Grantham & Stamford

2015 Result:
Conservative: 28399 (52.8%)
Labour: 9070 (16.9%)
Lib Dem: 3263 (6.1%)
Green: 1872 (3.5%)
UKIP: 9410 (17.5%)
Independent: 1017 (1.9%)
Others: 724 (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 18989 (35.3%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Lincolnshire.. Includes most of the South Kesteven council area.

Main population centres: Grantham, Stamford, Bourne, Ropsley, Thurlby.

Profile: A large rural seat in southern Lincolnshire. Grantham and Stamford are at the extreme north and south of the seat, with a large swathe of agricultural countryside between them, dotted with small rural villages. The only other large settlement in the seat is the rapidly growing town of Bourne, situated at the west of the Lincolnshire Fens. Food processing and agriculture are the major industries.

Politics: Politically Grantham is probably most widely associated with its most famous daughter, Margaret Thatcher, who grew up in the town and whose father Alfred owned a grocer`s shop in the town and served as mayor in 1945/6. However, Grantham itself is probably the most Labour part of the seat. The rural part of the seat and the historical town of Stamford outweigh any Labour votes in Grantham and it is normally a safely Conservative seat. The history of Conservative representation was briefly interrupted between 2007 and 2010 when the sitting Conservative MP, Quentin Davies, defected to the Labour party.

Current MP
NICHOLAS BOLES (Conservative) Born 1965. Educated at Winchester and Oxford University. Former chairman of a decorating supplies company, former director of Policy Exchange. Westminster councillor 1998-2002. Contested Hove 2005. First elected as MP for Grantham and Stamford in 2010. Under-secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 2012-2014. Minister of State for skills and enterprise since 2014.
Past Results
Con: 26552 (50%)
Lab: 9503 (18%)
LDem: 11726 (22%)
BNP: 2485 (5%)
Oth: 2533 (5%)
MAJ: 14826 (28%)
Con: 22109 (47%)
Lab: 14664 (31%)
LDem: 7838 (17%)
UKIP: 1498 (3%)
Oth: 1038 (2%)
MAJ: 7445 (16%)
Con: 21329 (46%)
Lab: 16811 (36%)
LDem: 6665 (14%)
UKIP: 1484 (3%)
MAJ: 4518 (10%)
Con: 22672 (43%)
Lab: 19980 (38%)
LDem: 6612 (12%)
Oth: 985 (2%)
MAJ: 2692 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
NICHOLAS BOLES (Conservative) See above.
HARRISH BISNAUTHSING (Liberal Democrat) Born Mauritius. Former RAF engineer, computer hardware consultant. South Kesteven councillor since 2003. Contested Grantham and Stamford 2010.
JAN HANSEN (Lincolnshire Independents)
IAN SELBY (Independent)
Comments - 123 Responses on “Grantham & Stamford”
  1. I don’t think that quite gets to the root of it. Most of the complaints about him seem to boil down to “he’s always in London and can’t be bothered to come to our Saturday morning jumble sales”. And he refuses to live in Grantham. That’s all part of the job of being an MP even though most of them absolutely hate it.

    Wet Tory MPs who are assiduous constituency members rarely have this kind of problem with their local associations even in very true blue areas

  2. It may not have hurt wet MPs in the past, but you surely must concede that these are particularly febrile, divisive times.

    However, I didn’t know that he didn’t live in Grantham. That’s a poor show.

  3. Boles is a particularly poor fit for this sort of seat – rural, Brexit, socially Conservativism, run-down (although Stamford is actually quite nice, or rather it was when I went there 30 years ago or so)

  4. “However, I didn’t know that he didn’t live in Grantham. That’s a poor show.”

    Some MPs live outside their constituency boundaries though still relatively close by. Particularly those representing shitty areas. That’s not really a problem IMO. But as far as I’m aware, Boles is wholly London based, which is taking the piss somewhat in this day & age and bound to upset the locals.

  5. Julian Amery is supposed to have chosen Brighton Pavilion as he could travel down from Belgravia to run a surgery and be back again in an evening. He never lived in Brighton all the time he was MP there, or even had a house there as far as I know.

    His successor Sir Derek Spencer, who took over the seat with a vastly reduced majority, of about 3,500 (whether that was down to Amery’s personal vote, demographic change or both I’m not sure). He had a house in Powis Square, which is just off Dyke Road in the Montpelier area, but I’ve no idea if he ever lived there (from what I heard he didn’t). He gave a speech when I was a member of the Mid Sussex Association, but it wasn’t particularly memorable, and left quite early, saying he had to get back to London (this was a Friday night, so hardly Parliamentary business). He was soundly beaten by Labour’s David Lepper in 1997. Similar accusations were made against Nigel Waterson in Eastbourne (he lost in 2015), and I don’t think Amber Rudd lived in Hastings (or Rye or the surrounding countryside) after she was first elected in 2010. She may have realised that she needs to work the constituency rather harder after her narrow win in 2017.

    Another famous example was Chips Channon, who regularly visited Southend, but never lived there. HH: doesn’t Nicholas Soames live in Slaugham, which is part of the Horsham constituency? I suppose he at least lives nearby. I don’t think it was in Crawley either, even before the very considerable boundary changes which led to Soames moving from Crawley to Mid Sussex.

  6. Wandsworth Voter: any Labour examples of this, or is it exclusively a Tory failing? I can’t imagine Tristram Hunt actually living in Stoke, for example.

  7. I’m sure there were masses of examples of this, particularly in the old days when associations were more deferential. Lady Thatcher never lived in Finchley…but always in London/Kent so not too far away.

  8. Wandsworth Voter:

    Yes I believe Soames lives outside his constituency though it’s just a few miles away. That was kind of my point. I see no real problem with that, especially as Soames is (unusually for a Tory) genuinely quite local to the surrounding area (born in Croydon). It’s totally different from someone like Boles having no local base at all.


    One interesting current Labour example is Dennis Skinner *ducks*

    Who being a Clay Cross resident is actually now represented by a Tory MP (Lee Rowley). As with Soames, nobody doubts Skinner’s local credentials.

    As SBJME says there were masses of examples from the old days. Eg Healey and Callaghan both lived in Sussex. Benn lived in London and (I think) Essex, and never had a house in or near Bristol.

  9. Another example of living near but in is Jim McMahon who lives just over the Border in Ashton-Under Lyne
    Diane Abbot lives in Hackney South rather than Hackney North as well.

  10. When I lived in Maidstone, the local Tory association parachuted in a candidate from Essex to represent the Bearsted ward. He continued to live in Essex. The retiring councillor was so incensed by this that he tries to cancel his retirement, and when that failed ran as independent. I voted for him, too, and he came within about 50 votes of winning a hitherto bombproof Tory ward.

  11. Being local to the area tends to be something that Labour, Lib Dem and the Nationalist voters care more about than Tories, many of whom have no qualms wherever their representatives reside

    Afterall people don’t vote Tory in local elections for more money to be spent on local services

  12. I think Labour MPs tended to be local until the 1990s, when the party started to professionalise selections more – Matt Wilson may be able to confirm this. This was particularly the case when all-women shortlists came in. Candidates would put themselves forward for selection in a number of constituencies. An example with a male MP was Swindon North, where a local trade unionist was up against Michael Wills, a TV producer from London, with Wills winning the selection. If I remember correctly, he either retired or lost in 2005. Whether he bought a house there or not, though, I have no idea. When I worked at the Home Office, John Reid was Home Secretary for a while. His main home was in London, and he spent the majority of the Summer Recess at the office, only taking a short holiday. I presume he had a home in Motherwell though. George Robertson, MP for Hamilton, and Defence Secretary in the first Blair administration, lived in Dunblane, and was prominent on the news after the school killings.

    HH: I agree over Soames. You have said from time to time that he is a very inactive constituency MP. However (I presume it was before you moved to Mid Sussex), he was instrumental in keeping the Maternity Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath open.

  13. PT – I suppose it depends what you mean by local.

    Bob Wareing was from Lpool West Derby originally, but never lived there the whole time he was MP. He stayed in London. But he is probably rare in that he didn’t hold a single surgery or even visit his seat for over 20 years, other than during GEs when he stayed in a hotel in the city centre for a fortnight.

    It does look bad on the ballot paper if your home address is 200 miles away, so even non-locals now pledge to buy a house in the seat if they get selected (Ellman, Berger, Twigg, Esterson all did).

  14. “HH: I agree over Soames. You have said from time to time that he is a very inactive constituency MP. However (I presume it was before you moved to Mid Sussex), he was instrumental in keeping the Maternity Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath open.”

    He’s inactive in a good way. He doesn’t send out leaflets with him pointing at potholes, despite his seat being a strong Lib Dem target in the past. He’s been very effective on big local issues, not just the hospitals in Haywards Heath and East Grinstead but expansion of Gatwick, fracking, and the proposed new town in Mayfield. And he is one of the better attenders in parliament.

  15. Nick Boles has quit the local association but will stay a tory Mp for this seat for the rest of this parliament.

  16. Nick Boles has resigned, within the chamber itself, from the conservative party.

  17. Drama in the Commons.

    Alistair Burt on Sky News now sounding wobbly too.

  18. As someone who has always had an immense amount of respect for our political institutions, if not the chancers occupying them, I am pretty shaken up myself to watch the mother of all parliaments slowly disintegrating in the face of this insane process.

    The old is dying but the new cannot yet be born.

  19. Strangely, I don’t blame MPs for this (not primarily anyway). This is a completely inevitable consequence of a hugely divisive (and close) referendum result, with subsequent negotiations being led by a minority government with a leader of negligible political talent. Factor in a pretty dim,uncompromising electorate with unrealistic expectations on both sides and voila…you have a shitshow.

  20. I think that sums it up really well. There’s an old saying “people get the politicians they deserve”.

  21. The voters don’t select our MPs though. Not even Party members do in reality – v small cliques shortlist them.

    Which is why they are so unrepresentative on many issues.

  22. In the 1990s, Tory defectors were treated very icily by their colleagues. SDP defectors from Labour in the early 80s were treated even worse.

    By contrast, Boles has generated quite a large number of very supportive tweets from former colleagues, including in particular Margot James and Nicholas Soames. The same is true to a lesser extent with Soubry, Allen and Wollaston. Perhaps in this respect MPs are actually becoming less tribal/partisan.

  23. Since we’ve now had at least four former Labour MPs endorsing the Tories, perhaps worth noting that Nick Boles has come as close as any former Tory to tipping the other way.

    He has said that the likes of Jess Phillips and Angela Rayner “would make very good Prime Ministers”. If it weren’t for Corbyn himself he would probably be fully endorsing the Labour Party.

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