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. I find it a bit hard to believe that Labour will leapfrog the Lib Dems in 2015. Given that this was one of their targets for a while. Seem to recall a young David Laws contesting this before he took over Yeovill the following election.

  2. Maybe the most alarmed people would be UKIPpers in those seats that imagined they might win…

    If their Great White Hope to actually win something is getting NF into just the right seat at just the right time he will be rather a solitary soldier for them in Westminster (presuming that strategy works).. Survation provides not much hope of anything but the NF effect getting them beyond runners-up..

    If I had been commissioning the survey I would have asked the “not for publication” question as to what NF would get if he ran in that seat… and maybe they did ask that question.. would be interesting to know…

  3. Prediction for 2015-
    Collins (Conservative)- 47%
    Liberal Democrat- 25%
    Labour- 15%
    UKIP- 11%
    Others- 2%

  4. That’s a very modest drop for the LDs. Given how lamentably they’ve performed here since 2010 – they were completely wiped out off Shepway council in 2011, and had to win a by-election to get back on it again – surely they will sustain a greater loss of vote share than that. I’d expect UKIP to be quite a bit higher, and Labour slightly higher.

  5. The Lib Dems have faded from view a lot here in recent years, and I suspect their slight increase in 2010 was because of the Michael Howard factor in 2005. But this will in all likelihood become safer for the Tories once again like it was before 1987 in terms of five figure majorities.

  6. ‘Maybe the most alarmed people would be UKIPpers in those seats that imagined they might win…’

    In the run up to the 1997 election supoorters of the Referendum party were going up and down country telking people how they would be running the Tories close across the South East.

    I imagine such people are amongst UKIP’s most loyal footsoldiers today, so such bold claims I think should be taken with a pinch of salt, although following their council success I do see UKIP doing quite well in places like Kent

    Interest to see Tim Rice has become a UKIP donor. Althoiugh his political leanings have aleways been ti the Right I imagined him to be way too nice a guy to have anyhthing to do with UKIP

  7. Rice was President of the Richmond Park Conservative Association & as such I have met him at election counts, and found him to be OK. I hold no brief whatsoever for his politics whether Tory or UKIP, but the fact that he ceased to work with Andrew Lloyd Webber is greatly in his favour……..

  8. ”In the run up to the 1997 election supoorters of the Referendum party were going up and down country telking people how they would be running the Tories close across the South East.”

    They did have some good results in 1997, considering they were a new party, particularly in the South. John Aspinall’s result here was impressive, as was Jeffrey Titford in Harwich as well to name another. It seems to be the case that UKIP could do just as well, if not better, than these two managed in these respective seats for the RP.

  9. ‘but the fact that he ceased to work with Andrew Lloyd Webber is greatly in his favour……..’

    Finally something we agree on Barnaby!

    They did have some good results in 1997′

    ‘Considering everything,the Referendum Party did okay in 1997 – but it doesn’t explain the bullish behaviour of their supporters throughout the campaign who genuinely believed abd weren’t afraiud to tell people that they would be winning seats up and down the ountrey – much the same way that Farage told anyone who would listen that he was a dead cert for Buckingham at the last election

  10. Tim – we may be able to agree about certain towns being dumps as well. I don’t actually disagree with many of your comments about particular political figures, I just don’t think this is the forum for them. One view I have which I suspect may be quite widely agreed even amongst the more Conservative posters here is that I particularly loathe Edwina Currie; she isn’t the most right-wing figure in the Conservative Party these days, but I am glad that she is not resident in these parts. I know it’s totally irrelevant but what the hell 🙂

  11. Not with me. Edwina was a very good constituency MP and proves that you don’t have to be on the left of the Tory party to have sensible (in my opinion) views on Europe.

    She was on Newsnight the other day reminiscing about Spitting Image. It was a really enjoyable discussion.

  12. On the Referendum party, The Results, as quite often with his pronouncements, suffers from being too young to remember the period. Reading about history often removes some of the necessary context and leads you to an erroneous view.

    Their 1997 election campaign used up enormous amounts of money, mostly from Goldsmith, and as Tim says the pre-election hype was that they would create an earthquake. Tory candidates were arguably more afraid than they are today about UKIP, causing them to defy Major and sign a pledge to rule out joining a single currency.

    Compared with the hype and money spent their performance was very poor; this was the point David Mellor was making at his count.

  13. I despise Edwina Currie. I did meet her once in person and she contrived to be even more obnoxious than she appears on TV etc. I enjoyed watching celebrity wife swap when John McCririck wound her up so badly. I can’t really use the words I would like to describe her on a family website like this

  14. Despite having different opinions about Currie I also enjoyed her and John McCririck. John is always great TV, his best moment in my eyes being his attack on Blair at Robin Cook’s funeral. I’m sure Cook was having a good laugh looking down at the shock in the church. I think he made a mistake with his age discrimination case, as someone who usually derides such things he made himself look a bit of a hypocrite.

  15. To be honest I never used to think of Edwina Currie as anything more than an irritant – as Barnaby alludes she is actually quite liberal for a Tory – certainly by today’s standards – no doubt one of the reasons Pete holds her in low regard – but that changed when the John Major thing came out

    It was as if she almost enjoyed telling people she had been cheating with him, bragging about it, and criticising Major for saying he was ashamed of it, even though she was probably right in saying he wasn’t.

    I found Lady Archer’s comments about Major’s lack of taste highly amusing, especially coming from someone I considered not to have a sense of humour

    An old-fashioned view maybe

  16. I think Edwina timed her revelations to boost sales of her Diaries. It didn’t work, I picked them up in a bargain store a few months later for £1.99.

  17. ”On the Referendum party, The Results, as quite often with his pronouncements, suffers from being too young to remember the period. Reading about history often removes some of the necessary context and leads you to an erroneous view.”

    That isn’t necessary a bad thing though is it. Just because I wasn’t old enough to remember what was going on at the time, does not mean I have an erroneous view. In any case even if I had been, I suspect I wouldn’t have seen the Referendum Party candidate going down my road and others nearby all the time, as they didn’t do all that great in Crosby.

  18. I don’t think Edwina is liberal for a Tory on most issues, certainly not on matters such as benefits where she is actually more extreme than most Tories. She is pro-European & is not a strong anti-abortionist, but otherwise she is pretty right-wing. However, she has a manner which can rile even those who might agree with her. I think it was Tim who said that she conceded defeat in 1997 graciously, and that’s true, though she must have known that she would lose a long time before it happened, and her candidacy in the 1994 Euro-elections (for those who don’t remember, she contrived to lose the Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes constituency to Labour by over 30,000, a truly shocking result even by the standards of that tour de force for the Labour Party) showed that she didn’t by that time have a fully-fledged commitment to being an MP any more anyway. I don’t doubt that she was a good constituency MP, and I don’t find her views on Europe abhorrent, though I am a left-wing anti-EC person myself, but I still think she’s horrible despite these points. Listening to her on Radio 5 Live phone-ins & discussions, in particular, is not conducive to sleep or a generally happy life, at least not for me.

  19. ‘I don’t think Edwina is liberal for a Tory on most issues, certainly not on matters such as benefits where she is actually more extreme than most Tories. She is pro-European & is not a strong anti-abortionist, but otherwise she is pretty right-wing.’

    On benefits she is right-wing – she recently criticised food banks for helping poor people -but on other issues she’s definitely liberal – abortion, the death penalty, homosexuality, and Europe

  20. ‘Her candidacy in the 1994 Euro-elections (for those who don’t remember, she contrived to lose the Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes constituency to Labour by over 30,000, a truly shocking result even by the standards of that tour de force for the Labour Party)’

    On its creation in 1994, Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes consisted of the parliamentary constituencies of Luton South, Mid Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes South West, North Bedfordshire, North East Milton Keynes, Luton North and South West Bedfordshire.

    Apart fom Mid-Bedfordshire and South West Bedfordshire – the latter of which Labour were within a whisker of taking – all these seats went Labour in 1997 and whilst Cuirrie’s candidacy didn’t exactly help the Tories, I think it’s a seat they woukld have lodst regardless

    It’s not a truly shocking result – unlike say Herefordshire & Shropshire, Kent West or near-by Essex West and Hertfordshire East

  21. “Just because I wasn’t old enough to remember what was going on at the time, does not mean I have an erroneous view.”

    Well in this case, you do. The day after the 1997 general election, the near universal opinion of the referendum party was that they had not performed anywhere near up to expectations, though their relatively low vote was still certainly enough to lose the Tories a few extra seats.

  22. “on other issues she’s definitely liberal – abortion, the death penalty, homosexuality, and Europe”

    Ironically, Currie came to national attention before she became an MP by waving a pair of handcuffs during the home secretary’s (Whitelaw) speech at the Tory party conference in the early 80s. I agree, she seems to have changed her hanging and flogging views when she was elected.

    Tim is also right about the Euro seat. It would have been a Labour gain anyway. Even in an even year for the Tories, Luton is now very strongly Labour and Bedford and Milton Keynes are marginal.

  23. Currie is a self-promoting opportunist who I suspect would adopt whatever positions fitted with that.

  24. Self-promoting opportunists in the Tory party are not outspoken pro-Europeans.

  25. Yes Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes was a seat Labour would have won, that’s true. What was shocking was the sheer extent of Currie’s defeat – my memory may be playing tricks, but I seems to recall it was something in the order of 80,000 Labour v 50,000 Currie.

  26. ‘What was shocking was the sheer extent of Currie’s defeat – my memory may be playing tricks, but I seems to recall it was something in the order of 80,000 Labour v 50,000 Currie.’

    I had an Uncle who lived in that area at the time and prior to the election he said that her candidacy had gone down very badly with some local people and she made a collection of ill-judged comments which made them dislike her further

    As I remember it the big story if the 1994 Euro Elections was that despite losing a lot of previously safe seats, the Tories actuallly did better than a lot of people suspected

    Had they got hammered like they did in the the local elections of 93 or 95, Major’s position would have been in serious jeopardy

  27. I may be wrong but I don’t think the swing was much different to average in B&MK in 1994.

  28. “Edwina Currie …. is actually quite liberal for a Tory – certainly by today’s standards – no doubt one of the reasons Pete holds her in low regard”

    Perhaps one of the reasons and she certainly went down further in my estimation when she became a vocal opponent of Thatch during the leadership crisis but I was hostile to her long before that and before the Tory party fault lines on Europe broke out in the open. I think she was generally regarded as being on the right in the 80s (maybe incorrctly but that would have been the perception, not least because of the conference speech which HH alluded to) but I disliked her like Barnaby because of her manner and in particular her nannying and anti-smoking tendencies

    “I found Lady Archer’s comments about Major’s lack of taste highly amusing”

    That is amusing no doubt, but I don’t know if Lady Archer should be the one to criticise others’ taste in these matters

  29. Tim your recollections of the 1994 Euro-elections aren’t really correct. The Tories managed to lose some constituencies where they should have been comfortably ahead, such as Essex W & Hertfordshire E, which did include both Harlow & Stevenage, but whose other 5 Westminster seats were all totally safe Tory, and even Kent E which while including Dover should have been totally safe. The only crumb of comfort the Tories had was a rather ironic one given today’s situation; they managed to hold very narrowly on to Worcestershire & S Warwickshire, which was a seat Labour had very slight hopes of taking, apparently because the Labour candidate Gisela Gschaider was unpopular as a German in a British Euro-election. Of course, nowadays as Gisela Stuart she is one of Britain’s most popular constituency MPs. The fact that the Tories could actually be relieved to hold that seat is indicative of what a horrible election it was for them. And remember, this was before Tony Blair took over ; that election took place after the death of John Smith, but before the Labour Party had elected a replacement, so in this triumphant hour Labour were led by the party’s Deputy Leader, who was Margaret Beckett. It was a horrible election for the Tories, but the local elections the next year were even worse still.

  30. Labour did very well in the European elections of 1994 but the Lib Dems, who were expected to do well, won a mere two seats

    Things conspired against them to a certain extent – Tory stooge Richard Huggett standing as Literal Democrat denied them winning Plymouth East & Devon West – but they were predicted to do much better than what they managed – despite Charles Kennedy winning a bet that they would only win two seats

    Thetre was also a foreign fellow stanfingfor the Libs in Sussex South and Crawley – another seat the Tories held on to – and that contained four seats that went Labour in 1997

  31. My main memory of the 1994 Euro Elections was the Lib Dem complaints over the vote-splitting “Literal Democrat” candidate who they argued (with some justification) cost them a seat in the South West (around Plymouth I believe)

  32. Huggett wasn’t acting as a stooge – he targetted both Lib Dems and Tories. I can’t remember his actual motivation, but David Boothroyd cites it as the result of a family feud.

    He attempted to stand in Winchester in 1997 under the assumed name “Gerald McClone” but this was refused, so he instead stood as a “Liberal Democrat Top Choice for Parliament”. At the same election he attempted to stand in Brighton Pavilion using the description “Official Conservative” but got an injunction taken out against him, instead he stood against the official candidate in Brighton Pavilion just using a “Conservative Party” description.

  33. ‘Huggett wasn’t acting as a stooge – he targetted both Lib Dems and Tories. I can’t remember his actual motivation, but David Boothroyd cites it as the result of a family feud.’

    Thanks for clearting that up Anthony

    I was aware of his attempts to stand as some sort of Conservative in Pavilion so incorrectly assumed he was some sort of independent rebel Conservative

    A rather off-key fellow if I remember rightly

  34. I think the Lib Dems will capitulate here in Folkestone and Hythe cementing their continual decline locally. They cam fifth in the recent County Council elections las year and sixth in the places where there was a Green challenger such as Hythe where the Greens won a county council seat.

    I suspect that the Tories will hold the seat with a reduced majority from UKIP and Labour. Labour will probably double their vote as they are now very active in Folkestone and saw their vote treble in some seats at the county council elections. So I predict a battle for second between Labout and UKIP and a battle for fourth between the Greens and Lib Dems.

  35. Survation poll, with Farage as UKIP candidate:

    Con 36% (-13)
    UKIP 33% (+28)
    Lab 18% (+7)
    LD 8% (-22)
    Oth 3% (-1)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2597958/Farage-storms-seat-Commons-winning-publics-verdict-TV-debate-Clegg.html

  36. Very bad for the Lib Dems. Wonder if this will be repeated in other Southern seats?

    Still, seems difficult for UKIP to break first place.

  37. Perhaps this might be a target not just because of the somewhat favourable demographics for UKIP, but because of the very mainstream, rather pro-European views of Collins.

  38. Good heavens, is there a chance of a Tory gain in Folkestone and Hythe? 😀

    In all seriousness I think Collins will hold on. I can’t really see UKIP gaining a single seat in 2015.

  39. With enough targeting I’ll stick by my prediction of UKIP getting 7+% of the vote and 1-5 seats.

  40. If Farage can’t lead in this poll now, when would he?

  41. After winning the Euro elections?

  42. I’ll stick with my prediction of 5% and no seats in 2015 for UKIP.

    As I’ve said before I’m quite sympathetic to UKIP on some matters (grammar schools being one) but I actually thought the first debate was very weak for Farage, I thought it showed him in his worst light. He was more measured in the second one I would admit.

    I still think that most people will vote for a party that could realistically be involved in government, however disillusioned voters are with politicians. So I’ll stick with my prediction although will happily hold my hands up the day after the election if I’m wrong.

  43. 5% for UKIP would be one of the most spectacular polling collapses in history.

  44. I think they’ll end up with more than 5% but no seats.

  45. I think if the 2015 GE is a close one (as seems highly likely), then UKIP will suffer from UKIP tempted Tory voters returning to their party. UKIP’s first or second place at this year’s European elections will be a fading memory by May 2015 and if Labour and the Conservatives are neck and neck in the GE campaign, then their potential vote is likely to be sharply squeezed. If however the Tories are 5 points or more ahead of Labour this time next year, which is possible but not likely IMO, I think there may be a higher UKIP vote. I do not think they will win a parliamentary seat in any event.

  46. The tories in my view are toast- they will do well to get 260 seats. Ukip will damage them very considerably in marginals in the midlands particularly.

    The tories will do well to keep UKIP to 8% of the vote. I think the press and the mainstream right in Britain is in complete denial about how catastrophic the rise of UKIP has been. People still (admittedly few) talk of tory majorities, but the truth is the rise of UKIP will probably hand the keys of no. 10 to an unimpressive labour party.

    How quickly the tories recover from that will be determined by the subsequent trajectory of farage and his merry band of kippers.

  47. I wonder. I just think that with the economy improving they will do somewhat better than that. I know Europe is and remains a deep fissure within the party, but usually once they get a foothold in power, they somehow contrive to stay put for longer than expected.

  48. Dr John-

    This sort of talk is like Generals fighting the last war. You, I suspect, and I grew up in an era when the tories were the “most successful party in the Western World”, an “electoral winning machine” and when the phrase “Tory Central Office” conjured up an image of great efficiency, meticulous planning and strategic competence.

    Since 1992, this simply has not been the case. A person would have to be 40 today to have been old enough to vote in the last election the Tories won a majority. I suspect 2015 will show to everyone what has been obvious to some for a while, the right in Britain is in a fundamental crisis.

    As Churchill said of Cromwell…he was so fixated with the power of Spain in his youth, that he couldn’t see the rise of France.

    I think a lot of commentary is of this kind. I could be proved wrong, and Cameron could score a memorable victory as the Tories win a majority in 2015… I just don’t think so.

  49. OK – point taken. I certainly don’t think the Tories will storm to a 100 seat overall majority, but they still might be difficult to turn out if the economy picks up further. You say the right is in a crisis, but our democracy per se is also in crisis. When parties dare to hope to win an overall majority with little more than a third of the votes cast, something is going badly wrong and the legitimacy of the system is thrown into extreme doubt. After the botched fiasco of the AV referendum, any chance of sensible electoral reform to correct this nonsense is out of the window for quite some time.

  50. I just to put the opposing view ; no electoral reform which is talked about seems to me to be sensible or fair.

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