Forest of Dean

2015 Result:
Conservative: 23191 (46.8%)
Labour: 12204 (24.6%)
Lib Dem: 2630 (5.3%)
Green: 2703 (5.5%)
UKIP: 8792 (17.8%)
MAJORITY: 10987 (22.2%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: South West, Gloucestershire. The whole of the Forest of Dean council area and one ward from Tewksbury.

Main population centres: Coleford, Cinderford, Lydney, Mitcheldean, Newent.

Profile: Contains the Forest of Dean itself and the towns and villages surrounding it. This is a former coal mining area, dotted with former colliery villages and the industrial towns of Coleford and Cinderford. The last deep mines closed in the 1960s, and the area has increasingly gentrified.

Politics: Despite being a mostly rural southern seat, Forest of Dean has historically been Labour voting due to its coal mining heritage. It was held by Labour from 1918 to 1979. With the closure of the mines it has gradually moved away from Labour, being won by the Conservatives in 1979 and, after returning to Labour in their landslide years of 1997 and 2001, being won back by Mark Harper in 2005.

Current MP
MARK HARPER (Conservative) Born 1970, Swindon. Educated at Headlands Comprehensive and Oxford University. Former accountant. Contested Forest of Dean 2001. First elected as MP for Forest of Dean in 2005. Junior minister for Political and Constitutional Reform 2010-2012, Minister of State for immigration 2012-2014, Minister of State for Work and Pensions 2014-2015. Chief Whip since 2015. Harper resigned in early 2014 after it was revealed his household cleaner was working illegally in the country. Harper was seen to have done the right thing by rapidly falling on his sword, and made a swift return to government later in the year.
Past Results
Con: 22853 (47%)
Lab: 11789 (24%)
LDem: 10676 (22%)
UKIP: 2522 (5%)
Oth: 923 (2%)
MAJ: 11064 (23%)
Con: 19474 (41%)
Lab: 17425 (37%)
LDem: 8185 (17%)
UKIP: 1140 (2%)
Oth: 1416 (3%)
MAJ: 2049 (4%)
Con: 17301 (39%)
Lab: 19350 (43%)
LDem: 5762 (13%)
GRN: 1254 (3%)
Oth: 940 (2%)
MAJ: 2049 (5%)
Con: 17860 (36%)
Lab: 24203 (48%)
LDem: 6165 (12%)
Oth: 332 (1%)
MAJ: 6343 (13%)

2015 Candidates
MARK HARPER (Conservative) See above.
STEVE PARRY-HEARN (Labour) Born Port Talbot. Educated at Sandfields. Employment trainser and former police officer. Contested North Somerset 2010.
CHRISTOPHER COLEMAN (Liberal Democrat) Born 1978, Gloucestershire. Solicitor. Cheltenham councillor 2002-2008. Contested Stoke on Trent South 2001, Forest of Dean 2005, 2010.
STEVE STANBURY (UKIP) Educated at Sackville School and City University. Businessman. Contested Rother Valley 1997 for the Conservatives.
Comments - 66 Responses on “Forest of Dean”
  1. Steve Stanbury has defected from UKIP to the Conservatives and urged others – live on tv – to re-join.

    He was previously a Tory PPC.

  2. “Steve Stanbury has defected from UKIP to the Conservatives and urged others – live on tv – to re-join.
    He was previously a Tory PPC.”

    What were his reasons?

  3. Well it looks like grammar schools are already dead on arrival. The plans would probably never have made it to the debating chamber had it not been for the leak.

    The death penalty is much, much less politically possible than the reintroduction of grammar schools. Out of the entire cabinet, I am only aware of Priti Patel being in favour. Fox and Leadsom might support it but that’s about it. Several would resign their cabinet posts; David Davis, who briefly vacated his seat over a far less contentious issue, might give up on politics altogether. Still, interesting to note that the death penalty is banned by EU law (and is one of the roadblocks to Turkish accession) so I guess its reintroduction would be a case of “taking back control”.

    If Tories are going to borrow UKIP policy (which might suit your persuasions but personally I see as being neither a vote-winner nor effective government), then the obvious next item on the list after grammar schools is burqa-banning. Would they dare to go there?

  4. If I had to guess which stupid UKIP policy that the Tories might try to steal next I’d say prisons expansion is probably likely, I think I’ve even heard some vague talk about that already from Tories.

    Could even be expanded into a wider “get tough on crime” drive, building dozens of new facilities, pledges to increase sentencing rates, removing prisoner privileges maybe even extend the ban on parole to lesser crimes.

    Like the death penalty it would probably cause some cabinet members (like Davis) to resign and I can imagine quite the slew of Tory rebels for those policies so it probably wouldn’t go anywhere.

  5. No idea what makes you both think Davis wouldn’t support more prisons.

    The few libertarian Tory MPs are all tough on crime.

    (I’m not counting Alan Duncan who supports legalising drugs and 16 year olds in porn – which is more LD than Tort libertarian)

    I can’t see the death penalty returning; but, certainly a vote on it in the Commons would be fine. This happened almost every Parliament in the ’80s and ’90s.

  6. For the young people on here, here’s the results of the last few times the Commons voted on restoration of Capital Punishment:

    1994 186 Ayes v 383 No

    1990 215 Ayes v 350 No

    1988 218 Ayes v 351 No

    1988 was also the last time the PM voted for it.

    [Incidentally it isn’t UKIP policy. AFAIK only the DUP, TUV, BNP & NF support it as Party policy]

    On the above basis, it’d require a Tory majority of 220 to restore it!

  7. Lancs
    Davis is of the Libertarian variety who thinks “tough on crime” is basically a buzzword and smokescreen for authoritarianism. Remember he resigned his seat over 30 day detention and voted against the TU bill claiming it was totalitarian so any sweeping raft of even slightly tougher measures on crime he would most likely rebel.

  8. That’s simply not true.

    He supports longer sentences for many criminals.

    He’s merely suspicious of the State and opposes arbitrary detention for those who have not committed any crimes.

    This is the position of quite a chunk of the New Right.

  9. ‘This is the position of quite a chunk of the New Right.’

    I wouldn’t describe Davis as New Right – he’s more of a traditional moderately centre-right Tory and one of the few from that wing of the party who comes across as credible, sensible and convincing

    I was even quite surprised that he supported Brexit given that in 2005 he had opposed Cameron’s proposal to take the Tories out of the EPP group in the European Parliament

    I’d say some one like Dominic Raab is a good example of a New Right Tory MP

  10. Yes, he’s another libertarian who supports longer sentences for criminals.

    There are, of course, Tories who don’t – but that’s Ken Clarke/Soubry/Crispin Blunt for you.

    Davis called for a Referendum to leave the EU before any Tory MP IIRC.

  11. Lydbrook & Ruardean by-election last night: Green gain from UKIP

    GRN: 35.3% (+27.9)
    CON: 24.3% (+6.2)
    LAB: 22.7% (-2.0)
    UKIP: 11.1% (-12.2)
    LDEM: 6.6% (+6.6)

    Obviously they often throw up weird results and shouldn’t read too much into them but still interesting

  12. That’s a really odd one – and the sort of thing that doesn’t happen without some extraordinary mitigating circumstances. Anyone with local knowledge?

  13. It can’t be UKIP unless those figures are wrong – simple Maths. But rather than being from Labour as it looks like, I think it was from Independent.

  14. A kipper elected as a IND?

  15. It’s a three-seat ward that split Ind/Lab/UKIP in 2015

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