Kingston & Surbiton

2015 Result:
Conservative: 23249 (39.2%)
Labour: 8574 (14.5%)
Lib Dem: 20415 (34.5%)
Green: 2322 (3.9%)
UKIP: 4321 (7.3%)
TUSC: 174 (0.3%)
Others: 198 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 2834 (4.8%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Kingston upon Thames council area.

Main population centres: Kingston, Surbiton, New Malden, Berrylands, Norbiton, Tolworth.

Profile: An affluent residential south-west London seat, with a high proportion of owner-occupiers and wealthy commuters. The area is deepest suburbia, stereotypically so even - the BBC sitcom the Good Life was set in Surbiton, and the Rise and Fall of Reginal Perrin in a fictionalised south London suburb that was actually Norbiton. The semi-rural far south of the seat includes the Chessington zoo and theme park..

Politics: The seat was created in 1997 from the amalgamation of the Kingston and Surbition seats. Kingston had been represented by the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, who was forced to (eventually unsuccessfully) seek election in the alternative seat of Harrogate and Knaresborough. The seat was one of the most marginal in the country in 1997, but the Liberal Democrat Ed Davey built up a robust majority during here tenure, though not robust enough to survive the tide against the Liberal Democrats in 2015.

Current MP
JAMES BERRY (Conservative) Born Canterbury. Educated at University College London. Former lawyer. First elected as MP for Kingston & Surbiton in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 20868 (37%)
Lab: 5337 (9%)
LDem: 28428 (50%)
UKIP: 1450 (3%)
Oth: 1028 (2%)
MAJ: 7560 (13%)
Con: 16431 (33%)
Lab: 6553 (13%)
LDem: 25397 (51%)
UKIP: 657 (1%)
Oth: 712 (1%)
MAJ: 8966 (18%)
Con: 13866 (28%)
Lab: 4302 (9%)
LDem: 29542 (60%)
GRN: 572 (1%)
Oth: 811 (2%)
MAJ: 15676 (32%)
Con: 20355 (37%)
Lab: 12811 (23%)
LDem: 20411 (37%)
Oth: 618 (1%)
MAJ: 56 (0%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JAMES BERRY (Conservative) Born Canterbury. Educated at University College London. Lawyer.
LEE GODFREY (Labour) Educated at Parmiters School and Lancaster University. Energy consultant.
EDWARD DAVEY (Liberal Democrat) Born 1965, Mansfield. Educated at Nottingham High School and Oxford University. Management consultant. MP for Kingston and Surbiton 1997 to 2015. Parliamentary under-secretary for business 2010-2012. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change since 2012.
CLARE KEOGH (Green) Educated at Kingston University. University advice worker.
Comments - 286 Responses on “Kingston & Surbiton”
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  1. The result of the Berrylands ward by-election is in:
    Liberal Democrat 948
    Conservative 761
    Labour 455
    UKIP 175
    Green 112
    That doesn’t seem to bode well for the chances of the Tories depriving the LDs of control of the council, or winning outright themselves; if they can’t gain seats in this particular ward, despite a decent Labour share of the vote, they appear to be in trouble. They also failed to take the apparently very winnable, and traditionally Tory, Surbiton Hill ward next door in an earlier by-election, and no doubt Ed Davey had a smile on his face. Labour worked very hard for this result & in a ward where traditionally the party hasn’t done very well this isn’t a bad performance at all.

  2. Thank you for those results Barnaby.

    Another disappointing Tory performance here. I think it will be very tough to shift Davey if we cannot win ‘seemingly Tory’ wards back from the Lib Dems in this wedge of London.

    Labour done very well here.

  3. Surbiton Hill was in 2011 (and there was a very small swing to the Tories then) but in too by-elections in Kingston last year there was an 8% swing from LD to Conservative – in Coombe Hill (not in this seat) and in the traditionally much safer LD seat of Grove which the Tories almost gained. A swing of only half as much would have resulted in a Tory gain in Berrylands so to fall further behind must be very disappointing

  4. Our result on closer inspection is even better than I thought – more than doubled in percentage. It’s a good effort from the LDs to hold on in the face of such a good increase.

  5. The white British population of Berrylands declined from 79.8% to 69.8% between 2001 and 2011, a smaller change than for the constituency as a whole, (from 77.6% to 66.4%).

  6. Amended prediction, 2015

    Leadbetter (Con) 21,971
    *Davey (LD) 21,915
    Coleman (Lab) 8,534
    Mountshaft (UKIP) 8,415
    Parkin (Green) 1,722
    Lloyd (LS) 333

    C maj 56

  7. Now that would really be a beautiful irony

  8. You get the feeling that if Ed Davey was to retire the Tories would be strong favourites to win back the seat. Unfortunately for them he could go on representing this constituency for another 20 years.

  9. I’m not so sure. Recent LD holds in by-elections in the traditionally Tory wards of Surbiton Hill & Berrylands suggest that the Tories have some serious problems in this area.

  10. I agree with Barnaby. This isn’t the “stockbroker belt” seat it was in the 1970s and 1980s. I was visiting friends in Tolworth at the weekend and it struck me just how tatty some of the Surbiton area has become. Increasingly I think this area is becoming dominated by liberal types priced out of Richmond, and it is going to be exceptionally difficult for the Tories to win it back.

  11. One senses that Margot and Jerry would have moved out somewhere like Epsom by now.

  12. *to somewhere…

    Or perhaps deeper still into Surrey.

  13. Oh yes certainly.

    Margot would have moved to where Penelope Keith lives in real life – South West Surrey.

  14. I should make clear that I was talking about Surbiton. Kingston is a different kettle of fish and is at least in parts moving more in the Richmond direction. Broadly however the richest bits of Kingston are in Richmond Park, with the parts in this seat being those less favourable to the Tories. Had Norman Lamont’s old seat still been in existence I think the Tories would be in with a good shout of winning it back. But for this seat, being dominated by Surbiton makes it increasingly safe for the Lib Dems.

  15. That’s absolutely right. The Tories are now well ahead in the Kingston wards of Richmond Park, only one of which (Canbury) elected any LD councillors in 2010, and even he is now an Independent. Coombe Hill is particularly strong Tory territory & the LDs, uniquely in the constituency for the time being, finished behind Labour in a recent by-election there. The Tories we reckon clearly lost Tudor ward in the 1997 & 2001 general elections, but appear to have reestablished a clear lead there too. There are still some good residential areas in Kingston & Surbiton, but the classiest areas in the borough aren’t in that seat, and the sharp rise in Labour’s share of the vote in several recent by-elections (less so in Surbiton Hill, but that was the longest ago) doesn’t suggest demographic change which is going to help the Tories beat Davey. He will lose votes to Labour but the Tories will at best flatline & he will hold on. Recent by-elections bode well for Labour’s chances of regaining Norbiton ward, and there is some renewed party activity in Tolworth & Hook Rise ward as well.

  16. Lib Dem leader of the council arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography.

  17. Result, Beverley ward, 2010:

    Derek Osborne, LD: 2138*
    Trevor Heap, LD: 2081*
    Simon James, LD: 2044*
    Caroline Bowis, Con: 1738
    Darren Spraggs, Con: 1591
    Mike Head, Con: 1530
    Duncan Braithwaite, Lab: 657
    Chris Walker, Green: 581
    Roger Price, Lab: 566
    Dyan Sellayah, Lab: 474
    Valerie Hancock, Christian: 158
    David Campanale, Christian: 139
    Mark Riley, Christian: 139

  18. In reference to, Derek Osbourne, the Lib Dem Leader of The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames resignation following being arrested by the Police.

    It is not clear from the media whether he has just resigned as Lib Dem Leader or also as a councillor in Beverley Ward.

    Does anybody know if he has also resigned as a councillor?

  19. Yes Peter he has, but he did so by voicemail – therefore it isn’t effective yet. Kingston-upon-Thames Council requires resignations to be by post. He has also resigned from his party. Labour sources are pretty sure that the by-election will be on either July 25 or August 2.

  20. That is terrible. I think all town halls across the land as well as parliament could do with a good clear out.

    It looks like the Tories will have another chance to prove this seat is not completely out of our grasp.

  21. It’s not been an easy area for the Tories – you will all know that we’ve had some poor by-elections even whilst the Libs have been low in the polls since the GE.
    But I think this is a seat we would have wanted to get anyway.

    Grove was a good result though.

  22. I’ve made this point on the old site but it’s worth reminding –
    if a seat is safe then gets lost,
    I think the shell shock can do lasting damage
    more than in a seat which is known to be marginal for many years.

  23. Why are there so many councillors prosecuted for sex offences, downloading child pornography especially?

    Prosecution of councillors for these things crops up so often in the news they must have an arrest rate many times higher than the general population.

    The BNP had a bloglist of all councillors arrested for sex offences – Liars, Buggers and Thieves I think it was/is called – and the number of people on it was simply mind-boggling.

    I wonder if there’s something about those attracted to elected politics which makes them more likely to be sex offenders.

  24. Or are the police making more of an effort to arrest people in positions of responsibility?

  25. maybe they think they can hide behind their reputations

  26. Beverley Ward By Election – Likely Outcome

    Con 27%
    UKIP 23%
    Lab 18%
    Lib Dem 15%
    Green 9%
    Christian People Alliance 8%

  27. what type of people live in beverley ward

  28. HH – it really is worrying and a journalist colleague of mine is compiling some data on the subject. I’m not suggesting Rennard is as bad as Sir Cyril Smith, but the number of politicos currently going through the Criminal and Civil Courts and Tribunals for downloading child porn, historic sex offences or sexual harrassment is astounding.

  29. If you ignore your voice mail, an automated woman’s voice phones you ever hour.
    People get so used to sounding like an idiot answering the phone when it’s not a real call
    that it’s easy to go “oh *****” ” and slam the phone down not realising it’s a real call.

  30. I think Beverley Ward has the largest number of people of Korean extraction of any in the country. It combines the historical Burlington and Dickerage wards. The former had long standing Liberal traditions while the latter was Labour. It is Malden & Coombes least affluent ward and covers New Malden Town Centre (with station and former M & C Urban District Council Town Hall). It has become more affluent as higher earners have been priced out of other areas.

  31. As a former Kingston-upon-Thames councillor, surely Peter knows that it’s donkeys’ years since there was a Labour councillor anywhere in the New Malden area. Since I joined the Labour Party in 1977, there have been Labour councillors elected in Kingston, Norbiton & Tolworth, but never New Malden. I don’t think there’s been a Dickerage ward for many years either. It is correct that Burlington was a long-term Liberal/Lib Dem ward.

  32. Perhaps Peter means Cambridge ward – that was abolished in the boundary changes in 2002, but that was usually Lib Dem too.

  33. I think cambridge used to be quite tory and was an unexpected loss in 1986. Maybe labour used to be close there in the 70s. Time to go to the historical borough results website andy circulated

  34. “Or are the police making more of an effort to arrest people in positions of responsibility?”

    This may be the case. It acts as a deterrent to others I suppose. It shows that no-one is above the law, elected folk or not.

  35. I’m not sure I buy that one.

    As someone said in relation to Simon Hughes, those with sad personal lives often throw themselves into elected politics. And being in elected politics has made many personal lives sad.

    Matthew Parris says that being an MP encourages you to take silly risks in your personal life. Maybe that’s true of a council leader as well.

  36. Taking silly risks involving situations like accepting effective bribes like this recent scandal we have had or just being a shit like Yeo is very different from the malevolence of child porn.

  37. Dickerage was not abolished in 2002 but 1978. It was divided equally between Norbiton Park and Norbiton (that continued as a Labour Ward).

    The areas that went into Norbiton Park remained very Labour (though there would be more tactical voting for the Lib Dems in 1994 and 1998).

    The point that I was making is that the current Beverley Ward reflects the pre-1978 Burlington and Dickerage Ward.

    Had Dickerage continued it would have still been won by Labour in 1998 and perhaps 2002. It was the most deprived ward in the borough, poorer than Norbiton.

  38. I canvassed in some pretty deprived roads near the railway in 2011 but that was in the coombe vale by election in richmond park. The cambridge estate must be the poorest area.

  39. The Cambridge estate isn’t in the former Cambridge ward, which was very confusingly named. The estate is in Norbiton ward, or at least the great majority of it is.

  40. It is interesting to look back at the 1992 results in the areas now covered by this seat. Dick Tracey held Surbiton 54-27 over the Lib Dems while Norman Lamont held Kingston upon Thames 52-26. Therefore, my question to Barnaby (and others) is: when did you realise or begin to suspect that change was afoot?

  41. Maybe the 1994 London elections, although I haven’t checked yet.

  42. “It is interesting to look back at the 1992 results in the areas now covered by this seat. Dick Tracey held Surbiton 54-27 over the Lib Dems while Norman Lamont held Kingston upon Thames 52-26. Therefore, my question to Barnaby (and others) is: when did you realise or begin to suspect that change was afoot?”

    Kingston & Surbiton was marginally better for the Lib Dems than either the old Kingston Upon Thames (that also included Malden & Coombe) or Surbiton.

    I estimated that Norman Lamont would have held on by 700 to 800 votes in Kingston while Richard Travey would have retained Surbiton by 100 to 200.

    On the old boundaries, the Conservatives would have regained the old Kingston Upon Thames in 2010 and the Lib Dems would just have held Richmond & Barns (considering the exclusion of the 4 Northern RBK Wards and the inclusion of East Twickenham).

    The Lib Dem majority in Surbition would be 5000 – 6000 (very substantial in what was the smallest electorate in London).

  43. IIRC Norman Lamont tried hard to get selected for Kingston & Surbiton but Richard Tracey refused to budge. I wonder if Lamont might have been able to hold on or whether he would have been defeated more heavily than Tracey was.

  44. Norman Lamont higher profile may have been adventagious or detrimental…

    I think that he may have performed slightly better, and just have won by Ed Daveys slim 56 margin.

  45. I tend to agree with Peter although Tracey didn’t have a particularly bad reputation as a local MP.
    The Tory position was still so dire in 1997 – though not quite as awful as in 1995 – that it did occur to some of us that this seat could be lost. It was obvious that the Tories would suffer astonishing amounts of losses, it was only a question of how much.

  46. Thanks for the confirmation about Cambridge Estate and Norbiton Barnaby.

    Tory, I would be unwilling to admit it but I suspect that the Tories were very complacent here for many years so when the unpopularity finally arrived post 1992 they were worse placed to withstand what followed and somewhat shell shocked for many years.

    There have been some changes in the area but I suspect not as fundamental to explain the swings,

  47. Polls close in Beverley Ward at 10pm –

    Con 29%
    Lib Dem 26%
    Lab 18%
    UKIP 15%
    Green 12%

  48. Expect to see you all there later!

    Stupendous momentum!

  49. A decent prediction?
    LD 40
    CON 33
    LAB 12
    UKIP 7
    GRN 6

  50. This is the sort of thing the LDs are expert at so it would be a big surprise if they lose it.

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