Harwich & North Essex

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24722 (51%)
Labour: 9548 (19.7%)
Lib Dem: 3576 (7.4%)
Green: 2122 (4.4%)
UKIP: 8464 (17.5%)
MAJORITY: 15174 (31.3%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Essex. Part of the Colchester council area and part of the Tendring council area.

Main population centres: Harwich, West Mersea, Brightlingsea, Wivenhoe, Manningtree, Aldham, Chappel.

Profile: The seat mostly consists of the rural hinterland around Colchester (the seat stretches around and almost surrounds the Colchester seat). To the far east of the seat is the town of Harwich, a container and ferry port on the North Sea which is also the operational headquarters of Trinity House, the lighthouse authority for England and Wales. Other towns include the smaller ports of Brightlingsea and Wivenhoe, which is also the base of the University of Essex. To the south the seat includes Mersea Island, joined to the mainland by a causeway. Many of these town used to rely on fishing or shipmaking, but these days are more likely to be dormitories for Colchester commuters or coastal retirement destinations.

Politics: A safe Conservative seat - along with its effective predecessors North Essex and Colchester North it has been held by the Tory part since its creation in 1983.

Current MP
BERNARD JENKIN (Conservative) Born 1959, son of former cabinet minister Patrick Jenkin. Educated at Highgate School and Cambridge University. Former advisor to Legal and General. Contested Glasgow Central 1987. First elected as MP for Colchester North in 1992. PPS to Michael Forsyth 1995-1997, constitutional affairs spokesman 1997-1998, environment and transport spokesman 1998-1999, shadow minister for transport 1999-2001, shadow secretary of state for defence 2001-2003, spokesman for the regions 2003-2005, Deputy chairman of the Conservative party 2005-2006. During the Major government he was one of the few newly elected MPs prominent in the Maastricht rebellion. His wife, Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, is a former girlfriend of the screenwriter Richard Curtis and it is claimed that Curtis`s habit of naming a particularly put upon character `Bernard` in almost all his screenplays is either revenge upon or an in-joke with Bernard Jenkin.
Past Results
Con: 23001 (47%)
Lab: 9774 (20%)
LDem: 11554 (24%)
UKIP: 2527 (5%)
Oth: 2144 (4%)
MAJ: 11447 (23%)
Con: 22811 (48%)
Lab: 11908 (25%)
LDem: 9831 (20%)
GRN: 1718 (4%)
Oth: 1691 (4%)
MAJ: 10903 (23%)
Con: 21325 (47%)
Lab: 14139 (31%)
LDem: 7867 (18%)
UKIP: 1613 (4%)
MAJ: 7186 (16%)
Con: 22480 (44%)
Lab: 17004 (33%)
LDem: 10028 (20%)
Oth: 1697 (3%)
MAJ: 5476 (11%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Essex North

2015 Candidates
BERNARD JENKIN (Conservative) See above.
DOMINIC GRAHAM (Liberal Democrat) Solicitor. Colchester councillor since 2014.
MARK HUGHES (UKIP) Financial advisor. Former North Hertfordshire councillor. Contested Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney 1992 for the Conservatives.
Comments - No Responses on “Harwich & Essex North”
  1. I really don’t understand how the town of Manningtree can only have a population of 900.

    Although that may be 2001.

    If you look at a map of it, it is a small town, but is quite a lot of roads, and side roads.

    It just doesn’t make sense.

    At a rough rule of thumb, I would say it was about two thirds of a council ward in London, and that would be several thousand people.

    I don’t think this is because it fades into Mistley to the east.

  2. If you look on election maps and show the parish layers, it does show that Manningtree parish is very tightly drawn around the centre. Most of the population of the town as you would recognise it is in Lawford parish (population c. 4,500) and some in Mistley (2,500).
    Brantham in Suffolk, directly across the Stour from Manningtree is also part of this built up area and has another 2,500 population (these are 2001 figures)

  3. Thanks Pete – good explanation.

  4. Can anyone find the result of the Harwich West ward by-election last night?

  5. Apparently Lab 282, Con 220, CRP 163, LD 143. I was slightly surprised not to see a UKIP candidate, as they used to have an active branch in Harwich and they have a history of support in Tendring.

  6. Thanks Edward it has finally appeared on the Tendring council website.

  7. Which seats was Tendring in before 1997?

  8. Harwich

  9. Ed Carllson Browne, of this parish, selected by Labour for this constituency.

  10. CON 40
    LAB 26
    LD 16
    UKIP 11
    GRN 5
    OTH 2

  11. Well done Edward! Here’s to an enjoyable campaign my man!

  12. If I lived here I might be tempted to vote for Edward against that twerp Bernard Jenkin.

  13. I’d echo HH’s comment – Edward seems to be an intelligent guy with integrity, qualities which, based on the intwrviews I’ve seen, Jenkin lacks.

  14. Well done to Mr Carlsson Browne on his selection.

  15. I like Jenkin – he is a top MP.

    Ed is of course an excellent selection and is extremely intelligent, knowledgeable and personally pleasant.

  16. Congratulations!

  17. Best of luck – I find Jenkin really irritating!

  18. Congratulations Edward!

  19. Congrats Ed πŸ™‚

  20. Many thanks for all the congratulations.

  21. I used to know Bernard Jenkin slightly at (Cambridge) University & have always been rather puzzled why he has been seen as all that bright – he didn’t seem the brightest spark by Cambridge standards, unlike e.g. David Lidington who seems to me to be a ) very intelligent and b ) possessed of considerable integrity. Let’s hope Edward gives him something to apply his brain to!

  22. If Edward gets elected, will he continue to post here? Or will the whips be keeping a careful eye on what he says online?

  23. Apologies to Edward for spelling his name incorrectly above.

  24. This could be the beginning of something big for you Edward!

  25. At least one MP who was a regular on this site (Toby Perkins) has continued to post, although not very often in his case. I think Edward would privately agree that he is extremely unlikely to be elected however. Would that it were otherwise.

  26. Who knows? Perhaps Edward might get another seat in 2020 if he’s not successful this time? πŸ™‚

  27. If Bob Russell retires, Colchester may become a viable seat for Labour in a good year.

  28. Edward Carlsson Browne, future MP for Cambridge…

  29. Ah that’s different. I didn’t say Edward would NEVER get into Parliament……

  30. Ooh, excitement – best of luck, good sir! πŸ™‚

  31. Colchester – viable for Labour????

    I really don’t think so.

  32. Actually Joe R, it isn’t as outlandish as you might think – Labour weren’t far off taking the seat in 1997 and it is Bob Russell’s own popularity that has convinced Labour voters to back him. Not an easy target for Labour, but certainly an eventual one and, as AndyJS says, viable in a good year (a very good year).

  33. I can’t see it myself. The seat is surely naturally either LD or Tory.

  34. “Actually Joe R, it isn’t as outlandish as you might think – Labour weren’t far off taking the seat in 1997”

    In 1997 Labour won seats in Essex which we can pretty safely assume they will never ever win again – Castle Point, Braintree, Harwich, and Romford and Upminster if we widen the definition to that of the traditional county.

    There is zero chance of Labour ever being competitive in Colchester or in any of the listed seats unless the party undergoes a screeching turn to the right and takes back the southern white van man demographic from the Tories and UKIP. I don’t see it myself.

  35. Colchester isn’t very similar to Castle Point, Romford or Upminster but it doesn’t have the more old-fashioned, moderate Tory voters of Saffron Walden either. It is an unusual seat in having large numbers of both soldiers & students who are usually very different in their political preferences. As an urban seat, it perhaps offers Labour a better long-term bet than the other seats you mention (even though they have all been won for Labour before), but we are talking very long-term. It certainly does have a core of Conservative voters who will be extremely hard to dislodge but also a large number of LD voters who will be very hard to attract to Labour rather than the Tories.

  36. Indeed, Labour lost Castle Point almost as quickly as they gained it.

    Essex seems to be getting worse for them I think.

  37. As Barnaby says Colchester bears no similarity whatsoever to those areas mentioned in South Essex. In many ways it shouldn’t be considered as an Essex seat at all as the political culture is entirely different. For a socially comparable seat I would look more at somewhere like Exeter where Labour rarely won before 1997 but now has the appearance of a safe seat. Or perhaps some similarity with St Albans where Labour has been capable of doing very well and of being squeezed to destruction by the LDs. Labour came very close in Colchester in 1966 when it included a very large and mostly Tory rural hinterland and would undoubtedly have been won by Labour on the current boundaries then and possibly in 1974. If Labour had gained it in 1997 which they so nearly did, then the likely trajectory after that point would have probably been similar to Shrewsbury or Hastings with the LD vote collapsing. Of course this didn;t happen, but when Bob Russell retires and if the LDs are still in the doldrums then there could be a very major realignment. It would still require a very substantial Labour victory nationally of course, and that isn’t necessarily anticipated in 2020 but you never know.
    Anyway congratulations to Edward. This is a decent seat to have a first run at and of course his home area which is nice.

  38. Congratulations Edward. Hope your campaigning goes really well!

    Re Colchester, really don’t know enough about it to see what the long-term trajectory is. There is a uni population, but as far as I’ve heard Bob Russell is a very good MP and as long as he’s around Labour won’t come anywhere near winning.

    The only Essex seat I see going back to Labour on current boundaries is Thurrock based on the extreme marginality of it, as well as the growing African population there. Without favourable demographics in towns like Harlow or Basildon, Labour will find it harder to take those back save for landslide years.

  39. Basildon has been split which hasn’t helped but the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat is still winnable as is Harlow.

  40. Prediction for 2015-
    Jenkin (Conservative)- 44%
    Carlsson Browne (Labour)- 25%
    Liberal Democrat- 18%
    UKIP- 12%
    Green- 1%

  41. The university population isn’t all in the Colchester seat – the redevelopment down by the Hythe is pretty student-heavy and Greenstead has always had a decent-sized student contingent, but the main campus is in Harwich & North Essex and students aren’t entirely absent from Wivenhoe proper.

    More significant long-term is the new housing the town is seeing, both in the north and the south of town. It’s far too early to say what the impact of that would be, though.

  42. Which Essex county council wards cover this seat?

  43. In Tendring, the whole of Harwich and Tendring Rural West, most of Brightlingsea (excludes St Osyth) and a small part of Tendring Rural East.
    In Colchester, most of the Constable division (excludes Marks Tey), the Wivenhoe section of Wivenhoe ST Andrew (just over half the electorate) and a minority of the Stanway & Pyefleet division

  44. Also the Mersea part of the Mersea and Tiptree division. There are some astonishingly odd divisional boundaries in this bit of the world.

  45. Best of luck Edward.

    From the descriptions above, it does seem like there is potential for Labour to do substantially better. There is a big Lib Dem vote to squeeze down, and a strong Labour base in Harwich.

    Would this seat have voted Labour in 1997? It would at least have been mighty close.

  46. I agree that it would have been close but I think the Tories would just have held on narrowly, by about 1,500.

  47. I thought I recognised that name. Break a leg Mr Browne! πŸ™‚

  48. Ed I wish you, the best of luck in Harwich and north essex. I have live in harwich all my life, it’s not a tory town. I would advise you to focus on harwich, parkeston, dovercourt. Even Manningtree will contain many who just don’t vote and would at a push vote lab. The university population spreads all the way into harwich.

    You just need to get into the more deprived let down areas to get them to vote, If you can, you can make a big dent.

    Good Luck

  49. Harwich itself (inc. Dovercourt) will probably narrowly vote labour in 2015. It seems a very high swing area.

    Outside the town itself I am afraid the labour vote is minimal. Im not sure where you think the labour vote is in Manningtree for example.

  50. Nigel Farage: “A Carswell victory (in Clacton) puts the whole of Essex up for grabs. There is a vacancy in a neighbouring constituency – Harwich and North Essex – and if (Roger Lord) puts his name down, he does so with my full endorsement.”

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