Harrogate & Knaresborough

2015 Result:
Conservative: 28153 (52.7%)
Labour: 5409 (10.1%)
Lib Dem: 11782 (22.1%)
Green: 2351 (4.4%)
UKIP: 5681 (10.6%)
MAJORITY: 16371 (30.7%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: Yorkshire and Humberside, North Yorkshire. Part of the Harrogate council area.

Main population centres: Harrogate, Knaresborough, Boroughbridge.

Profile: A genteel North Yorkshire town that became a thriving spa town for the English elite in the nineteenth century and has more recently specialised as a conference venue, hosting several Liberal Democrat party conferences. The seat also includes the historic market town of Knaresborough to the East of Harrogate itself.

Politics: Seeped in affluent Victorian splendour and associated with antiques and teashops, historically Harrogate was the safe Conservative seat you see today, but between 1997 and 2010 it was held by the Liberal Democrats. In 1997 it was lost to the Liberal Democrats by Norman Lamont, who stood in the seat after his own Kingston seat had been abolished as part of the boundary review. He was perceived as a carpetbagger and amongst the nationwide swing against the Tories lost the seat. Liberal Democrat Phil Willis comfortably held the seat for 13 years, but failed to pass on his substantial majority to his casework assistant Claire Kelley after his retirement in 2010.


Current MP
ANDREW JONES (Conservative) Born 1963, Ilkley. Educated at Bradford Grammar and Leeds University. Former marketing consultant. Contested Harrogate 2001. First elected as MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough in 2010. Junior transport minister since 2015. Chairman of the Bow Group from 1999-2000.
Past Results
2010
Con: 24305 (46%)
Lab: 3413 (6%)
LDem: 23266 (44%)
BNP: 1094 (2%)
Oth: 1056 (2%)
MAJ: 1039 (2%)
2005*
Con: 13684 (32%)
Lab: 3627 (8%)
LDem: 24113 (56%)
UKIP: 845 (2%)
Oth: 589 (1%)
MAJ: 10429 (24%)
2001
Con: 14600 (35%)
Lab: 3101 (7%)
LDem: 23445 (56%)
UKIP: 761 (2%)
Oth: 272 (1%)
MAJ: 8845 (21%)
1997
Con: 18322 (38%)
Lab: 4159 (9%)
LDem: 24558 (52%)
Oth: 614 (1%)
MAJ: 6236 (13%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ANDREW JONES (Conservative) See above.
JAN WILLIAMS (Labour)
HELEN FLYNN (Liberal Democrat) Born 1963, Wakefield. Educated at Wakefield Girls High School and Cambridge University. Former commissioning editor and businesswoman. Harrogate councillor since 2012. Contested Skipton and Ripon 2010.
DAVID SIMISTER (UKIP)
SHAN OAKES (Green) Educated at Plympton Grammar School and Leicester University. Former teacher and LEA officer. Contested Haltemprice and Howden 2008 by-election, Yorkshire and Humber 2009, 2014 European elections.
Links
Comments - 141 Responses on “Harrogate & Knaresborough”
  1. Thanks for those figures, Andy.

  2. I think I should be paying you for this wondeful service Andy. I’ll have a pour over these figures as this is a very important area. All are thoiugh

  3. This was an odd year with good and bad news for the three main parties and only good for ukip, now 3rd

  4. Agreed, Andy has done a sterling job. Have a look at the Selby figures, Joe- I’ve put them up on the Selby and Ainsty page working off Andy’s spreadsheet.

  5. Thanks very much for all this Andy. Thirsk looks like a particularly poor Labour result, in a town which had Labour councillors only a few years ago.

  6. Interesting that UKIP only polled 16% across North Yorkshire compared to the national projection of 22%, although they didn’t contest many of the divisions in districts like Craven and Selby.

  7. It looks like the Tories gained a seat from the Lib Dems in Harrogate Central, but lost or fell further behind in Knaresborough – but our majorities in the other Harrogate seats look healthy enough.

  8. The Conservatives also gained the Oatlands seat from the Lib Dems as well as the two Harrogate Central seats. UKIP gained a seat from the Liberal Democrats.

  9. Any news on Lib Dem PPC selection, 4th Oct?

  10. Had Willis not retired, the Lib Dems wouldn’t have lost this.

    He did extremely well here in 1997 when he first won the seat, but then again I guess he and the Lib Dems were greatly helped locally with the whole Norman Lamont fiasco that probably cost the Tories one of their safest seats in North Yorkshire (of which there were many). Without the problems with the candidate, I think Willis might still have taken the seat, but not with a majority anywhere near as the one he got.

  11. Evergreenadam. I think 4 October was just the close of applications. I don’t know when they will actually select. Seems late. Stand to be corrected.

  12. The Richard above is not me.

  13. ‘I think Willis might still have taken the seat, but not with a majority anywhere near as the one he got.’

    It’s worth remembering that Lamont only found himself here because the previous incumbent Robert Banks, was perceived as a lazy MP, who didn’t have a house in the constituency and took it for granted, leading to his de-selection

    Also, boundary chasges, removing chunks of staunchly Tory rural Yorkshire, also helped the Lib Dems, so I think it would have been tight had the Tories stuck with Banks.

    Picking Lamont – who at that time was universally loathed, making it yet again another utterly brainless decision by a local association – merely sealed their fate

  14. ”Also, boundary chasges, removing chunks of staunchly Tory rural Yorkshire, also helped the Lib Dems, so I think it would have been tight had the Tories stuck with Banks.”

    But why would it have been tight if Banks had fought it again- By the sounds of it he was about as unpopular as Lamont made himself, so I think the Tories would still have lost this to the Lib Dems, and still by the considerable margin they did.

  15. ‘But why would it have been tight if Banks had fought it again’

    Simply because Banks was not Lamont

    Being only 20 you would not remember that Lamont was a massively unpopular member of a massively unpopoular government – all right Major sacked him in 1993, when he returned to the backbenches – but his unpopularity stayed with him – thanks to careless remarks such as he regretted none of the pain he had caused by his own incompetence re: the ERM debacle

    To be honest Willis probably would have won had Banks stayed on, but I very much doubt the sdwing would have been as lage

    Not for the first time, the Tories shot themselves in the foot here by selecting a lousy candidate

  16. But Banks was a very low-profile MP who might still have suffered as big a swing as Lamont did.

    As for Lamont, thanks to the Internet I know everything that you’ve just explained Tim, but thanks anyway.

  17. ‘But Banks was a very low-profile MP who might still have suffered as big a swing as Lamont did.’

    He might have, but even by the standards of 1997 a 17% swing was still considerable (making the top 20 swings of the night) – and there’s npo dounbt that Lamonth’s canditure did the Tories no favours at all

  18. I will be putting Sky News’ 1997 election show on YouTube in the near future.

  19. ”I will be putting Sky News’ 1997 election show on YouTube in the near future.”

    Great to hear Andy- In the meantime, thanks a lot for Sky’s coverage of the 2010 General Election that you’ve uploaded so far.

  20. Most of the Tory MPs from the early 90s were unlikeable characters, hence the Nasty Party tag we acquired by the end of the decade/early noughties (Thanks Mrs May). Lamont was one of the worst so its unsurprising that he lost here. He should never have been allowed to stand here in the first place.

  21. ‘i will be putting Sky News’ 1997 election show on YouTube in the near future.’

    Please spare us Andy – they make ITV’s low-budget attempts at presenting an election show look professional

    ‘Most of the Tory MPs from the early 90s were unlikeable characters’

    I find the likes of Peter Bone, Andrew Rosindell and Laurence Robertson every bit as dislikeable as the likes of David Evans, John Carisle, Rupert Allason – some of the least sympathetic characters from the 92-97 Parliament

    As a whole though I agree that Tory MPs in particular are genereally a lot more likeable that their equivelents 20-30 years ago

    They have to be oin today’s world

    Your absolutely right about Lamont L Bernard. Just what were the local association thinking off in nominating him as their candidate – showcases how out of touch such associations were

  22. Tim

    I take it you’ve never met Norman Lamont.

    He’s an extremely nice person when you meet him in person, much more likeable than his image on the TV (the same is true of Michael Portillo as well).

    I’m pretty sure that’s how he will have got the candidacy in Harrogate, by schmoozing the local party one-on-one. He also got William Hague, who used to be his PPS, to do his best to fix up the seat for him.

  23. “As for Lamont, thanks to the Internet I know everything that you’ve just explained Tim, but thanks anyway.”

    What Tim was trying to say is that there was this kind of REVULSION against all things Tory after Black Wednesday. No matter what you can read up on the internet, you had to have lived through those years to appreciate how it felt. In 1997 and 2001 I remember canvassing in a true blue seat up one gravel drive after the other, with 2 or 3 Mercs and BMWs parked on each of them, and almost every householder coming out and being extremely rude about the Tories and saying they were voting Labour. It was an extraordinary time which lasted 10 or 11 years from Black Wednesday to the Iraq War. You have to have experienced it to remember how odd it was, and the sheer feeling of hopelessness in the Tory party. It’s the kind of political earthquake that might only happen every 50 or 100 years, we may not see it again in our lifetimes.

  24. ‘I take it you’ve never met Norman Lamont.

    He’s an extremely nice person when you meet him in person, much more likeable than his image on the TV (the same is true of Michael Portillo as well).’

    I have never met Norman Lamont – although i know people who have, most of whom did make a point of saying that he came across very well

    Whether he’s a nice man or not wasn’t my point. The fact is that he was primarily blamed for the ERM debacle, from which the Major government never recovered and his ‘i regret nothing’ remark which was said as a joke to a question at a press conference, was careless rather than callous, but the damage it did was immense – and just as the Tories never recovered, neither did Lamont’s reputation

    It was quite clear to anyone who knew anything about politics at the time that Lamont was exceptionally unpopular, and thus no real surprise that he lost so heavily in staunchly Tory Harrogate

  25. I still think Willis would have won the seat in the circumstances given where the Tories were nationally. Being a popular local teacher would have pretty much ensured that in itself I would have thought.

  26. Helen Flynn selected for the LDs.

  27. Helen Flynn was the PPC in Skipton & Ripon last go around.

  28. Con 46
    LD 36
    UKIP 12
    Lab 8

  29. My prediction for this seat off the old site-

    Possible result in 2015-
    Jones (Tory)- 25, 289, 48.1%, +2.4%)
    Lib Dem- 19, 723 (37.5%, -6.3%)
    Lab- 4, 623 (8.8%, +2.4%)
    UKIP- 1, 627 (3.0%, +1.0%)
    BNP- 1, 233 (2.3%, +0.2%)
    Turnout- 52, 495.
    Majority- 5, 566 (10.6%)
    Swing- +4.35% from Lib Dem to Con.

  30. I think The Result’s prediction here is the better one. The Tory vote is quite likely to go up and this is not really ripe territory for UKIP, who will get nowhere near 12%.

    There might be a bit more of a Lib Dem to Labour swing than either of you are predicting.

  31. Spookily enough I posted that prediction originally on Halloween last year…

  32. Parts of this constituency are quite good for UKIP – they won a county councillor here – a rare event in the north.

    Maybe more like 7 or 8.

    But not 3.

  33. That is an old prediction Joe that I made, so that’s why I had UKIP so low- Bear in mind also the opinion polls at that time…

  34. You’d expect the LD challenge to fade next time but I wouldn’t like to bet my paltry life savings on it.

  35. I wouldn’t bet mine either. I think the Lib Dems will stay in semi-contention here, but the day they win this back is IMHO the day they choose another candidate like Phil Willis, which won’t be an easy task for them.

  36. Labour only got into double figures in two wards:

    Starbeck – a modest area between Harrogate and Knaresborough. Somewhat of a distinct community to Harrogate proper. (11.7%)

    Harrogate Bilton and Nidd Gorge

    Contains a largeish council estate and most of the genuinely working class parts of Harrogate. Nidd Gorge is a rural area to the north of the town, UKIP topped the poll. (15.9%)

    Labour would really do well to top 10% in the seat. They failed to do so even in 1997 and 2001.

  37. I think Labour should manage 8% here in 2015 TBH.

    I’ve been to Harrogate and for all its grandeur and genteelism, I would be very surprised if Labour didn’t rise a couple of percentage points here as Willis’ personal vote continues to unwind. I actually think they’d manage another 4% than what they got here in 2010 had it not been for the tactical support for Willis.

  38. Labour used to do a little better – its one of those seats where people who might vote Labour if they didn’t live there opt for LibDem to keep out the Tories. I know at least four people who have done that at one time or other while living there. Knaresborough used to have a Labour ward but its LD now

  39. I would be surprised if Labour aren’t getting 10% here by 2020 at least.

  40. Just had a look at the Lib Dem blog, think they have blown it in this seat for this electoral cycle at the very least.

    Interesting to see the blog focuses on the fact that Lib Dems were always going to get into government via coalition. It is the first bit of honesty i have seen from them in that party as their claims of winning a GE even in the height of the 2010 campaign were always spurious.

  41. I went to Harrogate by train a few years ago on a crisp winter’s day.

    I won’t bother making an exact prediction here due to the unknown that is UKIP but will say that Andrew Jones will hold on.

  42. If you dont know what the UKIP factor is, then I find it hard to believe that you can make a prediction of Jones hanging on…

    its like an algebraic equation where you don’t know what X is and won’t know until may 2015…

  43. it’s quite fair enough. Your comments are sometimes unneccesarily snide (though I am almost certainly guilty of the same when addressing LD members). There’s no compelling & reliable evidence that the LDs are likely to retake this so it’s perfectly reasonable to predict a Conservative hold.

  44. analysis should be “made of sterner stuff” to quote the bard

  45. I can’t see what analysis, stern or otherwise, implies a LD regain here….perhaps you could enlighten us?

  46. I didnt say a regain here… I just commented that if you dont have an opinion on what the UKIP will do then you cannot say what the outcome will be…

    you can not have an opinion on the BNP.. but blithely ignoring the UKIP is done at one’s peril…

    UKIP is morphing over time… remember those who thought Hitler would never amount to anything…

  47. LOL I don’t like UKIP or Nigel Farage very much but I don’t think they are a comparable threat to Hitler.

    To be honest we probably won’t know until the campaign itself whether UKIP are likely to poll 5%, 10% or 15%

  48. I was talking about the underestimation factor.. the classic line “they’ll never amount to anything”.. before phenomena like the Tea Party suddenly mug pundits by having more impact than everyone ascribes..

    I agree totally as to the mystery of what proportion they will get and I suspect a lot of it will have to do with local organisation and the candidate.. a do-nothing candidate with no helpers might get 4% in a given seat and one who has their skates on and a well-oiled team might get 8-10% in the same seat..

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)