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 - 193 Responses on “Folkestone & Hythe”
  1. I know that the arguments about electoral reform go round and round and would certainly agree that there is no perfect system. Even to suggest one feels invidious. AV was the wrong system put forward at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. Nonetheless, FPTP is just not working and we are going to have to think of something better. As I have said before, FPTP worked well enough when a party was getting a majority with 42-45% of the vote. Under 40% strains the bounds of credibility somewhat. To gain an overall majority with 35% of the vote is positively scandalous. Anything that is even slightly more sensible and fair would be a step forward.

  2. The problem is that there is no agreement on what else. I would accept AMS or the Scottish system, but not STV. I think that’s what most Labour supporters of reform agree with

  3. The main problem with AV is illustrated by the fact that it would probably have given Thatcher in 1983 and Blair in 1997 majorities of over 200 seats, maybe even 250 seats.

  4. I agree that FPTP looks anomalous. The two party system has essentially broken down, so this means a party can win majorities on decreasing vote shares.

    Having said that, there seems to be absolutely no interest among the public about changing the system. Political obsessives like those of us who follow polls and post comments on sites like this get wound up by this sort of thing.

    And you often hear stuff about “how people will protest if labour get a majority” on 35% etc. but Blair got a majority in 2005 with 36% of the vote and i don’t remember mass popular agitation to change the system. It will just carry on for at least a couple of decades, I ‘m sure.

  5. All very fair points chaps, but we have got a gathering crisis of democracy and legitimacy in this country. The fact that no-one seems to be particularly bothered that their Government may be elected with an overall majority on just over one-third of the votes cast is just frightening. Why aren’t people bothered? In addition, our elected representatives have recently awarded themselves a fixed and full 5 year term with barely a squeak of debate, let alone protest. The rise of anti-politics, UKIP bring-backery, the Russell Brand ‘stuff ’em all’ position and the obvious resonance of these messages with many leave me deeply uneasy about the direction of politics in this country.

  6. I wanted to put an opposing view since opponents of FPTP seem to think that their case in unanswerable, even that they are morally superior to the rest of us. However, I think that this is not in the end the forum for discussion about what electoral system we should have. It is, rather, a forum for discussion about what has happened or will happen under the system we do have.

  7. From a UKIP point of view, Folkestone makes more sense for Farage to stand in than Thanet South. Folkestone would be a straight UKIP v Tory fight, whereas Thanet South is complicated by a relatively stronger labour presence. this is a more attractive proposition for Farage actually to win than a seat where he could let labour in by siphoning Tory votes.

  8. The big advantage of Thanet South for Nigel Farage is that he has stood there before and should know something about the area.

    I think the LibDems would have something to say if this seat were treated as a straight fight between the Tories and UKIP.

  9. the point is that the yellows are in government. a ukip candidate can frame the contest here as pro-govt v anti govt. The lib dems have fallen nationally and will not have a prayer of winning this seat. The point abt. S Thanet is that a ukip/con/labour is a three way fight, in which ukip and labour would split the anti-govt. vote. i think this is a better target for them than thanet, despite their stronger showing in thanet in the locals last may.

  10. UKIP may be behind by three here, but that can easily be overcome if Collins isn’t careful. At least 7% of voters (20% of the Cons) are sympathetic towards Farage and when only 1.5% of the electorate needs to switch to see Farage win, that’s dangerous territory indeed.

    I’m getting tempted to put money on UKIP gaining here, Boston and Skegness and Plymouth Moor View.

  11. Can I be the bookie :p

  12. Note “tempted” – not convinced enough yet to put my money where my mouth is!

  13. However, if NF is just seen to carpet bag around from seat to seat like a gadfly on speed, he may receive his just deserts. I don’t think people like being treated by anyone as the latest test bed.

  14. Plymouth Moor View? Not a hope in hell. Easy Labour hold.

  15. “From a UKIP point of view, Folkestone makes more sense for Farage to stand in than Thanet South. Folkestone would be a straight UKIP v Tory fight, whereas Thanet South is complicated by a relatively stronger labour presence. this is a more attractive proposition for Farage actually to win than a seat where he could let labour in by siphoning Tory votes.”

    But Farage would probably need a higher share of the vote to win in Folkestone compared to Thanet South. 30% might be enough in the latter, whereas it would have to be closer to 40% in Folkestone.

  16. I don’t think UKIP will win any seats at all, no matter how many votes they manage. Nigel Farage will get a high vote wherever he chooses to stand, but it will not be enough for him to win a seat.

  17. ‘Iā€™m getting tempted to put money on UKIP gaining here, Boston and Skegness and Plymouth Moor View.’

    I don’t see them winning any of those seats

    It’s foolish in the extreme to think that UKIP’s victory in Boston and Skegness will be repeated in 2015

    Turn out will be much higher

    I don’t bother voting in local elections but the threat of a UKIP win would certainly be enough to send me down the polling staytion in 2015 – and I very much doubt I’m the only one

    People wax lyrical on here about how popular Farage currently is, seemingly forgetting that those who dislike him outnumber those who don’t by at least three to one

    UKIP will perform well in the seats you mention – but I don;t think they win win them – or any other seat in 2015 for that matter

  18. I remain convinced they’ll get at least one and possibly as many as five seats. I think national polling is obscuring areas of heavy UKIP strength and with enough campaigning they’ll be able to push a few seats over the edge with narrow majorities. And I’m not a Kipper.

    We’ll have a bit better idea after the EU and local elections next month.

  19. They’re going to win a number of seats, and that number of seats is zero.

    I’m sorry, but all the hype that currently surrounds Nigel The People’s Engine and Friends come this time next year will have died down, by which time most of the electorate will look at the three-party situation and decide on which of the three is the best for taking this country forward, so a few likely scenarios in that case- Either another Con/Lib Dem coalition, a small Con majority a Lab/Lib Dem coaliton, or a small Lab majority. Does UKIP figure in any of these seats wise? No. But the effect they may likely have through heavily increased returns in seats will possibly tip the balance towards Labour if the Tories end up losing seats.

  20. ”But the effect they may likely have through heavily increased returns in seats will possibly tip the balance towards Labour if the Tories end up losing seats.”

    I’ll rephrase that sentence- ‘through heavily increased vote shares in seats, but not enough to win any’.

  21. I tend to agree with Pete about this seat. Labour are likely to do better here than elsewhere in East Kent, partly because they seem at long lst to have got their act together and partly becasue the LibDems are returning to their “normal” position for a seat with the demographics of this one after putting in huge efforts over a series of elections which have come to nothing.

    With respect to Nigel Farage, it is not just the demographics which matter.Farage fought Thanet South in 2005 and after his flit to Buckingham in 2010 it would appear that he has got the message to concentrate on a consituency with which he can become identified.

    A further point is that Collins will be fighting to retain his seat for the first time, which is when the incumbency factor is at its maximum. The Tory candidate in Thanet South will be new.

    It happens that I was in Ramsgate on Saturday and if the area I was visiting is not good for UKIP then nowhere is.

  22. UKIP might as well focus on F&H to become the main opposition party to the Tories. Let’s face it the Lib Dems tried several times to unseat Michael Howard with no success and next year could see their vote fall back considerably. Leaves a gap for another party to step up and it definitely won’t be Labour.

  23. Greater Grimsby, Great Yarmouth and generally other constituencies in Lincolnshire and Norfolk do so far show the potential for the sized swings UKIP need to win seats in 2015. Guess Kent to some extent too?

  24. I suspect Yarmouth is one of their best bets, as it’ll be a three way marginal with Lab/Con/UKIP all featuring. Norfolk North West is another possible shout – went Labour in 1997 and often posts small Tory majorities, plus UKIP has gained a fair bit of local strength around King’s Lynn. Looks very safe at the moment but Labour totally screwed up on their 2010 candidate.

  25. Ladbrokes:
    1/4 Cons
    3/1 UKIP
    20/1 LD

  26. The Ukip odds are massively affected by whether farage is the candidate here or not. If farage doesn’t stand here, ukip will struggle to win this seat. If he does then their odds will be much shorter.

  27. Even if Farage does stand here, I struggle to see him even achieving half the votes of Damian Collins. Maybe:-

    Conservative: 41%
    UKIP: 20%
    Liberal Democrat: 17%
    Labour: 17%
    Others: 5%

    Without Farage, UKIP would be lucky to reach 10% IMO..

  28. I hope for the sake of past school bullying your name isn’t really Gropecock. You’re not Nigel Evans in disguise are you? šŸ™‚

    Though I think you’re rather more likely to be The Results in (bad) disguise. Writing style almost exactly the same.

  29. The Results seems to have disappeared since the Labour lead in the polls evaporated.

  30. Well let’s hope the Tories stay in the lead then

  31. I can understand why you say that but you couldn’t possibly expect me to agree with that šŸ™‚

  32. I simply refuse to believe that someone can really be called Clive Gropecock. Whoever he is, I think that his prediction looks reasonably sensible. Does he take sugar, by the way?

  33. Dr John – I’m puzzled, as to why you refuse to believe my name is real. I’ll have you know that Clive is a common mid 20th century British Christian name.

    I’m glad you consider my prediction sensible though, even if I concede that I may be overestimating the Farage vote.

  34. I think Farage is going to choose a Kent seat, and this looks like the most sensible, largely because it has a weak LD vote which has nevertheless been strong in the past. Its a very right wing constituency which will respond well to his message
    Thanet South, the other major possibility, still has stronger Labour/Tory blocs of voters and it could easily end up split three ways – here the LD’s are more likely to collapse

  35. I understand that the life of Dungeness B power station is to be extended until 2020 by allowing the graphite pile to be depleted beyond the oriiginal safety limits, on the grounds that these originally had over-generous saftey margins.

    Perhaps we should add a caveat for this seat that if there was a disaster at Dungeness B anything could happen. Although there might not actually be any voters left after the seat had been evacuated.

    Extending the life of Dungeness B to 2020 still leaves a gap until 2023 if it is to be replaced by a new generation of nuclear power station. I for one would be very sceptical indeed if a further claim was made that it was acceptable to extend the life of Dungeness B from 2020 to 2023.

  36. Is there any news of a UKIP selection programme for this seat?

  37. I have a feeling this seat in particular might be too socially liberal for UKIP.

  38. Socially liberal? Where did you get that idea from?

  39. The result here in 1987 was interesting, in that like in Hastings and Rye not too far away, there was a swing to the Liberals-
    Michael Howard (Conservative)- 27915 (55.36%, -1.59%)
    JR MacDonald (Liberal)- 18789 (37.26%, +4.69%)
    VS Anand (Labour)- 3720 (7.38%, -2.44%)

    Swing- +3.14% From Con to Lib.

  40. I think Michael Howard was the only reason the Liberals/Lib Dems never took this seat. It should’ve been theirs at some point between ’97 and ’05, but thanks to a popular and long serving MP like Mr. Howard, with a high national profile, it held out quite well.

  41. Indeed that would appear to have been the case.

    Interesting that the Lib Dems fell by 8.4% here in 1997, when their candidate was David Laws before he became MP for Yeovil in 2001. New candidate Peter Carroll then got a 5.2% increase in 2001, but with Michael Howard at the same time going up by 6.0%, which I think confirms the point you were making PT Richards.

    I think his very good result in 2005 was largely because he was leader, and had he not have been, it is possible his majority would have still been in four figures, but he would likely have still held it comfortably. The result last time saw a slight swing to the Lib Dems, but that was merely a correction of the special circumstances in 2005.

  42. Yes, I think Laws did so badly in ’97 because of the vote split with Labour, which was why Howard held on at all, of course.

  43. Agreed again.

    I don’t want to try and over-analyse this seat too much, but I do think it’s interesting how the Lib Dems have remained relatively strong here, and are still only 19% behind the Conservatives.

  44. Yes, I could see them taking it a decade down the line or so (2025 or something like that) if they can rebuild support after what will doubtless be a walloping this time around.

  45. Anyone think UKIP have a chance here? Polling done in Aprl shows:
    Con- 36%
    UKIP- 33%

    Maybe if a solid candidate stands like Diane James UKIP might have a chance…?

  46. She’s quite a high profile UKIP figure, a South East MEP and she was second on that list to Nigel Farage. Whether that will make a difference or not is yet to be seen, she has also been controversial as well for saying some things which are pretty offensive before

  47. I think she was the Conservative candidate for Batley & Spen last time.

  48. Being a high profile idiot tends not to win votes. Easy Con hold here.

    A good UKIP candidate might have run the Tories a lot closer here. A lot of illegal immigration and asylum seeker problems in Folkestone.

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