Great Yarmouth

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19089 (42.9%)
Labour: 12935 (29.1%)
Lib Dem: 1030 (2.3%)
Green: 978 (2.2%)
UKIP: 10270 (23.1%)
Others: 167 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 6154 (13.8%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Norfolk.

Main population centres:

Profile: Great Yarmouth is a seaside resort and ferry port on the Norfolk coast, just above the border with Suffolk. The consituency consists of Great Yarmouth itself, as well as the rural hinterland and the surrounding villages.

Politics: Great Yarmouth is a Conservative leaning Con-Lab marginal - it has been keenly contested between Labour and the Conservatives, but is usually only winnable for Labour in their better victories, such as the Blair landslides and 1966.

Current MP
BRANDON LEWIS (Conservative) Born 1971, Harold Wood. Educated at Buckingham University. Former barrister and company director. Brentwood councillor 1998-2009, Leader of Brentwood council 2004-2009. Contested Sherwood 2001. First elected as MP for Great Yarmouth in 2010. Under-secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 2012-2015. Minister of State for Housing since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18571 (43%)
Lab: 14295 (33%)
LDem: 6188 (14%)
UKIP: 2066 (5%)
Oth: 1937 (4%)
MAJ: 4276 (10%)
Con: 15795 (38%)
Lab: 18850 (46%)
LDem: 4585 (11%)
UKIP: 1759 (4%)
Oth: 389 (1%)
MAJ: 3055 (7%)
Con: 15780 (39%)
Lab: 20344 (50%)
LDem: 3392 (8%)
UKIP: 850 (2%)
MAJ: 4564 (11%)
Con: 17416 (36%)
Lab: 26084 (53%)
LDem: 5381 (11%)
MAJ: 8668 (18%)

2015 Candidates
BRANDON LEWIS (Conservative) See above.
LARA NORRIS (Labour) Educated at Hertfordshire University. Office manager and former Labour party organiser.
JAMES JOYCE (Liberal Democrat) Postmaster. Norfolk councillor since 2005, Broadland councillor. Contested Norfolk police commissioner election 2012.
ALAN GREY (UKIP) Musical instrument retailler. Norfolk councillor since 2013.
HARRY WEBB (Green) Educated at Great Yarmouth High School. Works in a residential care home.
Comments - 115 Responses on “Great Yarmouth”
  1. Tories have yet to hold any of their county council seats here.

  2. Good win for Labour at Caister from the Tories – UKIP might be a bit disappointed to come second. Tories vote shared halved.

  3. Although UKIP did astonishingly well in the town of Gt Yarmouth / Gorleston overall, exceeding Labour in seats (I think 5 to 2?), including denying former MP Tony Wright a seat.

    These aren’t all natural Tory seats we’re talking about, some areas are very ‘Labour’ (after all, it’s the town where Labour get the votes they need to win in years like 1997-2005, not the outlying parts) and a proof that WWC seats can be split up to 3-way with any of Labour, Tory and UKIP in contention.

  4. Ukip’s performance in the county council elections was impressive but less impressive is local press coverage of “forged nomination signatures” in the local press. The following extract is from Eastern Daily Press. One of Ukip’c councillors is pointing the finger at another Ukip councillor for a neighbouring ward who is also Ukip parliamentary candidate for Yarmouth.

    “A UKIP county councillor has told of his embarrassment as a forged signatures probe moves into its second month.

    Jonathon Childs – now UKIP councillor for East Flegg division – voiced concerns that his nomination papers had been tampered with ahead of the elections on May 2.

    And five weeks after a police investigation began, evidence is still being gathered and nobody has been charged with any offence.

    “It’s really embarrassing and I’ve had family members barracking me,” said Mr Childs, 47. “Having to justify yourself, when you have to say it 200 times, is highly embarrassing.”

    Mr Childs went to Great Yarmouth Town Hall of his own free will to raise concerns with council officers, accompanied by a borough councillor for advice.

    And he said he was shocked to see the signature was not his own, fearing his legitimate form was switched with a second forged one.

    He had completed the original form at his Ormesby pub – The Grange – and UKIP agent Matthew Smith sourced the 10 nomination supporting signatures for him and delivered it to the town hall.

    Mr Smith, who is UKIP county councillor for Gorleston St Andrews and UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth, vigorously denies any wrongdoing and has also raised concerns with the borough council.

    It is understood that the police probe is investigating forged signatures on a second nomination form, and nomination signatures as well as candidate signatures being forged.

    Mr Childs added: “I don’t know how it’s happened.

    “That’s for the police to ascertain what’s happened.”

    A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed that more than one signature on multiple papers are under investigation, stating the allegations are of “forged signatures on nomination papers”.

    “We are seeking to conduct a full, impartial and proportionate investigation into these allegations,” added the spokesman. “No arrests have been made.”

    Mr Childs toppled veteran Tory Jim Shrimplin at the count on May 3, ending his 16-year tenure as a councillor and preventing him from becoming county chairman.

    But Mr Childs was not present at the election count, and revealed why to The Mercury.

    “I was painting outside on the Thursday and I got some sunburn,” he explained. “I didn’t go to the count as I was hurt – I was like a lobster.”

    He faced calls to resign last week from Ormesby borough councillor Charles Reynolds, but has insisted he will remain in post.”

  5. My 2015 forecast for Great Yarmouth

    Con 38
    Lab 37
    UKIP 16
    LD 5
    Others 4

  6. Some people at Hemsby are complaining that a tribute to Nelson Mandela was given priority in the House of Commons over a debate on possible compensation to property owners who suffered loss from the recent tidal surge.

  7. Some people will complain about anything. If they don’t have buildings and contents insurance despite living on the sea then I see no reason to waste parliamentary time and taxpayers money on bailing out their stupidity.

    A tribute in parliament is one thing but, however, moving Question Time to Joburg was a step too far even for me.

  8. Survation poll of marginals:

    LAB 37%
    CON 28%
    UKIP 30%
    LD 4%

  9. I thought it was the most interesting QT for a long while!

  10. “I thought it was the most interesting QT for a long while!”

    That wouldn’t be saying much. I haven’t enjoyed watching QT for ages. The celebrity guests are usually even worse than the politicians.

  11. A third place finish for the Tories in 2015 (if the poll is right) would be really bad for them. But I think it’s an unpredictable one.

    In the CC elections, Labour really didn’t make that much progress in these divisions. It was UKIP who did very well here at the expense of both the two biggest parties.

  12. Yes your last point is a good one. Compared to the other Survation constituency polls this is probably the most disappointing one for Labour.

  13. UKIP undoubtedly have their heatland in these east coast areas, in Kent and East Anglia. However, this really isn’t looking great for the Tories, and after all, they do hold the seat – its never been safe Labour

  14. @Merseymike

    The issue common to every party here is talent or the lack of it. The Tories are not outstanding, the Labour Party here is very old, UKIP appear to be serially incompetent and the Libs don’t exist.

  15. This seat has what must be the record for the longest serving Cllr.

    Jack Chase

    Period in office 1927-2010

  16. Crikey! That’s some going – 83 years. Suspect there is no one else even close to that, 50 years tends to be an exceptionally good innings (I think my local council’s record is 47 years (and counting))

  17. Is he still alive?

  18. Nope, sadly not. It was Caister parish he was on the council of for the full haul, though he served on the borough council too apparently.

  19. The article doesn’t mention his party affiliation. I’m guessing he was an independent.

  20. According to the EDP, he was a Tory but generally believed in keeping national politics/parties out of local affairs.

  21. So he must have been at least 104 by 2010? Wow.

  22. Ah yes, just read the article.

  23. Our longest-serving councillor is only now completing his 40 years on the council. I understand he is going to stand for election but he only had a majority of 9 in the 2010 local elections over a Tory – it’s our former council leader Sir David Williams. However, former Tory council leader Tony Arbour has had a twice-interrupted spell on the council that started in 1968 when he won Ham & Petersham (the only the time the Tories have ever won the ward). I think he’s still under 70 & is doubtless standing again. But 83 years? Goodness me.

  24. going back to the general election…what is the view on what will happen in this seat in 2015? acc. to the Ashcroft poll, this is an almost unique example of a three way marginal between labour/ukip/conservative.

    Thanet South could be described in this way, but the tories look stronger there than here.

  25. I’m still tending slightly towards a Con hold at the moment on the grounds that the Labour vote looks softer than it should perhaps be. Labour will need to be in a fairly clear national lead over the Conservatives to be in any way confident about taking this & I don’t think that the lead, if existent at all, will be quite enough – we’re talking about Labour needing to be about 3% ahead of the Tories to take this one on an UNS. There are very few seats needing a swing of 5% or fractionally less where I expect Labour to win at this stage – the only ones in my Lab gain column at present are Crewe & Nantwich and Norwich N (because of by-election unwind) and Dudley S, and I may change my mind about even those before the election comes. If the Labour lead does prove very stubborn however, and is still statistically significant in a year’s time, which is perfectly possible, then I’ll have another think.

  26. I don’t think UKIP will figure in the finish here at all; voters will know that they are having to decide a ) who can best defeat either Brandon Lewis, or the Labour candidate, and b ) who will form the government. Though some obviously will stick with UKIP, it’s a protest vote for the most part & as the election nears voters will however reluctantly go back into the Labour or Conservative camps whence they came, in this constituency.

  27. One issue for the Tories here is that at least at county level all they have left is West Flegg. I’m sure Barnaby is more experienced at judging the likelihood of unwind than I am, but UKIP got a very solid chunk of votes here indeed and I’d be shocked if they didn’t influence the result even if they’re a long way off taking the seat. I think that influence is most likely to be bad news for the Tories, given that on a local level they were far more successful at taking CON seats than LAB, so I’m inclined to suggest this could be a LAB gain. If UKIP are polling anything like their current national figures they should be at least on 15-18% here at bare minimum, and given there’s a non-neglible LD vote that LAB should be able to squeeze a few points off the conditions seem worrying for Lewis.

    Would anyone like me to do a breakdown of the county council results here? It’s probably been done elsewhere because of all the UKIP excitement but might be of some interest.

  28. Labour selected what seems like a decent candidate, so I wonder how much she could influence voters in the seat. Far from the archetypal middle class North London type candidate. I suppose it’s also dependent on what state the parties are in by next year and where the national swing goes as not every constituent is going to get to know each candidate by name or face.

  29. I generally think that UKIP will do well where they have councillors. This is the case here.

    I think if UKIP treble their share (assuming a rougly equal turnout), they will get 4,000 extra votes. Then you have the general lib dem collapse in seats where they are not incumbent, and it starts looking tricky for the Tories.

    The Ashcroft poll was pretty good in the run up to Wythenshawe.

    This will be a classic seat in which a split right (ish ) vote [yes, i know ukip take votes from labour etc] could let Labour back in.

  30. A UKIP vote of 15% at the general election will put pressure on the tories.

    A decent poll from UKIP could turn the 2015 election into a Labour majority. At 10% UKIP, labour gets a majority. Even at 8%, the Tories will be in trouble. Anything above 6% for UKIP at the general, makes life difficult for the blues.

  31. So the 2013 locals here went as follows:

    2009 10505 (44%)
    2013 5878 (28%)

    2009 5986 (25%)
    2013 7139 (34%)

    2009 4441 (19%)
    2013 7609 (36%)

    2009 1821 (8%)
    2013 141 (1%)

    2009 879 (4%)
    2013 165 (1%)

    It’s firstly notable that the 2009 results would have been a poor predictor of the 2010 GE here. Labour beat their local election share by a hefty 8%, UKIP failed to get to theirs with a rather stark 14% fallback. Even in terms of raw votes 50% of people who voted for them locally failed to vote or, more likely, voted for someone else at the GE. Whether this is likely to repeat is anyone’s guess, though local election success may of course have changed people’s minds about whether it’s worth voting UKIP here; the Tories now hold just one Yarmouth county seat where they once had seven.

    It does definitely look like UKIP hurt the Tories most in general; in the three seats where they stood for the first time in 2015, Labour’s vote went up in every case, and in seats UKIP took Labour often still increased their vote (Gorleston, Lothingland). Labour’s vote did drop in Breydon, however – and on the flip side UKIP’s vote fell in Magdalen (taken by Labour) and Lothingland (which they took because the 18 votes less they got was nothing as compared to the 500 or so drop for the Tories. There is thus almost certainly some UKIP-Lab vote swapping but the Conservatives, at least here, did far worse from the inter-party transactions. The bad news for UKIP is that in seats where they had stood previously their vote didn’t rise a great deal; they failed to cap 1000 anywhere, indicating that their gains here are relatively unsafe. The lower 2013 turnout is also notable, and may imply Conservative voters staying at home in many cases.

    As usual, the Liberals did horribly and their candidate numbers also halved, one imagines a fair chunk of that 14% from 2010 will be squeezed by Labour as well.

    Overall, I think the local evidence points in Labour’s favour here; that UKIP are likely to suffer fallback, that the 14% Lib Dem vote is likely to be easy to squeeze, that they don’t hurt Labour’s vote share nearly as much as that of the Tories, and that the Conservatives are now very much lacking in councillors for the area. UKIP’s challenge is to hold onto their local voters; they failed to do it in 2010, but with more councillors on the ground they may have an easier job in 2015.

  32. He’s suspected of supplying a nomination paper to a returning officer knowing it to contain a forged signature. Pretty small beer IMO but it will certainly be a blow to UKIP and this is the sort of unfashionable dump that you’d expect them to do well in

  33. Tim’s changed his tune with the times. A few months ago any dump would have been the sort of place you’d expect Labour to do well in.

  34. this will be one of the most interesting seats on General Election Night. A labour victory here will mean that ukip has seriously damaged the tories.

  35. I think Labour winning here is pretty unlikely.

  36. Norwich South is the only Norfolk seat they can place in ‘the very likely gain’ column.

    If Gt Yarmouth is gained, it’ll only be a small majority.

  37. ‘A few months ago any dump would have been the sort of place you’d expect Labour to do well in’

    And Labour have done well here – compared to most of the rest of the Eastern region where they have been on a seemigly irreversible decline for the last 15 years or so

    It fits the UKIP profile perfectly – provincial, quite working class, in decline, unfashionable etc

    The only chance of Labour win here is if UKIP do extremely well and revelations like those above won’t exactly help their cause

  38. I’d call it maybe 55-45 in Labour’s favour, myself. I imagine the Labour vote didn’t turn out a great deal in 2010, so whilst Labour will need to fight quite hard I really don’t see many major obstacles in their way to gain this seat. Do you all just think that the Conservative support is vastly more solid than that of Labour, or?

  39. I do think that it will be close here, but I am doubtful that Labour will exceed the national swing; on an UNS Labour needs to be about 3% ahead of the Tories nationally to take Great Yarmouth. Personally I don’t see that happening especially in a seat in a small town in East Anglia where there is quite a high-profile, effective Conservative MP who will have double incumbency, though Labour seem to have chosen quite well too. Apart from the 2 seats where there is likely to be extensive by-election unwind from the last parliament, I don’t have any seats which require quite this level of swing from the Tories down as Labour gains, with the sole exception of Dudley S, at the moment. I do however think that Labour will take some seats which require swings of over 4% in addition to that.

  40. The local elections here next month could be interesting. I think that UKIP will take at least 11 out of the 13 seats up for grabs on the borough Council, with Labour taking Magdalen, and Claydon being very tight between Labour and UKIP.

    If this event occurs Labour would lose the council to NOC with the following political composition:

    Labour: 15 or 16 seats
    Conservatives: 12 seats
    UKIP: 11 or 12 seats

    Could a coalition be formed between 2 of the 3 parties? What impact could there be on the general election result here?

  41. Surely that’s very over-optimistic. Even if UKIP do as well as last year they would be very fortunate indeed to win 11 out of 13 wards.

  42. If the rest of the county is anything to go by, UKIP-LAB is the most likely; UKIP in Norfolk generally seem to have made the decision (correct I think) that the most important thing is differentiating themselves from the Conservatives (who are also probably more likely to move their way than Labour voters on average, as Labour will be topped up more by LD losses).

    If UKIP do take 11 of 13, it will stand them in very good stead for 2014 I’d say; it will be an interesting barometer of the seat to see what happens, probably mostly in what it shows about UKIP’s hold on voters and ability to maintain support and the momentum they had last year here.

  43. Ladbrokes:
    4/5 Cons
    6/4 Lab
    5 UKIP

  44. According to Twitter Lib Dems not fielding a single council candidate here.

  45. 5/1 on UKIP isn’t bad

  46. I agree ukip is good value here at 5/1…

  47. UKIP running riot here including taking Cobholm which has been Labour since before WW2 at least.

  48. Council now NOC. UKIP have taken 10 seats, 5 each from
    Tories and Labour.

  49. No Labour took a seat from the Conservatives in Cobholm as recently as 2006,_2006

    However Yes, they have had a good result

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