Louth & Horncastle

2015 Result:
Conservative: 25755 (51.2%)
Labour: 9077 (18%)
Lib Dem: 2255 (4.5%)
Green: 1549 (3.1%)
UKIP: 10778 (21.4%)
Loony: 263 (0.5%)
Others: 659 (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 14977 (29.8%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Lincolnshire.. Includes part of the East Lindsey council area.

Main population centres: Louth, Horncastle, Mablethorpe, Manby, Spilsby, Tattershall, North Somercotes, Sutton-on-Sea.

Profile: A rural seat, covering much of the Lincolnshire Wolds and the county`s North sea coast. Settlements are mostly villages and hamlets, small market towns and seaside towns like Mablethorpe. This is an isolated and remote part of the Midlands, road links are poor and the rail lines were closed by Beeching, leaving agriculture the main industry.

Politics: A solid Conservative seat. Louth and Horncastle and its predecessors have been held by the Conservatives since before the war, mostly by Sir Peter Tapsell, the veteran MP who was father of the House before retiring in 2015.

Current MP
VICTORIA ATKINS (Conservative) Born London, daughter of Sir Robert Atkins MEP. Educated at Cambridge University. Barrister. Contested Gloucestershire police commissioner election 2012. First elected as MP for Louth & Horncastle in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 25065 (50%)
Lab: 8760 (17%)
LDem: 11194 (22%)
BNP: 2199 (4%)
Oth: 3276 (6%)
MAJ: 13871 (27%)
Con: 21744 (47%)
Lab: 11848 (25%)
LDem: 9480 (20%)
UKIP: 3611 (8%)
MAJ: 9896 (21%)
Con: 21543 (48%)
Lab: 13989 (31%)
LDem: 8928 (20%)
MAJ: 7554 (17%)
Con: 21699 (43%)
Lab: 14799 (30%)
LDem: 12207 (24%)
Oth: 1248 (2%)
MAJ: 6900 (14%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
VICTORIA ATKINS (Conservative) Born London, daughter of Sir Robert Atkins MEP. Educated at Cambridge University. Barrister. Contested Gloucestershire police commissioner election 2012.
MATTHEW BROWN (Labour) Born North East Lincolnshire. Educated at The Lindsey School and Hull University. North East Lincolnshire councillor since 2010.
LISA GABRIEL (Liberal Democrat) Contested Lincoln 1997, 2001, 2005.
COLIN MAIR (UKIP) Educated at Leeds University. Lincolnshire councillor since 2013. Contested Louth and Horncastle 2010 for the English Democrats.
DANIEL SIMPSON (Lincolnshire Independents)
PETER HILL (Loony) Retired engineer.
Comments - 146 Responses on “Louth & Horncastle”
  1. ‘Yes an MP should have local concerns at his/her core but I want national legislators who know the difference between Shi’ites and Sunnis and know which branch of Islam the Alawites are closest to. Sorry, call me old fashioned.’

    Me too, but I would dispute the implication that candidates who are from the comunity they are seeking to represent wouldn’t know the difference between Sunnis and Sh’ites

    That’s a very elitist, dare I say Cameroon, way of thinking

  2. you’d be surprised…wish it weren’t so.

  3. don’t think they were that into bob stewart, tbh..he tried a couple of times and failed…stephen philips beat him in sleaford and he was certainly not a CCHQ backed guy.

    don’t think robert atkins was that influential in louth. they’re very independent minded in lincolnshire…and if he was such a big shot, why didn’t victoria win the other selection battles she was in…?

    Victoria really can’t win, can she? if she doesn’t get a seat and tries for another, she’s a carpet bagger, and if she does win one, then daddy swung it for her…who’d be a politician?

  4. Never mind knowing the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite……remind me how influential British foreign policy is these days?

    The number one qualification for an MP nowadays should be to know the difference between deficit and debt – before we all go bust.

  5. on that …you’re right… but again, don’t want to be mean but listening to some of the scottish labour machine mps, I don’t think they’ve got much of a clue, tbh. great constituency champions though they may be…

    as liam halligan says in 6 years we’ll be like Greece, without the weather.

  6. Or the food.

    It’s comforting to have a business which mostly trades overseas in these uncertain times, though it won’t be if Labour suddenly decide to re-impose capital controls

  7. ‘Victoria really can’t win, can she? if she doesn’t get a seat and tries for another, she’s a carpet bagger, and if she does win one, then daddy swung it for her?’

    I just think it’s quite arrogant, especially at a relatively young age, to attempt to get selected in an area which you have no connections to whatsoever

    Atkins is far from unique in her approach – wannabe MPs from all parties do it – but I can undetstand why it would rancour with better-qualified local candidates

  8. TJ- I just don’t get this at all…most of the really effective politicians we’ve had these last 100 years have a) got into the house of commons young (generally, before 35) and b) have represented areas for which they have had very tenuous connections….

    Now you can say all this is wrong. I am just saying that if you don’t have separation of powers like you have in the US, you will get ambitious people trying to get into the house of commons whichever way they can. this is how the system has worked historically, and this is how it works now, though to a lesser extent, as local candidates are probably selected more commonly than in the past….

    The constituencies decide…the “better qualified local candidates” often do well in conservative contests…i can think of quite a few who have been selected – NE Hampshire, South Suffolk, Thirsk and Malton- and in some areas, less local candidates have been selected as in this case…

    dunno what all the gripe and the fuss is about really….as i have said ad nauseam the only way you’re going to get all 650 MPs with antecedent local links is if you fully divorce the house of commons, the legislature, from the the government, the executive, as in the US.

    Funnily enough you have crazier fits with MPs and constituencies in the labour party than among the tories…what the miliband bros. affinity was with Doncaster and South Shields i have zero idea. or Mandelson and Hartlepool, or Luciana Berger and Liverpool, or Tristram Hunt in Stoke on Trent…

    I think it’s ok, to be honest…..Winston Churchill sat for Dundee (among others), Margaret Thatcher sat for Finchley, and Roy Jenkins sat for Birmingham…all great parliamentarians and leading figures. I actually like our parliamentary traditions and don’t buy the modern notion that MPs are all carpet bagging swindlers in it for the money….

  9. I agree totally with Peter. A ‘we only like local people’ attitude would in practice do more harm than good to our politics, in my humble opinion.

  10. You misunderstand me Peter

    Of course all MPs can’t be from the constituency they represent but it looks very opportunistic indeed when you apply for every safe Tory seat with an upcoming vacancy

    Maybe Atkins really is that good – and she will have every opportunity to prove so in the next Parliament

    You’re totally right, Labour probably do have MPs with even more tenius links to the seats they represent, but I’m still surprised that in today’s day and age when being constiutency focussed is so in vogue for an MP, people would opt for an outsider who seems determined to get to the Commons by any available route

  11. I agree with Peter. There are only so many constituencies you can ever be ‘local’ for. Where you grew up? Where you duly attend a family? I grew up in a safe Tory seat where the MP won’t stand down for 20 year. I now love in a safe Labout seat that that won’t see a vacancy for ages. You many be really lucky and at the first opportunity bag the safe seat you live in but if you don’t what do you do? Say you’ll never be an MP & find a totally different job/career path? I think that’s a bit harsh. I’ve done enough job interviewing where on a certain day someone gets a job that on another day, against another opponent they wouldn’t. If people really want to be an MP, let the interview panel/open primary make their decision.

  12. anyway, it’s an interesting discussion. I know that Hattersley tried for 25 seats before getting selected. He was a distinguished MP. I think Michael Howard tried 42!

  13. I’d consider local (broadly speakly) is within a two-seat radius of where you grew up, currently live, have previously lived for a significant period of time or where you work. That for most people gives a couple of dozen potential seats and not all of them are totally safe.

    Not of course that being local should be a requirement, I tend to agree that while it may be electorally successful it doesn’t necessarily mean a good MP.

  14. Something completely unrelated now-
    The Lib Dem candidate here has been exactly the same at the last four general elections (1997-2010)- Fiona Martin. She has been for a very long time a councillor locally in East Lindsey.
    There can’t be too many seats where an unsuccessful Lib Dem candidate for one particular seat has been the same for the last FOUR general elections- the only other ones I can instantly think of right now are Martin Garnett in Erewash and Chris Bramall in Stourbridge.

  15. Andrew De Freitas in Grimsby springs to mind (although I had to check he had indeed stood in the last four elections – if you can ‘instantly’ recall the Lib Dem candidates from Erewash and Stourbridge and know they have stood at four consecutive elections, then you probably need to get out more)

  16. That’s a bit harsh Pete.

  17. Total agree with TR. After all, going on this forum is a bit geeky to say the least 😉

  18. Thanks Jim. It probably is, yes, but that doesn’t really make any difference to me!

  19. I believe Adrian Collett has been the Lib Dem candidate for Aldershot for the last four general elections.

  20. Of course John cheers. In fact Adrian Collett is interesting in that he’s been the candidate there FIVE elections in a row since 1992!

    I think I’ve neraly got the full list of unsuccessful Lib Dem candidates who have stood in the same seat at the last four general elections-
    1. Martin Garnett (Erewash)
    2. Chris Bramall (Stourbridge)
    3. Andrew De Freitas (Great Grimsby)
    4. Fiona Martin (Louth and Horncastle)
    5. Adrian Collett (Aldershot)

    There are some other interesting cases where Lib Dem candidates have stood in every election since 1992 or 1997 in more than one seat- Ronald Beadle for example stood in Gateshead East in 1992, Sedgefield in 1997, Gateshead East and Washington West in 2001, and Newcastle upon Tyne North in 2005 and 2010. So in his case he’s contested two seats twice, which is rare for a candidate of any major political party. Others have stood at the last three general elections in the same seat, such as Derek Deedman in Arundel and South Downs, who also contested Gravesham in 1992.

  21. I’ll chime in with my two cents worth on the local candidate issue.

    I think being local can be an advantage, especially if you have been/are a councillor in your local area. It may also help to engage more people in politics. I know in Thurrock a fair amount of people who have not voted for years came out to vote for UKIP in the European elections because one of the candidates was from a Thurrock village (amongst other reasons).

    However there are many occasions where there may not be good enough candidates locally or the association want a fresh face to stoke up interest in the residents so they pick an outsider. In many cases the Tories tend to match people to safe seats better than Labour. As long as such candidates share the same outlook, concerns and vision as the electorate that they want to represent then I think that it shouldn’t matter whether they are local. Priti Patel is a good example of someone not local chiming well with her constituents.

  22. What is in a way ironic about non-local MPs is that although they come in from elsewhere at first, I guess you could say that if they’ve been there in the constituency after being first elected for about 10-20 they probably do become local MPs, by virtue of living in the seat, which always helps.

    There are Conservative MPs still around who come from, were born and brought up in the seat they represent- Kenneth Clarke, Andrew Rosindell, David Burrowes to name three. I think a lot of MPs elected in marginal seats tend to be local and sometimes local councillors, whereas in safe seats there’s more of a chance that they’ll have come from elsewhere, and if they were a councillor, it was somewhere else.

  23. Another Lib Dem who has stood in a few seats over the years, is Graham Oakes-
    1992- Exeter
    2001- Wells
    2005- South Dorset-
    2010- Exeter (Again)

  24. Regarding Mr. de Freitas, he also stood as the Liberal candidate in the 1977 by-election for this seat, and every time he has stood for the Liberal Democrats in this seat in general election, he has increased the Lib Dem vote (even if only by 0.3% in 2005) in a seat pretty unfavourable to them.

  25. I meant the seat of Great Grimsby (with reference to Andrew de Freitas).

  26. Chris Noyce has stood four times in Harrow West- 1992, 2001, 2005 and 2010.

    Lorna Spenceley has stood for the Lib Dems somewhere five times in a row- Harlow from 1992 to 2005, and then North East Cambridgeshire in 2010.

  27. prediction for 2015-

    con- 42%
    UKIP- 23%
    Lab- 19%
    Lib- 14%
    others- 2%

  28. Hi, im new to this page….always time for a newbee, and I have read the comments so far up to this one……


    Easy. CCHQ are the ones who draw up the final shortlist of 4. They make sure that 3 are useless or completely unsuitable so that the local members have no choice but to select the favoured candidate.

    July 29th, 2014 at 10:09 am


    CCHQ do not draw up the final 4. How do I know this? Because as a member of the local party, I was elected to the sifting committee of 5 to draw up 10 names each out of 75 applications. Then to have a meeting of the local association members to take those 50 down to the top 10 of our choice. To then invite to an interview of our Executive Committee plus 4 members of the community picked by local branches in each part of the consitutency to sift down to the final 4. Then to put the final 4 in front of an audience of both members and the general public who then vote on who will be the candidate.

    I don’t see where CCHQ have had any say in that whatsoever. With regards to another comment on here…. As for Victoria being an opportunist, don’t ever kick someone down because of what they want to achieve. She clearly feels she can do good serving the public and Louth and Horncastle in parliament and the community took her at her word and gave her the honour of running for the seat. She was chosen by the local people fair and square. Now I will hear no more about the matter!

  29. How concerned are you about the UKIP challenge in this constituency?

  30. ‘don’t ever kick someone down because of what they want to achieve’

    That’s one of the most ludicrous comments I’ve ever heard – especially in the world of politics

  31. Probably one of the most lethargy-inducing articles ever written:


    “Victoria Atkins, the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives in Louth and Horncastle is to visit Horncastle, party sources have revealed.

    The Gloucestershire-based criminal barrister will have a walkabout in the town centre, before visiting the community centre in the afternoon.”

  32. There’s a weekly feature on Radio Five Live – I think it’s on Al Murray’s show – called Not News, and this so-called story would be a good candidate for inclusion in it.

  33. Such a programme almost seems otiose given the proliferation of manufactured stories in the regular press…

  34. UKIP will be helped a lot by the Conservative choice of candidate here. I am sure that Mrs Atkins is a perfectly lovely lady, but being resident in a completely different national region to Louth and Horncastle will not help her chances at all given that this is a very insular and isolated constituency.

    UKIP’s candidate on the other hand is local, and his county council role probably gives him a sizeable local profile.

  35. It would be better I think to be completely invisible as a candidate than to have stories like this where the local party makes a big fanfare of their candidate visiting the constituency to do some kind of walkabout.

  36. where did sir peter live?

  37. I know this area a bit – my grandpa lives here (and was actually asked to be the Liberal candidate a couple of times in the 60s or 70s, I believe, given he had a fair bit of local profile at the time, though he never did so).

    It seems a bit too cottage-and-farm rural for UKIP to be able to break it in 2015 – the towns are a bit less run down than in Boston & Skegness, and there are a lot of pretty little rural villages that will be pretty solid for the Tories. I’m sure UKIP should be aiming at second place here, but I’m not sure this is ideal territory for them.

  38. @Andy JS, that’s quite funny. A Royal walkabout… and didn’t they call Blair’s election as leader a ‘coronation’?

  39. Conservative Hold. 13,000 majority. Labour 2nd.

  40. One less Liberal voter in this constituency; my Grandfather sadly passed away at the weekend. 🙁

    The last few months have definitely been an education in how stretched care services are in rural areas. The main issue is in the fact that some times of day are much busier than others, so there’s nowhere near enough manpower (either in caring at home, which we got sorted for him, or in the care homes) to get everyone up at a sensible time, so elderly people often either end up being got up at 6am or being given incontinence pads and left in bed until eleven. Neither is particularly pleasant or dignified. The local government funding squeeze is very obvious too, with them often unable to assign a social worker for many weeks after one is initially supposed to be involved. I’m not sure what the answer is for the care sector, but it does concern me that it really doesn’t seem to be on the agenda at all despite the fact that it is rapidly and blatantly obvious that the system is stretched to (indeed beyond) the limit.

  41. Victoria Atkins had a very good result here with incumbency.

  42. Former Father of the House Peter Tapsell has died.

  43. Something of an enigma being a staunchley eurosceptic yet firmly one-nation Tory MP


  44. A superb parliamentarian


  45. Victoria Atkins has been told by her Conservative association to tell May to resign. I wonder if she will.

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