2015 Result:
Conservative: 21623 (48.9%)
Labour: 13273 (30%)
Lib Dem: 904 (2%)
Green: 954 (2.2%)
UKIP: 7208 (16.3%)
TUSC: 174 (0.4%)
Others: 115 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 8350 (18.9%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Essex. The Harlow council area and some neighbouring parts of the Epping Forest council area.

Main population centres: Harlow, Lower Nazing, Sheering.

Profile: An Essex new town built from 1947. Harlow is very much a working class Conservative seat, characterised as the home of "white van man". It has a comparatively high proportion of social housing and is dominated by the skilled working class and the lower middle class. The seat contains Harlow itself, as well as some surrounding villages from the Epping Forest council area.

Politics: A marginal seat contested between Labour and the Conservatives. In 2005 it was one of the most marginal seats in the country - and the last to declare, suspending counting due to the tiredness of the counters after multiple recounts and finally declaring on the Saturday morning. Conservative candidate Rob Halfon unsuccessfully contested the seat in 2001 and 2005, finally defeating Bill Rammell on the third attempt in 2010.

Current MP
ROBERT HALFON (Conservative) Born 1969, London. Educated at Highgate School and Exeter University. Former Chief of Staff to Oliver Letwin. Contested Harlow 2001, 2005. First elected as MP for Harlow in 2010. PPS to George Osborne 2014-2015. Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 19691 (45%)
Lab: 14766 (34%)
LDem: 5990 (14%)
BNP: 1739 (4%)
Oth: 1692 (4%)
MAJ: 4925 (11%)
Con: 16356 (41%)
Lab: 16453 (41%)
LDem: 5002 (13%)
UKIP: 981 (2%)
Oth: 941 (2%)
MAJ: 97 (0%)
Con: 13941 (35%)
Lab: 19169 (48%)
LDem: 5381 (13%)
UKIP: 1223 (3%)
Oth: 401 (1%)
MAJ: 5228 (13%)
Con: 15347 (32%)
Lab: 25861 (54%)
LDem: 4523 (9%)
Oth: 659 (1%)
MAJ: 10514 (22%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ROBERT HALFON (Conservative) See above.
SUZY STRIDE (Labour) Educated at Cambridge University. Charity worker and advisor to Baroness Royall.
GEOFF SEEFF (Liberal Democrat) Accountant and consultant.
SAM STOPPLECAMP (UKIP) Born 1972. Transport manager.
MURRAY SACKWILD (Green) Teacher and trade union officer.
EDDY BUTLER (English Democrat) Born 1962, Bloomsbury. Educated at University of London. Contested Eastern region 2009 European election for the BNP, Harlow 2010 for the BNP.
Comments - 113 Responses on “Harlow”
  1. While other than the Blair Years, London’s New Towns (Bracknell, Harlow, Crawley, Stevenage, Basildon, Milton Keynes ect) are strongly Conservative, the Glasgow/ Edinburgh New Towns (East Kilbride, Irvine, Cumbernauld, Livingston and Glenrothes) all seem to now be strongly SNP.

    I would imagine that the London and Glasgow/ Edinburgh both have a high number of C2’s and would actually be very similar.

  2. ‘While other than the Blair Years, London’s New Towns (Bracknell, Harlow, Crawley, Stevenage, Basildon, Milton Keynes ect) are strongly Conservative, ‘

    Apart from Bracknell – which even during the Blair years never came close being won by Labour (in 97 it was actually one of the Tories best results with right-winger Andrew McKay being one of the few Tories to be returned to Parliament with a five-figure majority) none of those seats you mention are “strongly” Conservative

    Harlow looks pretty strong at the moment, largely due to a popular incumbent, but Crawley, Stevenage and Basildon are only marginally Conservative and I would imagine will probably be back in play when Labour next forms a government in a decade’s time or whenever

    The concrete jungle of Milton Keynes looks safely Tory at the moment but both seats, particularly the Southern one – are highly volatile – and you’d expect Labour to make progress if they were to do so nationally

    Along with the seaside towns, UKIP’s new-found poplarity seems to have had a detrimental effect on the Labour vote rather than the Tory one

  3. ‘I don’t see either Milton Keynes seat being Labour unless they win 1997-style, which may not happen for decades.’

    You could have said that about a host of seats that Labour won in 1997, where they overturned majorities far greater than the 8000 Stewart earnt here

    And some of the seats the Tories have recently won too – Thurrock had a 20,000+ Labour majority in 1997

    At this current time of course Labour aren’t going to be competitive in economically active places like Milton Keynes but writing them off for good when they are presumably at their lowest ebb since the 1980s is foolhardy

  4. Halfon has been sacked as a minister. He always struck me as over promoted and really rather simple. Not Priti Patel level stupid but not far off.

  5. Tristan
    Wasn’t the rumour that he only ever got promoted to a ministerial position so he’d stop asking the gov awkward questions about hospital parking charges?

  6. It was something like that. He certainly overdid the ‘man of the people’ bit.

  7. Yup, pretty much!

    A big flaw of the Westminster system of government is the revolving door between the executive and the legislature. It rather disincentivises backbenchers from their job of holding the government accountable.

  8. Not sure. My praise for him wouldn’t be unqualified but he does, I think, understand at least the white working class electorate better than most Tories. He’ll be trouble for May from backbenches, as he was for Cameron until he was brought into govt. Even a possible leadership contender, though more likely a running mate for someone else.

  9. Little Parndon & Hare Street result:

    LAB: 62.2% (+7.9)
    CON: 31.4% (+5.2)
    UKIP: 6.4% (-13.1)

    Labour HOLD.

  10. Robert Halfon response to the pound falling – people should consider holidaying in the UK instead. Considering the vast majority of people plaining on going abroad this summer will have already booked up not sure that will prove popular.

  11. Halfon was obviously a year early with that advice.

    Stan Newens, former Labour MP for Harlow, has died aged 91. He previously represented Epping, which at one point included Chigwell. Unless the boundary review carves up seats in a particular way, I can imagine him being the last Labour MP to represent Chigwell.

  12. Conservatives directly gain from Labour here. Harlow has already trended away from them since they lost the constituency in 2010, the council is probably following suit.

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