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
2010
Con: 26109 (49%)
Lab: 5719 (11%)
LDem: 15987 (30%)
UKIP: 2439 (5%)
Oth: 2546 (5%)
MAJ: 10122 (19%)
2005*
Con: 26161 (54%)
Lab: 6053 (12%)
LDem: 14481 (30%)
GRN: 688 (1%)
Oth: 1120 (2%)
MAJ: 11680 (24%)
2001
Con: 20645 (45%)
Lab: 9260 (20%)
LDem: 14738 (32%)
UKIP: 1212 (3%)
MAJ: 5907 (13%)
1997
Con: 20313 (39%)
Lab: 12939 (25%)
LDem: 13981 (27%)
Oth: 629 (1%)
MAJ: 6332 (12%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
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.
SETH CRUSE (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 193 Responses on “Folkestone & Hythe”
  1. Local election results for Shepway on Kent CC:

    Con: 8,368
    UKIP: 8,265
    Lab: 3,259
    LD: 2,543
    Green: 2,216
    Others: 973

    Of course the constituency also includes the Saxon Share ward on Ashford council which is divided between Ashford Rural East and South on Kent CC. The Conservatives carried East fairly comfortably over UKIP although South was closer: 1,378 to 1,095.

  2. That’s a shocking result for the LDs – they once talked a good fight in this area, were well fought off by Michael Howard & now they can’t even beat Labour, let alone the other parties.

  3. “they once talked a good fight in this area, were well fought off by Michael Howard & now they can’t even beat Labour, let alone the other parties”

    Similar story in a lot of Kent.

    They were the main opposition in many areas in Kent but are now the 4th party on Kent County Council too (UKIP are main opposition, followed by Labour)

  4. It makes one ponder whether most of the LD vote in the past was simply an non-socialist anti-Tory vote which didn’t give two figs about LD policy positions such as pro-Europeanism.

  5. Well I suspect in most cases it probably is, yes. They don’t tend to do enormously well in European elections for example do they?

  6. “It makes one ponder whether most of the LD vote in the past was simply an non-socialist anti-Tory vote which didn’t give two figs about LD policy positions such as pro-Europeanism.”

    It was a coalition of anti-Tory voters, including Labour supporters, who mistakenly believed that by getting behind the Lib Dems they could “decapitate” Michael Howard.

    The Lib Dems didn’t do all that well here in 1997.

  7. “It was a coalition of anti-Tory voters, including Labour supporters, who mistakenly believed that by getting behind the Lib Dems they could “decapitate” Michael Howard.
    The Lib Dems didn’t do all that well here in 1997.”

    Indeed they didn’t. Most of the Labour voters clearly didn’t get the memo!

  8. After very strong election results, I see a large UKIP rise here:
    CON 38
    LD 24
    UKIP 20
    LAB 8
    GRN 6
    OTH 4

  9. I think there are grounds for supposing that the Lib Dem vote will fall by more than 6% points- though obviously one would expect some recovery compared with this year’s local elections results.

  10. I see Bob has transformed himself into Windsofchange and is now trolling on behalf of a new party.

  11. ‘It makes one ponder whether most of the LD vote in the past was simply an non-socialist anti-Tory vote which didn’t give two figs about LD policy positions such as pro-Europeanism.’

    Quite a lot, in many parts of the country – see also Eastleigh. In the SW this is very much the case in many places – a large chunk of the LD vote has been an anti-politics, ‘anti-establishment’, ‘sod ’em all’ vote.

  12. Farage appears to be intending to stand here. He has indicated that this seat will be won “by standing on an anti-coalition ticket”.

  13. In fact this seat is ideal for him. There is both a strong Tory share and a strong LD share that he can eat into, whereas the Labour share is so small that he would be the only real opposition.

    I think that UKIP is confident of winning at least three seats in Kent in 2015. There have been rumours about Diane James standing in Dover, though that seat seems to be trending Labour rather than UKIP. I expect she will stand in one of the Thanets if she is to stand in Kent.

  14. ‘I think that UKIP is confident of winning at least three seats in Kent in 2015.’

    If that’s true I would suggest that, not for the first time, their confidence is miss-placed –

  15. I said this a few weeks ago and the polls seem to be bearing it out so far – the Godfrey Bloom controversy would mark the start of a long, slow decline of UKIP. Already their poll ratings mostly are in single figures and, save for a likely blip around the Euro elections, they may gravitate down to 2015 ending up with only 5% or so.

    Ipsos-MORI’s latest poll shows that UKIP are by far the most disliked of all the main parties – 25% like them and 52% dislike them, a net score of negative 27%. Given that many of the people who “like” them will grit their teeth and vote Tory or Labour, there is very little chance they can win any parliamentary seats with those kind of negative poll ratings.

  16. I’m inclined to agree – all along (I think I’ve probably said it a few times in past threads) I’ve felt that UKIP will advance from 2010 but only by 1.5/2%.

    Ultimately, however much sympathy some might have with UKIP, or any minor party, I suspect most of us end up voting for a party that could realistically take, or be involved in, government – even if means voting for the least worst option.

  17. ‘Ultimately, however much sympathy some might have with UKIP, or any minor party, I suspect most of us end up voting for a party that could realistically take, or be involved in, government – even if means voting for the least worst option.’

    Exactly – first past-the-post is not kind to minority parties – look at the Lib/SDP Alliance in 1983 – and they were on 25% of the popular vote – a % UKIP can only dream of achieving

  18. I estimate 6% perhaps 7% for them nationally in 2015 but at this stage it’s impossible to say.
    They will get a burst of ratings around June 2014.

  19. The Conservatives have seen off a strong LIbDem challenge in this seat, which will give them a lot of experience to counter a UKIP challenge.

    A feature of Conservative campaigns here is heavy postering by farmers along the main roads, offsetting very many LibDem posters in the towns. It would be interesting to see if UKIP manage to convert farmers who have election billboard sites, and/or how many window posters they will be able to get put up in Folkestone and Hythe.

    If UKIP hope to get three seats in Kent, this presumably includes the two Thanet seats where they have most of the councillors.

  20. If UKIP intend to win Folkestone and Hythe, they are probably targeting Sittingbourne and Sheppey too.

    Remember as well that some of the Medway seats didn’t have elections this year, but UKIP would have probably done well there indeed. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were six or seven Kent seats on the UKIP target list.

    However it is too early to tell if they have a chance of winning each of them, though it would be foolish to dismiss their chances in Thanet for starters at present, even on a 10-15% share nationally in 2015.

    They have got the power of a major party activist-wise. They won’t be targeting one or two seats like the Greens. They are a very different organisation.

  21. Once again this illustrates UKIP relative strength in areas where the Lib Dems had been strong. Last Euro elections UKIP were ahead in area including Torbay and Hull.
    It is almost certainly wrong to expect Lib Dem voters to have a problem with UKIP’s European stance. It is more likely that they are fundamentally against Lab and Con and Europe is low on their list of many grumbles.

    The Conservative majority here depends upon on the UKIP/Lib Dem split of the no Conservative voters.

    In seats with no Lib Dem tradition – e.g. in Thanet, Lincolnshire the UKIP vote looks as if it comes from both Labour and Conservatives.

    I think the work rate of sitting MP’s and candidates will be more important in 2015, as party organisations have fallen in to decay. It is interesting that UKIP also did well in Huntingdon where the effort put in behind the party leader has been forgotten.

  22. Agreed GT. They are doing very well in places that the traditional parties have seemingly forgotten about, such as the so-called safe seats.

    No seat is truly safe though logically, even if it is highly unlikely to change hands. It is arrogant to simply claim ownership of the votes of those living in a particular constituency like many of my Tory colleagues unfortunately do. I worry that they are in for a severe shock come 2015 if the political situation does not improve from a Conservative perspective.

  23. UKIP share of the vote in 2010 by constituency, ranked by percentage share:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0At91c3wX1Wu5dDZoVmdlVXBEQVNvcUNfR294UXo0S3c&usp=drive_web#gid=0

  24. I agree with 111 that UKIP should, from their point of view, be targetting Shepway and Sittingbourne. The demographics of that area look good for them and, to be candid, the MP there (I had to go and check his name, which says something, perhaps) does not seem to be being as effective as, say, Tracy Crouch, Laura Sandys or Charlie Elphicke, leaving aside the more established MPs in East Kent.

    I am not sure that UKIP are not targetting like the Greens because they are a different sort of organization. I am inclined to think it is because they have not got their act together, as recent statements by Nigel Farage seem to acknowledge.

    “Kent on Sunday” had a big article last Sunday suggesting that Nigel Farage is intending to stand in Kent. They thought this would probably mean this seat or one of the two in Thanet. KoS indicated that this seat would be a harder target than one of the two Thanet ones. Local journalists usually have their “ear to the ground.” The truth is that none of the three seats will be easy for UKIP, Thanet North because Sir Roger Gale is so well entrenched, Thanet South because it has recently been a Labour/Tory marginal and this seat because the Conservative machine is well exercises, and the demographics are somewhat less favourable.

  25. UKIP has many more activists (not mere members) than the Greens and are at present a more effective campaigning team than the Lib Dems. However I would say that they are a bit behind the Tories in this respect, which means they are behind Labour for sure.

    It may be a rag tag organisation, but I have noticed that they are getting their campaigning act together.

    If they campaigned properly they would be a very nasty force. At present it seems that they are unstoppable in their strongest areas because they are developing such a strong organisation.

    This seat is probably harder to win for UKIP than the Thanets or Sittingbourne and Sheppey, or the Medway seats; but if Farage was the candidate surely the odds would be in his favour here going into 2015?

  26. is it possible for ukip to win north devon??

  27. It’s not completely impossible.

  28. Re Andy’s spreadsheet,on UKIP, leaving aside the special case of Buckingham (because there was no Conservative candidate as much as Farage’s candidacy), it is remarkable how little difference there is between percentages for seats in adjacent positions on the list. Only Boston and Skegness stands out as a slightly better prospect, otherwise the rankings could very easily be changed by random variation.

  29. Following recent discussion, we have rather been assuming in discussing, on this thread and others, where Nigel Farage might stand that he can pick and choose, but local voters might reasonably wish to have a say in who is their UKIP candidate. As I understand it, following the county council elections, leading to an increased number of UKIP councillors, Farage himself is concerned at tightening up UKIP procedures, which will involve such things as vetting UKIP candidates and then having formal selection procedures. Which means that Farage might need to strengthen his position by oversoming challenges from other UKIP members in a candidate selection.

    Overhauling selection procedures raises issues about getting prospective UKIP candidates in place a reasonable time before the general Election. I personally think that selecting candidates too early can result in their being at a loose end and losing enthusiasm, but clearly serious candidates do need to be campaigning for months before the formal election period.

  30. Farage has a huge grip on UKIP though, it’s almost cult-like. If he wanted to stand here, he would get his way for sure.

    I think that he will stand in Kent and he has dropped hints about this seat in particular.

  31. I was in Folkestone last week, and was surprised at what a dump it is. Lots of formerly nice and large victorian houses decaying and split up into flats.

    The outer areas of the seat are pleasant but the eponymous town deserves mention on the Jones and Hemmelig list of crap seaside towns.

  32. You’re not wrong. Both Folkestone and Dover have been devastated by the Channel Tunnel, on top of the general decline of coastal towns.

    The Hythe part of this seat is still pretty nice, which is I presume why it’s still so safe for the Tories.

  33. Hythe is good territory for the Tories, but I think they are also very strong in Sandgate & Saltwood. They also do perfectly in Romney Marsh both in the town itself & the rural areas. I suspect that Folkestone itself has always been the Tories’ least strong part of the constituency, especially its inner parts, with Dymchurch in the past being quite good territory too for the anti-Tory parties

  34. Both Romney and Dymchurch are included in the “Hythe part of the seat” as per my comment above yours. I know all 3 villages quite well and they are all nice places where you would expect a very strong Tory vote, as you would from the surrounding rural area. Dymchurch has a beautiful sand beach, which is quite rare on this stretch of coast which is mostly shingle (Camber Sands is a misnomer).

  35. Nigel Farage has said today that he has been thinking about standing for this seat in 2015, although he hasn’t made any decisions yet:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24419317

  36. Trying to make incumbents nervous? surely if he is going to bulldoze all before him, then it doesn’t matter which Kent seat he gives the nod to (or should I say they give the nod to him?)

  37. Interesting that Hythe went Green at the last local elections. Seems a very strange place to vote in that way. A little bit surprised at UKIPs strength in the Folkestone area too.

    I still don’t think this is one of UKIPs most natural areas despite the recent locals.

  38. ‘A little bit surprised at UKIPs strength in the Folkestone area too.’

    Why so?

    Folkestone is a run-down port town on the South Coast that has a long Conservative-voting history, as is thus EXACTLY the sort if place you would expect UKIP to be strong

    Not so Hyde, but Folkestone neatly fits into the profile of places where UKIP topped the poll in the last local elections

  39. I basically agree with Tim. Even Hythe is quite fertile territory for UKIP, it is a nice area but still very lower middle class in character.

    There are a lot of ugly wind turbines on this stretch of very windy coastline, which is an added boost to UKIP, and the nuclear plant at Dungeness which probably helps the Greens.

    The biggest obstacle to Farage is his lack of commitment to any particular seat. He looks like a carpetbagger and this will hurt him in the election against an opponent who is well dug-in locally, as it did against Bercow. In this respect, fighting a more obscure incumbent like Damien Collins is perhaps a smart strategy. However I still think he will struggle to get 20% of the vote on a general election turnout, which should allow the Tories to hold the seat.

  40. Indeed, Farage is in danger of looking like Nick Griffin, not so much in terms of policy (that wouldn’t be fair) but in terms of not nursing a seat, but moving constantly from one area of the country to another.

  41. ‘Indeed, Farage is in danger of looking like Nick Griffin, not so much in terms of policy (that wouldn’t be fair)’

    I find it almost impossible to distinguish between the two on certaimn issues like Europe, immigration, attitudes trowards muslims. Even the toone is depressingly similar

    Obviously Farage is more charming and intelligent than Griffin, and more likeable for it, but on many politocal issues Griffin and Arage are eye-to-eye – and in some – such as economic policy and role of government – Griffin is waaay to the Left of Farage

  42. I beleive that Damian Collins has pointed out that Nigel Farage is showing a lack of commitment to a seat.

    Anyway, what are UKIP’s selection processes? Presumably Nigel Farage should apply when the local UKIP organisation decides to seek a candidate, should he wish to stand here.

  43. Its quite a binary situation he faces… if he runs and loses, even by the smallest of margins, it will be game over…

    then he will be left with the delicious (well, not for him) irony that the easiest (only?) place he can get elected is the EU parliament…

    The EU referendum would still beckon but failure to get traction in 2015 would surely leave the troops dispirited. Even worse, recriminations might be rife if the UKIP “success” at the polls didn’t bring any seats but precipitated the Tories into Opposition.. and a Labour gov’t scrapped the referendum… multiple own-goals at once..

  44. “Interesting that Hythe went Green at the last local elections. Seems a very strange place to vote in that way. A little bit surprised at UKIPs strength in the Folkestone area too.”

    Sometimes voting for a Green candidate signifies discontent with the other parties rather than a positive vote for Green policies, coupled with a strong local candidate (who just happens to be standing for the Green Party).

  45. “The EU referendum would still beckon but failure to get traction in 2015 would surely leave the troops dispirited. Even worse, recriminations might be rife if the UKIP “success” at the polls didn’t bring any seats but precipitated the Tories into Opposition.. and a Labour gov’t scrapped the referendum… multiple own-goals at once..”

    Your making the assumption that the EU is the driving force behind UKIP’s increasing success.

    It isn’t.

    The driving force is the disgruntlement among the provincial lower middle and white working class towards the dominant metropolitan establishment.

    An Ed Miliband government is likely to increase that disgruntlement further especially among traditional Labour supporters within those groups.

    If the Conservatives are unable to attract those voters (and under the present leadership they have non hope of so doing) then UKIP will pick them up by default.

  46. You may be right.. but flocking to a party that has essentially one policy (well immigration too but thats just a nuance on the EU gripes..) when it hasn’t fleshed out how the whole thing would work…

    do they have an economics spokesmen? do they know what one is?

    every other party (well not the BNP) is under pressure to justify and cost their policies.. this one is pure touchy-feely… I think that May’s MEP poll will be a high-water mark… Nick cant decide if he will stand? how non-serious is that! what is the point if your leader is not going to run in running yourself… it then is purely a grievance party… having spent most f my recent history in the US, this crew has Tea Party written all over them… the Tea Party itself has lost the narrative but its “plants” in the GOP are still calling the shots (witness the budget impasse) showing that the UKIP would have achieved more as a faction within the Tories than as a gadfly…

  47. UKIP have lots of policies, often changing and often incontradiction.

    It doesn’t matter.

    A vote for UKIP is a vote against the establishment.

    What we’re going to get over the next decade is stagnation or falling living standards for most people but a concentration of wealth among the top 10%, especially the top 1%.

    At the same time economic and social mobility is going to continue to fall.

    Not a basis for a happy society.

    This is going to produce more and more anti-establishment votes and these will be hoovered up by UKIP.

    Potenetial UKIP voters wont care about UKIP policies – they assume that all politicians are liars and all manifesto promises are worthless.

    With some justification as well.

    The UK is lucky in that the anti-establishment vote is going to be picked up by a party as harmless as UKIP.

    In many other countries it will be gained by some very unpleasant people.

  48. Antiochian.

    Arguably Strasbourg is a better place for the leader of a minority party to be that Westminster anyway. It gives the leader a link with a larger consitutency, particularly in the gerrymandered South-Eat where it is possible to get elected with a small proportion of the vote too. The major parties at Westminster have long experience of coralling minor party candidates or independent. For instance, Carloine Lucas, who is viewed more favourably by Westminster than Farage would be unless he had UKIP colleagues, to some extent gets restricted to environmental issues.

  49. Survation poll of constituencies:

    LAB 21%
    CON 35%
    UKIP 28%
    LD 10%

  50. in case anyone’s alarmed by that, the 4 seats are Bognor Regis/Littlehampton, this one, Great Yarmouth & Crewe/Nantwich.

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