whatever they said about him, at least he’s local. A little annoyed with the shipping around of candidates. Candidate selection here smells a bit Tactical for the purpose of PCness given it is a safe Tory seat and all 4 potential candidates were female – using us to increase female Tory presence. Bet they wouldn’t dare do it in seats where there’s stiff competition from the likes of ukip. Also a bit cheesed at the complacency- I’ve not seen any hint of campaigning from anyone..

  28. Faversham voter may be right about the complacency – Helen Whateley has been seen canvassing for MacKinley in South Thanet several times.

  29. Conservative Hold. 15,000 maj

  30. The Lib Dem candidate here probably rescued his deposit largely by dint of the fact that he is a local man who is a councillor in the area, and was fighting this seat for the third time.

  31. This seat should demographically be fairly good territory for the LibDems, even if it is in Kent. 6.8% was hardly something to write home about.

  32. Headcorn,Maidstone

    CON: 57.3% (-7.3)
    LDEM: 34.1% (+30.1)
    LAB: 5.3% (-2.2)
    GRN: 3.3% (-1.4)

    No UKIP (-19.2) as prev.

    Chgs. w/ 2016.

  33. Just learned, from the Observer, that my former MP is currently claiming £3,250 a month in rent expenses, the most of any parliamentarian.

    Where on earth is she living? I know London is expensive, but that’s just taking the piss.

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