Hereford & South Herefordshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24844 (52.6%)
Labour: 6042 (12.8%)
Lib Dem: 5002 (10.6%)
Green: 3415 (7.2%)
UKIP: 7954 (16.8%)
MAJORITY: 16890 (35.7%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: West Midlands, Hereford and Worcester. Part of the Herefordshire council area.

Main population centres: Hereford, Ross-on-Wye.

Profile: A rural seat on the border with Wales, it compromises Hereford itself and most of South Herefordshire. Hereford itself is a historic city and a Liberal stronghold, the cathedral houses the 13th century Mappa Mundi. The only other notable town is the bookselling town of Ross-on-Wye with the rest of the constituency made up of gently-rolling agricultural land. The area is mostly known for apple and pear growing and cider making, though Strawberry production is increasingly common (and controversial given the use of polytunnels). Significant local employers are Bulmers cider and Sun Valley foods.

Politics: Hereford had been a Liberal target for many years before it was finally won on the back of Paul Keetch`s impeccable local credentials. Keetch retired in 2010 and the seat was won by the Conservatives.

Current MP
JESSE NORMAN (Conservative) Born 1962. Educated at Oxford University, doctorate from UCL. Former Journalist and director of Barclays Bank. First elected as MP for Hereford & Herefordshire South in 2010. Was a senior Fellow at the Policy Exchange think tank and the author of Compassionate Conservativism.
Past Results
Con: 22366 (46%)
Lab: 3506 (7%)
LDem: 19885 (41%)
UKIP: 1638 (3%)
Oth: 986 (2%)
MAJ: 2481 (5%)
Con: 19323 (41%)
Lab: 4800 (10%)
LDem: 20285 (43%)
GRN: 1052 (2%)
Oth: 1434 (3%)
MAJ: 962 (2%)
Con: 17276 (39%)
Lab: 6739 (15%)
LDem: 18244 (41%)
UKIP: 1184 (3%)
Oth: 1181 (3%)
MAJ: 968 (2%)
Con: 18550 (35%)
Lab: 6596 (13%)
LDem: 25198 (48%)
MAJ: 6648 (13%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Hereford

2015 Candidates
JESSE NORMAN (Conservative) See above.
ANNA CODA (Labour)
LUCY HURDS (Liberal Democrat) Small Business Consultant. Contested North Herefordshire 2010.
Comments - 100 Responses on “Hereford & Herefordshire South”
  1. Lucy Hurds has been selected for the LDs.

  2. List of post-war Liberal/Lib Dem results in Hereford and Hereford and South Herefordshire-
    1. Archibald Pellow Marshall (1945, 7, 871, 23.4%)
    2. Cllr. Albert Ernest Farr (1950, 5, 965, 16.8%)
    (Liberals did not field a candidate in 1951)
    3. Humphrey Frank Owen (1955, 8, 658, 24.8%)
    4. Humphrey Frank Owen (1956 by-election, 9, 979, 36.4%, +11.6%)
    5. Robin Day (1959, 10, 185, 28.3%, +3.5% against 1955)
    6. K Vaus (1964, 9, 322, 23.83%, -4.47%)
    7. K Vaus (1966, 6, 996, 17.80%, -6.03%)
    8. TR Crowther (1970, 4, 953, 11.97%, -5.83%)
    9. CB Tannant-Nash (Feb 1974, 15, 238, 33.70%, +21.73%)
    10. CB Tannant-Nash (Oct 1974, 15, 948, 36.39%, +2.69%)
    11. CF Green (1979, 18, 042, 37.43%, +1.04%)
    12. CF Green (1983, 21, 057, 43.38%, +5.95%)
    13. CF Green (1987, 23, 452, 44.80%, +1.42%)
    14. GG Jones (1992, 23, 314, 41.16%, -3.64%)
    15. Paul Keetch (1997, 25, 198, 47.9%, +6.74%)
    16. Paul Keetch (2001, 18, 244, 40.9%, -7.1%)
    17. Paul Keetch (2005, 20, 285, 43.3%, +2.4%)
    18. Sarah Carr (2010, 19, 885, 41.1%, -2.3%)

  3. Note a certain Robin Day as the 1959 Liberal candidate.

  4. ”Note a certain Robin Day as the 1959 Liberal candidate.”


    To extend the media link even further, the two-time post-war candidate for the Liberals Humphrey Frank Owen was in fact briefly the city’s MP from 1929-1931 previously and was also the editor of two newspapers during the 1940’s- First the Evening Standard from 1938-1941 and then the Daily Mail from 1947-1950.

    All unerringly similar to Richmond with Alan Watson the Liberal candidate having been a BBC broadcaster.

  5. and to add to the link, I live in Richmond & my sister was living in Hereford until recently. I have to say though that Hereford & Richmond could hardly be more dissimilar places if they tried…..

  6. Extremely similar vote shares though.

  7. And results too. Though I suppose the main difference is that the Tories came closer to losing in Richmond in 1983 than in Hereford, where it was actually closer in 1987 I think. Other than that for the most part both seats have been marginal Cn-Lib contests.

  8. Judging by his poor performance after 1997 and the surprisingly good LibDem performance in 2015 (compare with Harrogate for example) Paul Keetch might have built a negative incumbancy bonus.

    I must admit to never having noticed Keetch before but his wikipedia page does contain some rather interesting issues which might explain his poorer than average electoral performances.

  9. @Richard

    Interesting points.

    Certainly compared to Harrogate where Willis left a massive majority for Claire Kelley to defend, the result in 2010 here in comparison was indeed if anything actually better for the Lib Dems if losing a seat can be described as being that.

    And it is true what you say about Keetch- Certainly after 1997 his results weren’t terrific it has to be said- He somehow managed to lose 7% of the vote in 2001 when most of his fellow 1997 intake in the party busily set about increasing their vote shares and majorities alike. TBH the only reason I can think of why he lost more in vote share than he gained when he first won the seat might have been because the fall in the Tory vote benefited him more than Labour as it was a Con-Lib marginal, but I suppose it doesn’t really fully explain it.

  10. The Tory candidate IIRC in 2001 was Virginia Taylor, and she seems to have attracted plaudits from people of independent mind, not just Tory supporters, for her effective campaign. It is possible that some of the swing was actually almost as much a positive vote for her rather than simply a negative one against Keetch. That election predates my sister’s time in Hereford, so the information came from other sources including the late Almanac of British Politics.

  11. @Barnaby Marder
    Taylor may well have been an effective candidate. I think one of the reasons why she didn’t win in 2005 was because Keetch clawed back some votes as he was the sitting MP.

  12. but he was in 2001 too. It is a hard result to explain really.

  13. Looking back further, Keetch’s predecessor Sir Colin Shepherd arguably did a lot better electorally, albeit over a much longer period than his successor.

    Shepherd constitently hung on to this seat for 22 years made all the more remarkable by the fact that the Liberals’ already established presence in Hereford constituency wise and at a local level still wasn’t enough for them to win it in 1983 when the circumstances were highly favourable for the Alliance. It is ironic that they came closer in 1987 as a result.

    Colin Shepherd for his part saw off Liberal challenges from no fewer than three candidates- the last time he successfully defended the seat (1992) that incredibly marked the first time since 1970 that the Liberal/Lib Dem vote share had decreased- highly indicative of the Liberals’ strength in the city during Shepherd’s tenure as MP.

    Just to conclude, Paul Keetch even though he stood half as many times in Hereford as his predecessor did, actually got a bigger majority when he was first elected than Sir Colin Shepherd was ever able to attain.

  14. Very true. It is perhaps a testament to his rather mediocre local performance that he let it be frittered away so quickly. Compare for example the LD performances since 1997 in Kingston & Surbiton, or in Lewes.

  15. The funny thing about Kingston and Lewes and other similar seats is that the Lib Dems first won those seats with small majorities and then built from there.

    But in the case of Hereford I get the feeling that for all the years of local success in the city the Lib Dems peeked too soon once they gained the seat.

  16. It’s a little strange how the seat swung so violently (compared with what had previously been the case) in 1997, 2001 & 2010. The seat has for many years been a dichotomy between solidly Tory rural Herefordshire, and the solidly LD city of Hereford itself. Ross-on-Wye is basically a Tory town with a noticeable LD minority. There are however some quite pleasant owner-occupied areas of Hereford city, and it may be those parts which have oscillated the most between the 2 parties.

  17. how come the lds do so well in hereford city

  18. @Barnaby Marder
    I take it that it must have been the overwhelmingly rural element that allowed the Tories to hold on here for so long.

    @Tytherington Rocks
    The reason it is Lib Dem is because it is just that kind of place- Middle-class, no particular Labour tradition and so for those who don’t like the look of the Tories the only party for them to turn to is the Lib Dems. I don’t know if you can compare Hereford to Harrogate, Southport, Bath, Cheltenham etc. but I think you get my drift.

  19. Hereford isn’t all that middle class really. It has quite a lot of terraced housing, which is pretty inexpensive by Southern English standards, and some council estates too (the one & only Labour councillor as I understand it represents a largely council estate outer ward). It does however have some good residential areas especially in the east. The near west of the city is actually quite grim & doesn’t look prosperous at all although it does have quite a trendy arts centre.

  20. RE the 1970 result it is all the more incredible to look back at retrospectively knowing what happened in the years that followed.

    The swing to the Liberals in February 1974 here was massive- Probably not just to do with the Liberals’ emergence on the council but maybe also due to the work of the candidate.

  21. but there was a huge increase in their vote nationwide. Similar things happened in numerous other seats e.g. Isle of Wight, Truro.

  22. @Barnaby Marder
    That is true. However in IOW and Truro there were formidable personalities standing for the Liberals- The exceptional Stephen Ross in the Isle of Wight and the ever-popular and the late great (before his time 🙁 )David Penhaligon in the case of Truro. I think there were particular Liberal candidates who must have capitalised on the huge momentum that came their way in February 1974 and combined that with their real wanting to become MPs for their constituencies- Hence the reason why Penhaligon won in October, because he kept working and working and working until the seat fell to him- As you know this is why in a lot of Lib Dem seats where traditionally there was little strength for the party individuals have been successful.

  23. Actually now I think about it the Isle of Wight result must have been absolutely earth-shattering for the Conservatives despite the circumstances.

  24. Barnaby-

    The St Martins and Hinton ward, in the extreme south of the city, elected a Labour councillor in 2011. You would be right that there is quite a lot of council housing there- 28% of households are socially rented there.

    There are also some very deprived areas in the adjacent Belmont ward. However, Labour only put one candidate up in 2011 and the seat returned two Independents.

  25. yes Tory that’s pretty much how my sister explained it to me. Thanks.

  26. What I find quite interesting is that in the old neighbouring constituency of Leominster (Now mainly North Herefordshire) the Liberals for a long time threatened the Conservatives there as well. However, unlike here, they never managed to win the seat. But here are the post-war Liberal results in the constituency for reference-

    1. AE Farr (1945, 13, 586, 48.85%, +2.07%)
    2. G Morgan-Harris (1950, 5, 850, 18.12%, -30.73%)
    (Liberals did not field a candidate in 1951 or 1955)
    3. TG Jones (1959, 6, 905, 23.00%, N/A)
    4. EP Cadbury (1964, 8, 941, 29.87%, +6.87%)
    5. EP Cadbury (1966, 7, 647, 26.16%, -3.71%)
    6. Roger Pincham (1970, 6, 462, 21.25%, -4.91%)
    7. Roger Pincham (Feb 1974, 14, 602, 41.73%, +20.48%)
    8. Roger Pincham (Oct 1974, 15, 162, 44.38%, +2.65%)
    9. Roger Pincham (1979, 16, 261, 41.18%, -3.2%)
    10, Roger Pincham (1983, 19, 490, 37.94%, -3.24%)
    11. SC Morris (1987, 17, 321, 31.92%, -6.02%)
    12. DC Short (1992, 16, 103, 27.8%, -4.12%)
    13. T James (1997, 14, 053, 27.80%, +0.0%)
    14. Celia Downie (2001, 12, 512, 26.8%, -1.0%)
    15. Caroline Williams (2005, 12, 220, 25.0%, -1.7%)

    North Herefordshire-
    16. Lucy Hurds (2010, 14, 744, 31.0%, +6.9%)

  27. was jocelyn cadbury related to the chocolate family or should this be in the birmigham, northfield thread?

  28. Yes he was.

    Matthew Parris writes quite a lot about him in his autobiography.

  29. ”was jocelyn cadbury related to the chocolate family or should this be in the birmigham, northfield thread?”

    He might have been but I can’t find any concrete evidence- As you may know Cadbury has its origins in Birmingham so I guess he might have been. The Liberal candidate here in 1964 and 1966 may well have been a family member as well given this is a West Midlands seat- But I don’t know either for certain I’m afraid.

  30. I remember being 100% sure at the time he was part of the family.

  31. The Cadbury family must be one of the most important non-royal historical families of Britain or Ireland, along with the Guinness family, the Churchill family and the Sainsbury family.

  32. …all of whom have been in parliament, even if only the Lords in the case of the Sainsburys. One of course still is. (The Guinness dynasty was represented by Chips Channon & his son Paul who both represented Southend W.)

  33. Yes, he was a member of the Cadbury family. I know this because his Labour opponent from 79, the sitting MP Ray Carter, lives over in Bracknell nowadays and I heard the tragic story of Cadbury’s suicide on the grapevine.

    ‘The Liberal candidate here in 1964 and 1966 may well have been a family member as well given this is a West Midlands seat’

    Wouldn’t be a surprise. If I remember well, the Cadburys were traditionally a Liberal family. There’s an awful lot of business families from Victorian times that entered Liberal politics. Where I am in Reading, one of our most influential families back in the days was the Palmers – famous for Huntley & Palmers – and a fair few ran successfully on the Liberal ticket.

  34. @Van Fleet
    Thanks for that information.

    It’s funny while we’re here talking about notable families by area or whatnot, a lot of the Ewings stood for parliament, didn’t they? Then more obscurely there’s the case round by my way of husband and wife Lib Dem councillors, but most of them have been defeated now.

    And then there was John and Llin Golding, as well as the Wintertons, the Cryers and now Jack Straw’s son Will could follow his dad into Parliament! It’s great having familial advantage, is it not? 🙂

  35. It’s at least alot better than it was. Century or two ago, sons were practically inheriting seats from their fathers in droves.

  36. Re the Cadburys, there was one reading Economics at King’s College Cambridge while I was there. He went to Eton & voted Conservative.

  37. Anthony – just noticed this on the seat profile – A rural seat on the border with Wales, it compromises Hereford itself and most of South Herefordshire.

  38. A closer look at the result here in 1997-
    Keetch (Liberal Democrat)- 25, 198 (47.9%, +6.7%)
    Shepherd (Conservative)- 18, 550 (35.3%, -11.9%)
    Chappell (Labour)- 6, 596 (12.6%, +2.0%)
    Easton (Referendum)- 2, 209 (4.2%, N/A)

    Majority- 6, 648 (12.6%)
    Swing- +9.3% From Con to Lib Dem.

  39. It has to be said that the result here in February 1974 really did for Labour’s vote long-term in Hereford- It firmly established the Liberals as the main challengers to the Tories, and it has been that way ever since.

  40. Colin Shepherd’s electoral record in Hereford-
    1. October 1974- 17, 060 (38.92%, -2.39%, 1, 112 (2.54%) majority)
    2. 1979- 23, 012 (47.74%, +8.82%, 4, 970 (10.31%) majority)
    3. 1983- 23, 334 (48.07%, +0.33%, 2, 277 (4.69%) majority)
    4. 1987- 24, 865 (47.50%, -0.57%, 1, 413 (2.70%) majority)
    5. 1992- 26, 727 (47.19%, -0.31%, 3, 413 (6.03%) majority)
    6. 1997- 18, 550 (35.30%, -11.89%)

  41. My prediction for 2015-
    Conservative- 44%
    Liberal Democrat- 38%
    Labour- 11%
    UKIP- 5%
    Others- 2%

  42. Tupsley by-election result: It’s Our County 987, Cons 347, LD 277. It’s Our County Hold.

  43. It’s Our County is apparently a group of local independents who aim among other things to preserve Herefordshire’s individuality.

    IIRC, Tupsley is a Conservative-Lib Dem marginal in general elections. I dare say IOC will draw supporters from both main contenders at a local level.

  44. It’s Our County candidate Jon Norris has reportedly won the Pontrilas by-election. The Tories drop down to third place.

  45. Thats a truely depressing result.

  46. Well maybe it is but it doesn’t mean Jesse Norman is in any sort of trouble here.

  47. CON HOLD MAJ : 10%
    CON 38
    LD 28
    LAB 16
    UKIP 12
    GRN 5
    OTH 1

  48. Yesterday’s Hereford City Council Belmont ward by-election

    Jacqui Carwardine LD 186, IOC 141, Ind 102, Con 40. LIBDEM HOLD

  49. Not sure if anyone’s had a look recently, but it would appear that (at county level at least) Hereford city is no longer the Lib Dem bastion it once was. See here:

  50. I should say that to my detriment I don’t know about the state of the LDs on the city council – had a look at the HCC website but found it a little confusing in an eccentric, rather grandiose way!

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)