Folkestone & Hythe

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26323 (47.9%)
Labour: 7939 (14.4%)
Lib Dem: 4882 (8.9%)
Green: 2956 (5.4%)
UKIP: 12526 (22.8%)
TUSC: 244 (0.4%)
Others: 140 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 13797 (25.1%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. The Shepway council area and one ward from the Ashford council area.

Main population centres: Folkestone, Hythe, New Romney, Lydd, Elham.

Profile: This is the southernmost section of the Kent coastline, including the cinque ports of Hythe and Romsey. As well as the ports of Folkestone and Hythe, the constituency includes the rural villages around them such as Elham, Lyminge, Lympne and Romney Marsh. The constituency is also the site of Dungeoness Power Station, the Channel Tunnel, Saltwood castle (the former home of Lord Deedes and Alan Clark) and Port Lympne Wild Animal Park (founded by the late John Aspinall, who was the Referendum party candidate for the seat in 1997, managing one of the party`s best performances).

Politics: Folkestone and Hythe is a strongly Conservative seat that has been held by the party since its creation in 1950. There was previously a strong Liberal Democrat presence in the seat and during the 2005 general election the seat was targeted by the Liberal Democrats and received several visits from Charles Kennedy in an attempt to unseat the then Conservative leader, Michael Howard. With the collapse of the Liberal Democrats UKIP took second place in 2015, putting up Labour`s former police commissioner candidate Harriet Yeo as their candidate.

Current MP
DAMIAN COLLINS (Conservative) Born 1974, Northampton. Educated at St Mary`s High School and Oxford University. Former Managing director of an advertising company. Contested Northampton North 2005. First elected as MP for Folkestone and Hythe in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 26109 (49%)
Lab: 5719 (11%)
LDem: 15987 (30%)
UKIP: 2439 (5%)
Oth: 2546 (5%)
MAJ: 10122 (19%)
Con: 26161 (54%)
Lab: 6053 (12%)
LDem: 14481 (30%)
GRN: 688 (1%)
Oth: 1120 (2%)
MAJ: 11680 (24%)
Con: 20645 (45%)
Lab: 9260 (20%)
LDem: 14738 (32%)
UKIP: 1212 (3%)
MAJ: 5907 (13%)
Con: 20313 (39%)
Lab: 12939 (25%)
LDem: 13981 (27%)
Oth: 629 (1%)
MAJ: 6332 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
DAMIAN COLLINS (Conservative) See above.
CLAIRE JEFFREY (Labour) Born Kent. Educated at Folkestone School for Girls and Canterbury Christ Church University. Youth and community worker.
LYNNE BEAUMONT (Liberal Democrat) Shepway councillor 2003-2011 and since 2012.
HARRIET YEO (UKIP) Development manager of an aviation charity, former President of the TSSA. Ashford councillor, originally elected for Labour. Contested Kent Police Commissioner election 2012 for Labour.
MARTIN WHYBROW (Green) Journalist. Kent councillor.
ANDY THOMAS (Socialist Party GB)
ROHEN KAPUR (Young Peoples Party) Retired doctor. Contested Hornsey and Wood Green 2010 as Independent, Corby 2012 by-election as Young People Party.
Comments - 192 Responses on “Folkestone & Hythe”
  1. This was the bit of trouble that Janice Atkinson ran into a couple of months ago:

  2. I think UKIP will come a decent second, albeit a double figure percentage behind the Tories, with Atkinson. But I only say that because there’s no reason to think Labour or LD will put in the effort needed to expose her, combined with the relatively high floor I’d expect a bad UKIP candidate to have in Kent.

    It is however possible that CCHQ will keep Atkinson’s previous controversy up their sleeve for the closing weeks of the campaign – too late for UKIP to replace her – in an attempt to prove that Cameron’s uncharitable comments about UKIP all those years ago were not entirely baseless, and that at least some of the people who prompted him to come to that view are still major players in the party.

  3. Interesting that there is only one local candidate selected so far for Labour which might have an impact.

    Conservative’s Damian Collins parachuted in from Northampton and lives with his family in London, UKIP’s Janice Atkinson lives in Chislehurst and no local links, Lib Dem candidate from Shropshire but lived in constituency for a few years and Claire Jeffrey for Labour who is born and brought up locally with local connections to schools, work, family and residents. Might actually make it very interesting with a lower than usual percentage needed to win.

  4. In order to understand the Lib Dem vote here, you have to realise what a total pigs ear they made from their shot at running the council.

    They closed the public toilets, let the verges grow to waist height and cancelled the popular air show, before splitting the party with an acrimonious implosion, into which the previously ousted Conservatives came in and got the finances back on track, to their credit.

    That was less than a generation ago, and they won’t be trusted for at least another decade or so from now.

  5. Janice Atkinson has been suspended from Ukip over financial irregularities. Ukip are lucky that this didn’t break a couple of weeks later.

  6. Can’t wait to see what she’s done.

  7. Janice Atkinson seems like a huge liability. Gaff after gaff after gaff! UKIP are best rid of her!

  8. She’s been suspended as the candidate for financial irregularity. Is Neil Hamilton readied?

  9. I wonder if UKIP pick Diane James?

  10. If UKIP select a good candidate, like they have in Basildon with Ian Luder, they might have a chance of winning.

  11. the decapitation strategy by the Lib Dems in 2005

    what was the point of that?

  12. Is anyone keeping a running total of UKIP PPC’s suspended or expelled?

  13. If UKIP’s MEPs get elected as MP’s, I assume they resign in Brussels and make way for the next person on the regional list. What happens if they use up all their list candidates as MP’s?

  14. “If UKIP select a good candidate, like they have in Basildon with Ian Luder, they might have a chance of winning.”

    Andy JS – Think you could be onto something. I don’t know this constituency at all but I was speaking to someone who lives here and told me that immigration is a big issue in the town and petty ctime is becoming a problem here in recent years. She told me there are many ‘undesirables’ constantly roaming in the church that she attends when the main entrance is left open for people to pay a visit and pay. Sounds like perfect UKIP terriotory. I think this will be a seat to watch on Election night.

    It’d be interesting to hear from anyone who lives or knows this seat.

  15. Sadly your friend sounds like a typical UKIP voter – note the linking of immigration and petty crime in the same sentence.

    Like almost all seats UKIP are targeting there is very little immigration in large swathes of the Constituency. There are some in East Folkestone; and a much loved Ghurka community in Cheriton. I’m not sure how many ‘Ting Tongs’ we have!

    Certainly there is not a problem with immigrants unless you are a UKIPER and determined to create one.

    Lord Howard was warned at every election that he would loose and never did.
    Although the present MP is no Lord Howard there are still enough decent traditional Tories in Folkestone & Hythe to give him a comfortable victory on election night

  16. “Is anyone keeping a running total of UKIP PPC’s suspended or expelled?”

    You can see which ones have been removed from my list since 2nd February at the bottom of this spreadsheet:

  17. ‘Janice Atkinson seems like a huge liability. Gaff after gaff after gaff! UKIP are best rid of her!’

    UKIP are suffering from a the same problems the Tories used to occassionally encounter with undesirables flocking to their party

    When you’re willing to say nasty things you can’t be too surprised to attract nasty people and Janice Atkinson, just like the repugnant Neil Hamilton, cletrly falls under trhis category

    UKIP would be well rid of them both – but I’m sure this will be one just one of many controversies affecting their parliamentary candidates

    They simply aren’t very nice people

  18. Nor were Cyril Smith or Jeremy Thorpe as far as one can tell.

  19. Funny how Runnymede criticised other posters for bringing up Peter Morrison on another thread (as it was all such a long time ago and has no relevance to today), and then brings up Thorpe and Smith when it suits him.

    Double standards alert!

  20. ‘Nor were Cyril Smith or Jeremy Thorpe as far as one can tell.’

    I didn’t think it would take you long to jump to Atkinson’s defence but I couldn’t agree more with the comment

    All parties have their fair share of rotten apples – despite UKIP’s attempts to monpopolise them for themselves

  21. GRUMPYOLDTORY, I think the idea that UKIP support is generated by the immediate presence of an immigrant community is wrong. If anything, the inverse is true.
    My now-deceased grandparents lived in small semi-rural towns where the introduction a brown-face or foreign accent would be a rarity, but they frequently visited very diverse towns in neighbouring constituencies & would return chunnering on about the country going to the dogs.
    I have little doubt that if they were around today they’d be highly likely to vote UKIP.

  22. The above post highlights something referes to as the “halo effect” in an article I linked to on the Rochester & Strood thread. Dissatisfaction about immigration is most common among those who live close to but not among large concentrations of immigrants.

    “Think of a nuclear power plant. Studies find that concerns are not greatest among those living by nuclear stations, nor among those far enough away not to think about it, but among those who are close enough to fear it, but not close enough to understand it. With ethnic diversity, those who rarely have contact with minorities and immigrants but are close enough to diverse places such as London to fear impending change are more opposed to immigration and more likely to support the populist right”.

  23. Former Labour councillor, NEC member & PCC candidate Harriet Yeo selected:

  24. I live and work in Shepway and in the past couple of months I haven’t come across anybody who is prepared to admit that they will vote either Labour or Conservative but plenty who are very vocally about voting for UKIP. Farage is the only party leader with a bit of character anyway but what UKIP actually stands for doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that after decades of Tory and Labour misrule ‘ordinary’ voters sense that they have a chance to kick the career politicians very hard where it hurts and they intend to make the most of it.

  25. Interesting selection.

  26. “Sadly your friend sounds like a typical UKIP voter – note the linking of immigration and petty crime in the same sentence.”

    I don’t actually know her very well but I do know she’s a left-leaning Tory and suspect she might have voted for Blair/Labour in 1997, 2001 and maybe 2005.

  27. There seem to be a lot of Green posters in Hythe. I think that they will probably do better in 2015 than they did in 2010, although they are unlikely to beat the Lib Dems, for any anti-Tory/UKIP voter.

  28. Yes, I think the Greens will do well here. It’s a shame there’s not a bit more coverage of the Greens across Kent as I think they may do well in a few seats including this one, but also Faversham and Mid Kent and just possibly Canterbury.

    By ‘well’ obviously I mean holding their deposit, but the potential for decent local Green strongholds has always been present in parts of Kent, they’ve just failed to capitalise on it by never putting in a long-term strategy.

  29. Con hold, UKIP second. 10,000-majority
    (In the style of Shaun Bennett)

    Con – 40
    UKIP – 22
    Lab – 17
    LD – 17
    Oth – 4

  30. Conservative Hold. 13,000 maj. UKIP 2nd.

    (Beware imitations. There is only one Shaun Bennett 🙂

  31. The MP here is taking a notceably high profile over the Calais immigrant crisis. If the Conservatives don’t get this issue sorted out promptly and effectively they could seriously start to los support here,p resumably to UKIP.

  32. Another issue concerning Calais. In “Kent on Sunday” the MP here, Damien Collins, has responded to news that the local NHS are likely to send patients to Calais for treatment. He says that in the longer term the area needs more Community Hospitals.

    Collins’ comments ignore the fact that the NHS needs more doctors, particularly in Kent, which is overshadowed by the many doctors who are drawn away to London teaching hospitals. It may be very expensive, but to train more doctors in Kent there is no alternative but to build a teaching hosptial (probably in etiher Chatham or Canterbury).

    Sending patients to France may be the only available immediate solution,and therefore essential, but it will make it obvious how inadequate English health care is by comparison that in with Europe, with consequent poliitical unrest.

    We have seen, specifically in Wyre Forest, that inadequate policy on the NHS can directly cost parliamentary seats. The NHS causes considerable unrest in this and neighboruing seats, and if the Conservatives, including Damien Collins, don’t start to invest properly, and along logical lines, on health spending they are likely to see similar one-issue campaigns on health services emerge here..

    P.S. To say that Community Hopspitals are the solution shows that Damien Collins has no long-term answer to the problem.

  33. Folkestone and Hythe CLP have nominated Jeremy Corbyn. Last year they nominated Andy Burnham. Apparently this CLP now has 800 members. They cant be many tory held Seats that more Tory members than that let alone any Tory Parties in safe Labour seats.

  34. Only 50 attended the Nomination meeting through. 39-11 for Jeremy Corbyn.

  35. Claire Jeffrey, the Labour candidate for Folkestone and Hythe at the general election and the only Labour councillor on Shepway council, has left the Labour Party:

  36. Yes, but It’an area where they done poorly at General Elections. Labour have not secured second ever since the Liberal/LD have entered contests in 1970. Even in 1997 Labour could muster just 25%.

  37. Rather bizarrely the Labour vote share actually fell here in 1987 by 2.44%.

  38. there’s a by-election tonight in Romney Marsh. result not yet in. I don’t think the fall in the Labour vote in 1987 is particularly bizarre.

  39. …..and Labour very nearly won New Romney. Con 35.2% (+6.2%) Lab 32.5% ( + 21.5%) Ind 27.5% ( no candidate previously) LD 4.8% ( – 3.7%). Con hold.

  40. Certainly a brilliant night for Labour locally, but I will for the moment take these results with a pinch of salt. Six months ago the Lib Dems were scooping up local by-election gains everywhere – and look where that got them when things got serious.

  41. Oh it would obviously be a mistake to read too much into one week’s set of results (the result in Stockton was a good one for the Tories though Labour held the seat). The polls tell us much more than local by-elections do. Nevertheless it was a very good night for Labour.

  42. Arron Banks is running targeted Facebook ads at local Tory members, trying to get Damian Collins deselected. One wonders – what issue could he possibly have with a man chairing a report into the subversion of democracy by secretive political advertising?

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