Maidenhead

2015 Result:
Conservative: 35453 (65.8%)
Labour: 6394 (11.9%)
Lib Dem: 5337 (9.9%)
Green: 1915 (3.6%)
UKIP: 4539 (8.4%)
Independent: 162 (0.3%)
Others: 55 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 29059 (54%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Berkshire. The western part of the Windsor and Maidenhead council area and part of the Wokingham council area to the east of Reading.

Main population centres: Maidenhead, TWyford, Bray, Wargrave, Cookham.

Profile: The constituency consists of the town of Maidenhead itself, an affluent town on the Thames with strong high-tech and pharmaceutical industries, but also stretches south-west to include a swathe of countryside right up to the suburbs of Reading. The seat includes the villages of Cookham, Wargrave, Twyford and Bray - now best known as the location of Heston Blumenthal`s restaurant The Fat Duck, named as the best restaurant in the world in 2005.

Politics: Affluent and middle class, politically Maidenhead has been Conservative since it was split off from the equally Conservative Windsor and Maidenhead seat in 1997. In 2001 the majority fell to just over 3,000 and the seat was supposedly one of those where the Liberal Democrats attempted to "decapitate" leading Conservative politicians. In the event the Conservative majority doubled and with beneficial boundaries charges for the Tories in 2005 it is increasingly safe.


Current MP
THERESA MAY (Conservative) Born 1956, Eastbourne. Educated at Holton Park Girls Grammar and Oxford University. Former financial consultant. Merton councillor 1986-1994. Contested North West Durham 1992, Barking 1994 by-election. First elected as MP for Maidenhead in 1997. Shadow education secretary 1999-2001, shadow transport secretary 2001-2002, Chairman of the Conservative party 2002-2004, shadow family secretary 2004-2005, shadow culture secretary 2005, shadow leader of the Commons 2005-2009, shadow work and pensions secretary 2009-2010. Home Secretary since 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 31937 (59%)
Lab: 3795 (7%)
LDem: 15168 (28%)
UKIP: 1243 (2%)
Oth: 1577 (3%)
MAJ: 16769 (31%)
2005*
Con: 23312 (51%)
Lab: 4144 (9%)
LDem: 17081 (37%)
BNP: 704 (2%)
Oth: 609 (1%)
MAJ: 6231 (14%)
2001
Con: 19506 (45%)
Lab: 6577 (15%)
LDem: 16222 (37%)
UKIP: 741 (2%)
Oth: 272 (1%)
MAJ: 3284 (8%)
1997
Con: 25344 (50%)
Lab: 9205 (18%)
LDem: 13363 (26%)
Oth: 1339 (3%)
MAJ: 11981 (24%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
THERESA MAY (Conservative) See above.
CHARLES SMITH (Labour) Educated at Warwick University. Solicitor.
ANTHONY HILL (Liberal Democrat) Former headteacher. Contested Maidenhead 2010.
HERBIE CROSSMAN (UKIP) Security consultant. Harrow councillor 1994-1998 for the Liberal Democrats. Contested Harrow West 1997 for the Referendum party, Haltemprice and Howden 2008 by-election as Independent, Harrow West 2010 for UKIP.
EMILY BLYTH (Green) Musician.
JOE WILCOX (Class War)
IAN TAPLIN (Independent)
Links
Comments - 1,077 Responses on “Maidenhead”
  1. @H.Hemmelig

    I assume you don’t mean Leadsom, who is a deeply unserious politician without the intellect and, it would seem (considering some of the ‘interesting’ way she has burnished her CV) character for a major job.

    Indeed she only seems to be prominent because she once gave a couple of interviews on Brexit that were not complete disasters. I would reckon that to be a pretty flimsy basis for a leadership bid, but I think the Tory membership are sufficiently lacking in judgement that they might commit suicide by picking her.

    And mark my words, post Brexit, the Tories could well be one unsuitable leader away from absolute disintegration.

  2. “…had the members vote gone ahead she may well have been defeated by Leadsom….(the party bigwigs knew this which is why they had to get rid of Leadsom from the contest by dirty means).”

    The only polling that I am aware of showed May leading Leadsom by 63% to 31% among party members per the YouGov poll linked below. I therefore find it strange if anyone thought it likely that Leadsom would win; and if there’s any polling other polling evidence for that conclusion, I’d be interested to see it.

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/date/2016/07/page/2

  3. James E

    “The only polling that I am aware of showed May leading Leadsom by 63% to 31% among party members per the YouGov poll linked below”

    And when the General Election was called May was 20% ahead in the polls! Having seen what an awful campaigner she was it’s quite possible the contest could have swung the other way. The party establishment was keen that it didn’t get off the ground. May was very vulnerable on her nasty party comments, on being a remainer, and on her immigration record at the home office

    “I assume you don’t mean Leadsom, who is a deeply unserious politician without the intellect and, it would seem (considering some of the ‘interesting’ way she has burnished her CV) character for a major job.”

    I wasn’t arguing that she would be a good leader, I’m arguing that she might have been able to win a leadership contest, doubly so now we can see how bad a campaigner May is.

  4. I don’t know the official stats, but David Cameron started off a long way behind David Davis, and Iain Duncan Smith started off a long way behind Ken Clarke.

  5. @ HH

    Fair point that she managed to squander a big GE polling lead, but as I’ve pointed out before, the swing in the GE campaign was ‘only’ around 6%, taking the Conservatives’ average polling lead down from 18-20% to a final pre-election figure of 7%. May can’t be blamed for the pollsters’ decision to weight their figures in ways which understated the Labour vote.

    And I’d be surprised too of many senior Tories anticipated just what a poor campaigner she’s prove to be particularly in comparison to Leadsom.

  6. Who could forget that massive ‘Leadsom for leader’ demo?
    🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy3AO-0WmZk

  7. I actually agree with HH. I think that Leadsom had a very serious chance of winning that leadership contest once things that got going. Whilst she is pretty phenomenally untalented, Leadsom is at least somewhat better at appearing ‘human’. Hence the glorious stitch up ( in cahoots with The Tines) by the men in grey suits.

  8. …once things had got going.

  9. We should treasure every batshit crazy second of that manic post-referendum period. The Leadsom march was a thing of beauty but my personal favourite moment was Angela Eagle mocking Boris Johnson, thanking God that his career was finished… only to be told that he had just been made Foreign Secretary.

  10. It was an insane period. Just way too much ‘news’, even for a news junkie such as myself.

    The Leadsom match was deeply odd, as was her resignation statement. Leadsom herself looked kind of relieved it was all over, but her ‘supporters’ were a picture of seething stone- faced resentment.

  11. Oh yes i forgot about that that was quite funny

  12. Have to echo Tim Jones view – May’s manner in the hours after the campaign lost her any sympathy I might have otherwise felt

    And I say all this as somebody petriefied by now increasinly forseeable idea of Corbyn becoming PM, and saddling the country with debt as it starts to feel the disaatrous effects of Brexit

    And it will happen sooner rather than later if May doesn’t get the boot pretty quickly

  13. And i cant see the Tories voting for Leadsome not only is she every bit as cold and unpersonablr as May but she also stands accused of doctoring her CV and supporting despite describing it earlier as one of ‘the maddest ideas ever’

    Had the Tories voted for her i think we might already have a Corbyn governmemt

  14. Some may find it surprising that I actually did (and still do) feel quite sorry for May which I also find slightly baffling myself since so much about her seemed to be designed to make me hate her (her commitment to hard Brexit for careerist reasons, her cynical attempt to destroy Labour, her inherent authoritarian streak, the contempt in which she showed the electorate etc)

    I think my sympathy of May is that I actually see something of myself in her. At the risk of sounding like an armchair psychologist I feel that behind the cold robotic exterior and stern demeanour there was a pretty decent, down to earth person, yes one that was undoubtedly very reserved, perhaps even quite shy and anxious and probably more than a little bit weird/quirky but not in a bad way by any means but that self perception that their true personality is “weird” has drove her to hide behind an emotionless veil of professionalism. Many seem to see her reliance on just two advisors as a sign of contempt for others opinions or a paranoid lack of trust, I feel it more likely it was a symptom of May’s inability to easily connect with people which no doubt stems from her shyness.

    I also see the whole election as something she was probably pressured into, having for years been the forgotten brains of the operation she saw a chance for her to shine for a change, to become leader and then hold an election in which she would win decisively and finally be respected amongst her peers, not to stoke a giant ego as is the case with most politicians, instead to boost what probably amounted to a quite fragile level of self belief.

    Yet having failed (primarily due to the very personality deficits mentioned earlier) she has been nationally humiliated and is presently being used as a human shield, her few allies having been symbolically and publically lynched and her rivals circling. The greatest irony of this is that if May is truly anything like how I’ve just described her then she will no doubt feel vindicated, her normal level of caution, her lack of trust and her lack of self confidence briefly lifted by the persuasion of others but rather than acting as the catalyst for her own blooming, for the emergence from her shell it only served as a warning as to why she should never leave it. With this in mind I fully expect that when May is disposed she will resign as an MP too and totally retreat from public life, she’ll probably become the lowest profile past PM we’ve ever had.

  15. Rivers: Not only do I agree with every word you’ve just written, but I was actually smiling as I read that. It’s genuinely heartening to know that there’s at least one person out there who’s able to sympathise with an ideological opponent.

    Shyness is something of a taboo subject nowadays, chiefly because modern society expects us to be indefatigably sociable. In a more reverential era it might not have been a crippling flaw for a Prime Minister, but these days is just looks as if you’re too detached from the electorate you are supposed to represent. The fact that Theresa May is one of the few politicians who doesn’t use Twitter speaks volumes.

  16. ‘Shyness is something of a taboo subject nowadays, chiefly because modern society expects us to be indefatigably sociable. In a more reverential era it might not have been a crippling flaw for a Prime Minister, but these days is just looks as if you’re too detached from the electorate you are supposed to represent. ‘

    Putting the media to one side, the job of Prime Minster is one that anyone who is genuinely shy would run a mile from. It’s ludicrous to suggest that someone shy would do a job that entails that much scrutiny, criticism and attention

    Hemmelig’s rundown of May’s tenure as an MP (an early moderniser who then dropped it for careerist reasons and left it to others like Cameron to tell their party what it needed to be told) is bang on the money, which suggests to me that much like Cameron (although in a markedly different style), May doesn’t really have any grand ideological vision

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing – her stint in the Home Office suggested competent administrative abilities. But you need more than that to be an effective PM, one of the toughest jobs in the country – and besides her record of late suggests anything but competence, which leaves her with few selling points left

  17. Rivers- your analysis is very good. As a shy and introverted person myself, I have cringed at times at some of May’s awkwardness, as I recognise that behaviour in myself at times. But, as Tim rightly points out, it’s kind of her own fault/ problem. She should have recognised beforehand that her shortcomings- so to speak- would make her rather unsuited to being PM at this point in time.

    I’m not saying that shy people cannot achieve great success, but as a PM in 2017? Doubtful.

  18. Polltroll/Tristan
    I’m glad you both appreciated my post, I agree with you both totally regarding how these days shyness is not a trait a successful PM can exhibit, the days of shy PM’s like Atlee or Macmillan have long gone and in this mass media driven world of soundbytes and style over substance a more softly spoken individual is destined to fail which is another irony of this election in that upon his election it was Corbyn who was deemed the softly spoken one (compared to Cameron) but against May he became the flash man.

    I also agree though that she does have herself to blame in many respects. She surely must have realised the advice she was being given by Crosby et al were not playing to her strengths. She needed to realise what got her as far as it did, she was very much a substance over style character so why did she try to run with the same approach as Cameron (style over substance) she should have had the strength to call a stop to it and run a campaign she was more comfortable with.

  19. She surely must have realised the advice she was being given by Crosby et al were not playing to her strengths.’

    One of the best things about the election result is that it’s tarnished, if not outright ruined, the careers of right-wing pollsters like Crosby and Jim Messina, the latter who apparently chucked when somebody suggested a couple of days prior to polling day he was told the Tories might not win an overall majority

    I hope its the last we see of either of them in the UK

  20. Crosby has had his fair share of electoral failures well before 2017 – including Michael Howard in 2005, John Howard in 2007 and Zac Goldsmith in 2016….he’ll be back.

  21. I was thinking he must be up for retirement soon, but Crosby is only 60!! Rough as guts. He looks about 10 years older.

  22. I thought the discussion about shyness and politics is one of the most interesting I have seen in a while on this thread.

    I think modern celebrity culture and the general political climate has never been less suited for shy people to get to the top of politics. In a traditional, parliamentary system, in a deferential age, the likes of Attlee, Heath, Gordon Brown and Theresa May could be more effective than is the case today.

    If you look abroad, the big stars of modern politics, Clinton, Blair, Macron, Trump and Corbyn are people who are not afraid of crowds. In the case of Macron, Trump and Corbyn, these people love crowds, they respond to the adulation and applause. Boris Johnson also has this quality.

    The idea that Theresa May could generate this type of enthusiasm was always very unlikely. What has been surprising is how she has been punished for lacking any form of extrovert charisma whatsoever.

    It seems a mystery that she should ever have put herself up for leadership of a major democracy in the 21st century, but there is no accounting for people’s ambition, even if they are manifestly unsuited to the posts on which their ambitions are set.

  23. Interesting re: Corbyn. Prior to the election, I’d never considered whether he was an ‘introvert’, ‘extrovert’ etc. But he clearly does enjoy attention and seems to thrive and gain energy from being with other people…classic extrovert traits. He also seemed very comfortable in his own skin.

    Having said all of this, I still think the UK respects individuality of character, and will be happy with less extrovert leaders again in the future.

  24. I consider myself an introvert, and I would never put myself in the kind of situation May has. I would loathe the attention!

  25. Our last king had quite serious issues with the public eye. I think its been quite clear from early on corbyn likes the admiration but he doesnt like journalists or members of the public asking about the IRA, etc. He doesnt come across overly confident like most people we get annoyed at, charlie sheen and that.

  26. Charlie Sheen? Interesting example. I think since his health issues have become public news he’s toned down his shtick significantly. Prior to that he was unbearable I agree.

  27. In my line of work there is a lot of very interesting discussion on how society has made it harder to be shy and/or introverted.

    Almost all the ways we examine public success assume some measure of extroversion. I recently read a very good interview with the England quick bowler Katherine Brunt (hopefully shortly to be World Cup winner Katherine Brunt, along with her splendid team-mates). Brunt is very much an introvert and has been extremely candid about how hard she has found life at times and how cricket has helped her. She’s a remarkable and admirable woman but it does demonstrate how hard it is for an introvert to be in the public eye.

    I suspect May is both introverted and extremely driven and that creates a good deal of tension. As someone with pretty much that personality myself I do empathise a little but like many of the rest of this discussion, I would never put myself in the position she got into in the first place (although I do a lot of public speaking in my line of work).

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