Hertsmere

2015 Result:
Conservative: 29696 (59.3%)
Labour: 11235 (22.4%)
Lib Dem: 2777 (5.5%)
UKIP: 6383 (12.7%)
MAJORITY: 18461 (36.9%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: Eastern, Hertfordshire. The whole of the Hertsmere council area.

Main population centres: Borehamwood, Radlett, Bushey, Potters Bar, Elstree.

Profile: A collection of middle class commuter towns just outside the boundary of Greater London. Potters Bar and Radlett are affluent Conservative voting towns, in contrast to the more working-class overspill development of Borehamwood, with along with neighbouring Elstree is mostly associated with the film and television industry. For many years there were major film studios here for MGM and Associated British Films and major productions like 2001 A Space Odyssey, The Shining and Where Eagles Dare were filmed here. The MGM studios and much of the ABF studios have now been demolished and redeveloped, but the Elstree studios where Big Brother is filmed and BBC Elstree, home of the Eastenders set, both remain. Hertsmere has the third highest Jewish population of any seat in the country.

Politics: A safe Conservative seat, held relatively easily by the party since its creation in 1983, most famously by Cecil Parkinson.


Current MP
OLIVER DOWDEN (Conservative) First elected as MP for Hertsmere in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 26476 (56%)
Lab: 8871 (19%)
LDem: 8210 (17%)
UKIP: 1712 (4%)
Oth: 2001 (4%)
MAJ: 17605 (37%)
2005
Con: 22665 (53%)
Lab: 11572 (27%)
LDem: 7817 (18%)
Oth: 518 (1%)
MAJ: 11093 (26%)
2001
Con: 19855 (48%)
Lab: 14953 (36%)
LDem: 6300 (15%)
Oth: 397 (1%)
MAJ: 4902 (12%)
1997
Con: 22305 (44%)
Lab: 19230 (38%)
LDem: 6466 (13%)
Oth: 644 (1%)
MAJ: 3075 (6%)

Demographics
2015 Candidates
OLIVER DOWDEN (Conservative)
RICHARD BUTLER (Labour) Born Edgware. AV engineer. Hertsmere councillor since 2011.
SOPHIE BOWLER (Liberal Democrat)
FRANK WARD (UKIP)
Links
Comments - 146 Responses on “Hertsmere”
  1. Boris Johnson has some Jewish connections, and this seat is on the way to becoming the most Jewish seat in the country in the medium term.

  2. The chairman of UKIP in Hertsmere is former Labour councillor Frank Ward and his wife Cathy, also a former Labour councillor was also a UKIP candidate in Hertsmere this May. I believe that their daughter Claire has yet to see the light.
    UKIP enjoyed some pretty good results in Borehamwood this May and have non-negligible support in Potters Bar too. They would tend to be weaker in Bushey and Radlett

  3. Paul Nuttall was a Labour man, and nearly all the councillors in Suffolk, for example, are ex-Labour members or leaners. No doubt the same could be said in other marginal and Tory-dominated areas, as well as obvious staunch Labour places like Rotherham and Sheffield.

    The constant denial that UKIP takes votes from Labour is ludicrous. People keep making the same mistake – assisted by the polling companies themselves – of looking at how current UKIP supporters voted in 2010 – a low point with Labour nearly back to their core. The real deal on this is where UKIP supporters were in 2011/ 12 – esp when Labour had double-digit poll leads regularly – and who they would be supporting now if UKIP weren’t here. And the answer, for many of them, is not Cons / BNP / WNV – but Labour.

    If Labour are looking the weaker of the two bigger parties going into the election, and are generally seen to be unready for government, expect chunks of support to leak to UKIP, who in turn may be leaking some back to Tories. Then Labour may just regret taking their supporters for granted.

  4. “Paul Nuttall was a Labour man”

    As others have also said, Paul Nuttall is a former Tory member, though he left the party 10+ years ago in his early 20s (he looks much older than his age).

    “The constant denial that UKIP takes votes from Labour is ludicrous.”

    I haven’t seen anyone on here say that. However I’d like you to explain how Labour losing votes to UKIP in places like those you mention (Rotherham, Sheffield etc) is going to lose them any seats which they need to win at the general election, possibly bar the odd freak example such as Grimsby. It isn’t difficult however to come up with 40 or 50 seats at least where a high UKIP vote is likely to cause the Tories not to win a seat they need to hold or gain to stay in government.

    As for your last paragraph, much as I’d personally like it to happen, there isn’t a shred of polling evidence that it is either happening now or likely to do so by May 2015. It is little more than licking your finger and sticking it in the air.

  5. Apols for the mistake on Nuttall’s background.

  6. Two of the three Sheffield council seats won by UKIP were actually Lib Dem seats – not all of Sheffield is heavily Labour.

  7. Andy JS – Sir Malcolm Rifkind has said he has no intention of retiring in the near future according to this article.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/kit-malthouse-selected-to-stand-as-mp-in-safe-seat-once-tipped-for-boris-johnson-9583915.html

    Apparantly, Boris wants to stand in a Greater London seat. Upminster and Hornchurch would be perfect for him if Angela Watkinson is close to retiring as the article suggests.

  8. James Clappison is retiring.

  9. http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/2924691/height/300/width/300/theme/standard/direction/no/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/destination_id/173867#.U7cu3cpw1P4

    According to Isabel Hardman in The Spectator, Clappison did not voluntarily stand down but was ‘pushed’ by the local Tory Association because they wanted a “different candidate”!

  10. Chrishornet,

    Your prediction of a reduced Con majority based on a LD-Lab swing is not borne out by the recent voting trends in Hertsmere.

    I agree that the LD vote will fall next year, probably below 10%. But there is no evidence that this will benefit Labour. All of the LD council seats in Bushey have been taken by Conservatives, who now hold 34/39 seats on the Council.

    Labour are now pinned back to just two wards in Borehamwood, one of which came closest to falling to UKIP this year.

    Indeed, based on recent council results, Lab may be hard pressed to hold on to second place. If they do, then it will be because the UKIP advance in 2013 and 2014, has ground to a halt. In which case the Con vote will be even further ahead.

    I would not be surprised to see an increased majority and an increase in the Con share, possibly rising over 60% for the first time.

  11. If recent voting trends were everything, Richard Harrington wouldn’t bother standing for re-election in Watford. But I’m almost certain that he will, and while it will be an almighty two-way battle at the very least (three-way battle if the Lib Dem Mayor of Watford stands), he has a decent chance.

    With the seats that went from LD to Conservative, what happened with the Labour and Conservative share of the vote? It does not surprise me that a Lib Dem collapse would result in the seats transferring to the Conservatives, who have always enjoyed solid support throughout the constituency, but when projecting what might happen in 2015 share of the vote is more significant.

    Boris standing would probably take the Conservative share above 60%. It’s possible, but I don’t think it would be smart for him to simultaneously be Mayor of London and MP for a constituency outside of its boundaries, albeit only just.

    Regardless, for the avoidance of doubt, “reduced” should be read as “slightly less massive”. The Conservatives having to worry about this seat is about as likely as Roger Helmer becoming Prime Minister.

  12. Chrishornet

    The collapse in LD support across Hertsmere has resulted in only a small increase in Lab share in the Bushey wards where there had previously been an LD councillor. Elsewhere in the borough the Lab share has been on a consistent decline.

    For example, in Borehamwood, arguable Lab’s stronghold and where they have recaptured Kenilworth, the last election put Cons back ahead across the town for first time since 2010. Meanwhile, in Potters Bar and Shenley, Lab now trail a poor third behind UKIP .

    Leaving aside the Euro Election where UKIP polled five votes for every three for Lab, in the borough elections, the Lab lead over UKIP in Borehamwood is almost cancelled out by the UKIP lead over Lab in Potters Bar. Given that there were no elections in Aldenham, and UKIP did not stand in Bushey Park, it is probably very close between Lab & UKIP in the western part of the Borough. Note that UKIP led in all three of those divisions at the County elections in 2013.

    Hence it remains my view that Lab will struggle to hold second place next year and will likely see their overall vote fall rather than rise.

  13. Thanks for that Paul, I hadn’t realised that UKIP were doing quite that well relative to Labour.

    That does slightly alter my perception of what the margins will be, but the problem for UKIP on a national level is that for the first time they cannot gloss over domestic policy – if they try to, they will get squeezed from both sides.

    Once they nail their colours to the mast, other parties will be quoting parts of their manifesto in the hope of dissuading voters who might have switched from their party to UKIP in the European elections. While there is no doubt that they will at the very worst double their share in Hertsmere (more likely triple), I’m still not convinced that they will be able to come up with a manifesto that will keep voters from either of the big two parties happy, and it therefore becomes a case of which idea they come up with which most strongly alienates one party’s former supporters.

    I think UKIP’s manifesto as a whole will be further to the left than most are predicting, but it’s still in my opinion more likely that the divisive policy will be one which puts off Labour-leaning UKIP voters.

  14. “The Conservatives having to worry about this seat is about as likely as Roger Helmer becoming Prime Minister”

    LOL
    well wouldn’t that be fun.

  15. Roger Helmer becoming Prime Minister would be the best thing to happen to the Labour Party since John Major left office…

  16. I hear that the leader of the council Morris Bright would love to be selected for this seat and that councillor Harvey cohen (on the executive for planning) is under a lot of pressure from within the community to apply

  17. Con selection: Oliver Dowden.

    https://twitter.com/CllrAbhiSach/status/519602792504111104

    “Delighted to welcome Oliver Dowden as Hertsmere Parliamentary Candidate (ex-Deputy Chief of Staff for Prime Minister)”

  18. It hersmere to say that I feel the urge to predict this.

    Con- 52%
    Lab- 20%
    UKIP- 18%
    Lib- 7%
    Green- 3%

  19. The last series of Big Brother has started at Elstree Studios with Clappison as their local MP. Apart, from Katie Hopkins I wonder if any of the contestants are politically-minded enough to know this fact. Hahaha!

  20. Possible that Conservative-leaning independents will be the second largest bloc on the council on 8th May, after the Tories chose not to reselect several sitting councillors in safe wards.

    While the Tories retaining a very comfortable majority on the council and in parliament is utterly certain, the ability of political parties of all colours to shoot themselves in the foot will never cease to amaze me. A few like-minded independents win re-election, a few more go independent over the next few years, and all of a sudden you have a respectably sized opposition bloc in what should be blue-till-hell-freezes-over heartland.

  21. “A few like-minded independents win re-election, a few more go independent over the next few years, and all of a sudden you have a respectably sized opposition bloc in what should be blue-till-hell-freezes-over heartland.”

    Hertsmere was a Labour controlled council in the mid to late nineties.

  22. Well, thirty years ago the Labour leader embracing Thatcherism seemed less likely than hell freezing over.

    Besides, I don’t envisage another 1983 or 1997 in our lifetimes, which makes this rock solid Tory territory barring self destruction.

  23. I would just like to say that Green Party PPC selection for Hertsmere will take place shortly-certainly by the time Parliament officially dissolves on 30th March.

  24. Thanks, looking forward to the announcement.

  25. @LAW:

    “I would just like to say that Green Party PPC selection for Hertsmere will take place shortly-certainly by the time Parliament officially dissolves on 30th March.”

    Leaving them just over a month for the campaign…

    If parties want to be taken seriously in a constituency, they need to announce candidates far earlier than this. Sure, this is rock-solid Tory, but leaving it this late is unbecoming…

    .. same comments apply to any candidates not yet declared, I suppose! What contributes to such late decisions? It boggles the mind.

  26. Well, nominations in and no Green candidate.
    There are full council elections the same day, and nominations for those (39 seats) are interesting.

    C- 39
    Lab – 38
    LD – 7
    UKIP – 4
    Ind – 4
    GREEN – 0

    Had expected more UKIP candidates. This is likely to blunt their vote at Constituency level, allowing Labour to maintain second place.

  27. Conservative Hold. 12,000 maj.

  28. The only thing that surprised me about this seat was the lack of a Green Party candidate here- I wonder why this was?

  29. But the lack of a Green candidate is probably the main reason why the Lib Dems saved their deposit here and had a decrease less than the national average.

  30. What’s Oliver Dowden’s background?

    He was just on BBC Daily Politics and was the campest MP since Jerry Hayes, Lord (Ronnie) Fearn and Lord (Paul) Tyler.

  31. Parliamentary boundary history of the major settlements in this constituency:

    Bushey
    Watford 1885-1950
    Hertfordshire South West 1950-1983
    Hertsmere 1983-present

    Potters Bar
    Enfield 1885-1950
    Enfield West 1950-1974
    Hertfordshire South 1974-1983
    Hertsmere 1983-present

    Borehamwood, Elstree, Shenley
    St Albans 1885-1945
    Barnet 1945-1974
    Hertfordshire South 1974-1983
    Hertsmere 1983-present

    Aldenham, Radlett
    St Albans 1885-1918
    Watford 1918-1950
    Hertfordshire South West 1950-1974
    Hertfordshire South 1974-1983
    Hertsmere 1983-present

  32. I gather from the radio that Lord Parkinson, the former MP for this seat, has died. In my opinion he is no loss.

    Cecil Parkinson, whilst a Cabinet Minister, fathered a daughter with his Secretary. The daughter turned out to be seriously disabled. Parkinson obtained an outrageously strong injunction preventing any mention in the press of his illegitimate daughter. He never had any contact with his daughter.

    In my view the legal judgment was not in the interests of his daughter, but prevented fair criticism of Parkinson.

    Parkinson’s behaviour was at a time when concern was emerging about the gross sexual misbehaviour of certain MPs, and the cover-up of his activities did nothing towards rectifying this situation, rather the reverse.

    As a Chairman of the Conservative Party, Parkinson had particular responsibility for the integrity of its MPs and candidates.

    The extent to which many Conservatives defended Parkinson over the years is to my mind incredible. It is to be hoped that now he has died they will come to a fairer and more considered judgment. I find it difficult to understand how voters continue to support politicians like Parkinson, or parties that fail to condemn them.

    Finally, our hearts go out to Parkinson’s daughter and her mother.

  33. RIP

  34. One wonders whether his daughter will shed a tear for a men she never met.

  35. Wkipedia quotes the girl as saying: –

    “I would like to see him. If he loved me, he would want to see me and be in my everyday life…

    That meeting will never happen now.

  36. Frederic: isn’t it a bit early for posts like your longer one above?

  37. I agree.

    The Parkinson/Keays affair was of its time, and is one of those things which reminds us that the Thatcher years were now a very long time ago. These days a Parkinson probably wouldn’t have had to resign had he played things properly, though on the other hand I would hope a man of my generation would not have felt the need to choose between his marriage/career and maintaining a relationship with his child. Frederic is conveniently forgetting the poisonous attitude most Tories had towards Miss Keays and, giving him the benefit of the doubt, it was perhaps partly that which ensured he had to behave as he did.

    Politically things may have been very different had Parkison remained scandal free, probably Thatcher would have handed over power in a more orderly fashion which would have led to a radically different 1990s and 2000s.

  38. Parkinson’s career ended before my time but all of the books I’ve read and interviews with him I’ve seen suggest a well liked and able politician.

  39. Parkinson was a smarmy obnoxious human being. Good riddance as he joins Thatcher in the pits of Hell.

  40. ‘suggest a well liked and able politician’

    Well-liked by Tory right-wingers certainly, but his appeal waned with those outside that circle

    Does show the change though that the affair completely ruined Parkinson’s political career for good, whereas his contemporaries can conduct affairs, get caught, issue some completely insincere and contrite apology and get re-elected without any problems – Caroline Noakes, John Prescott, James Gray etc

    I think I preferred the old arrangement to be honest

  41. “Parkinson was a smarmy obnoxious human being. Good riddance as he joins Thatcher in the pits of Hell.”

    Speaking ill of the dead in this way means you will most likely be joining them when the time comes 🙂

    “Well-liked by Tory right-wingers certainly, but his appeal waned with those outside that circle”

    I think that’s probably a fair summary. At the height of his career he was partly disliked due to the jealousy of colleagues as it was obvious he was Thatcher’s chosen successor. After the scandal it is understandable that some disliked him for his behaviour over the Keays affair.

    “Does show the change though that the affair completely ruined Parkinson’s political career for good, whereas his contemporaries can conduct affairs, get caught, issue some completely insincere and contrite apology and get re-elected without any problems – Caroline Noakes, John Prescott, James Gray etc”

    Again, I think that’s a fair comment in that it is easier for a politician to get away with a conventional affair these days (you could add many others to your list, notably Robin Cook). Nevertheless the Parkinson case was by no means conventional, and so it is conceivable that he may still have had to resign had he behaved the same way in 2016. The worst offence in the eyes of Tory activists and the press was that he (allegedly) promised to marry Miss Keays and broke his word. And subsequently (allegedly) he quibbled about maintenance payments for his daughter, which looked totally wrong given the circumstances and his own wealth, and seemed very unwise for someone who wanted to resurrect a top level cabinet career.

    What is certainly the case however is that, in his few months as Trade & Industry secretary, Parkinson together with Lawson laid the foundations for “Big Bang”, with the profound implications for our economy which we still very much feel today.

  42. Parkinson did if course have a brief comeback during the early days of Hague when he was made party chairman

    If my memory serves me correctly his performance was less than stellar although it was a dark and difficult times for the Tories

    And whilst the Parkinson/Keays saga might have been unusual given the allegations you pertain to – which if true cast a further shadow over Parkinson’s character – wasn’t Tim Yeo involved in something similar, although in his case its alleged he persuaded the woman to have an abortion, which is surely worst

  43. “Parkinson did if course have a brief comeback during the early days of Hague when he was made party chairman”

    I can’t imagine there was a long queue of people wanting the job at that time….perhaps he accepted to try to atone for past sins.

    “wasn’t Tim Yeo involved in something similar, although in his case its alleged he persuaded the woman to have an abortion, which is surely worst”

    I may be wrong but I think the child was born, perhaps you’re confusing Yeo and Boris? And Yeo also had to resign and unlike Parkinson didn’t make a comeback. True also that Yeo was hardly likely to be the next Prime Minister, scandal or no scandal.

  44. ‘Speaking ill of the dead in this way means you will most likely be joining them when the time comes ‘

    So those of us who have said nasty things about Adolf Hitler and Joe Stalin had better watch out!

    ‘The Parkinson/Keays affair was of its time, and is one of those things which reminds us that the Thatcher years were now a very long time ago’

    I don’t things have changed as much as is implied. Quite a few have had to resign many years later – David Mellor- Tim Yeo come to mind. The fact that a child was involved would still make his position difficult today.

  45. I personally find it quite tiresome when those on the left trot out something about Hitler and [email protected] to try to get the last word on almost any debate under the sun.

    No matter what your politics, to compare Mrs Thatcher to Hitler and Stalin is the height of absurdity.

    You’re probably right in your last point though even as recently as 1983 it was routine in society to treat illegitimate children very badly, thankfully much less so today.

  46. And remember that illegitimate were a lot less common back then. And I current trends continue, more than half of babies in the UK will be born to unmarried mothers by 2020. And changing social attitudes are still a more recent thing. When my nephew was born out of wedlock in 1992, my sister didn’t really get the best of support from my parents and it was a stark contrast to when my own children were born a decade later. But such reactions are incredibly rare now.

    Surely the most outrageous Tory sex scandal has to be the circumstances surrounding the death of Stephen Milligan. That was just bizarre. And aren’t we all forgetting John Profumo?

  47. I wish I thought that there were few people today who think of illegitimate children as they did in past generations. And I wish even more that there were fewer people who drooled over certain good-looking politicians without regard to their policies.

    Andy JS, I take your point about posting immediately after people have died but in this instance I thought important to make a point before there was a mass stampede in quite the wrong direction.

  48. Adam
    I have not changed my attitude to illegitimacy at all over the years – but I believe that the stigma should be applied to the parents and not to the innocent children. Thus, when my niece became pregnant as an unmarried mother three years ago I simply removed her as a beneficiary from my estate. Subsequently I have decided to remove as beneficiaries all those nieces /nephews who are cohabiting. Whilst no pregnancies have resulted to date fornication is almost certainly happening. I am very much of the Left, but I have no time for the collapse of moral standards that we have seen over the last 50 years or so . I disapprove of laisser-faire morality every bit as much as laisser-faire economics.

  49. I’m happily married and I’m glad we waited until marriage before having kids.

    Though I’d never dream of trying to impose my own moral choices on others like the post above.

    One thing life has taught me is that is probably a bad idea to get married too young and I’m glad I didn’t do that nor feel pressured to do so as people were in previous decades. The old fashioned shotgun marriages of pregnant 16 year olds like my grandparents’ caused a hell of a lot of misery in years gone by.

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