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
Con: 31937 (59%)
Lab: 3795 (7%)
LDem: 15168 (28%)
UKIP: 1243 (2%)
Oth: 1577 (3%)
MAJ: 16769 (31%)
Con: 23312 (51%)
Lab: 4144 (9%)
LDem: 17081 (37%)
BNP: 704 (2%)
Oth: 609 (1%)
MAJ: 6231 (14%)
Con: 19506 (45%)
Lab: 6577 (15%)
LDem: 16222 (37%)
UKIP: 741 (2%)
Oth: 272 (1%)
MAJ: 3284 (8%)
Con: 25344 (50%)
Lab: 9205 (18%)
LDem: 13363 (26%)
Oth: 1339 (3%)
MAJ: 11981 (24%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

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)
Comments - 1,279 Responses on “Maidenhead”
  1. I think much depends on how the MPs whittle down the final candidates.

    Of course party activists aren’t particularly representative of the typical party voter – listen to a Labour voter up in Yorkshire and they’re more likely to be aligned to someone like John Mann politically (ignoring accents) than Jeremy Corbyn or Emily Thornberry.

    Someone like Esther McVey (an extreme example) would secure a higher vote share among activists than her parliamentary colleagues… and few people would prefer Nicky Morgan over JRM – as was the case for a select committee position.

  2. Well, we could well be headed for a scenario where the MPs’ rounds are more about trying to exclude dangerous candidates than actually supporting credible ones. Which would result in a highly unpredictable tactical clusterf*ck.

    And remember, MPs only have a chance to present two credible candidates to members if at least two credible candidates run. By the time the contest rolls round, if the Tories are in a mid-term slump, trailing by 10-15 points in the polls, the leadership might become a poisoned chalice that only the headbangers are particularly interested in.

  3. Zac Goldsmith?

  4. You know, I really don’t think someone like Zac actually would want to be Prime Minister.

    Also don’t think he has much of a base among Tory members (or, given his costly by-election stunt, among MPs). The less extreme members of the party are put off by the way he ran his mayoral campaign, and the more traditional Tories are put off by the “green crap”.

  5. POLLTROLL – Probably true, which is what makes me think that his “green crap” is just that- crap. Why would a genuine environmentalist put up with being in a party like the tory party, which runs against everything environmentalists stand for?

  6. Or you could look at it another way and ask what does he stand to gain by pretending to be green when he’s not? I wouldn’t have thought that adopting that sort of image would be of any help, either in terms of achieving advancement or influence within the Conservative Party or performing well among the wider electorate as a Conservative candidate.

  7. Because, Eco, there are other political issues than the environment, and because environmentalism is not really a defining issue that separates political parties in this country – it’s the economy, stupid! Even your own Green Party, founded to champion environmental causes, spend as much time talking about the economy or foreign policy as they do green policies. Zac Goldsmith is in the Conservative Party because it is clearly the best fit for him, even if the fit still isn’t perfect. Parties which aspire to government have to be broad churches.

  8. Incidentally, the wider environmental movement should be a broad church, too. It shouldn’t reject people because they are insufficiently left-wing in other areas. The LGBT movement, for example, has set back the fight against transphobia significantly by distancing itself from Caitlyn Jenner, the world’s most famous transsexual, when it turned out she was a Republican. She could have sold trans rights to a constituency that many of her allies could not reach. This kind of action keeps trans rights as an issue solely for the left, and as long as it stays like that then big chunks of society are going to ignore or actively defy it.

    This is an even bigger issue for climate change, because it is a problem that requires universal action. And not just universal action in one country, which could be enforced by legislation, but action on a worldwide scale – greenhouse gases don’t respect international borders. If the left keeps the issue to themselves, they will never build the sort of consensus required to defeat the problem.

  9. The question of whether green politics inevitably involves taking a left of centre stance on the big issues of tax and spend is an interesting one.

    I’ve been doing some work recently partly using data from the Manifesto Project. That involves an international selection of academics coding the text of party manifestos in order to try and pinpoint their political position, including where they sit on a general left-right axis. The methodology is (shall we say) hotly contested, but nevertheless I think the work still has some value. The work can be viewed here:

    The data suggests that on this measure the Green manifesto for the 2015 UK GE is the most left wing of those put forward by any party in a UK election this century (none of the 2017 manifestos have yet been coded). Moreover that the manifesto is towards the left of spectrum when comparing the manifestos of ecologist parties from around the world published this century and included in the analysis. It also suggests that there are very few examples of ecologist parties putting our manifestos classed as right of centre.

    For comparison (and to provide an indication that the Manifesto Project ratings are not total nonsense) the most left wing post WW2 UK manifestos are the Labour ones from the Feb 1974 and 1983 elections, while the most right wing are UKIP’s 2001 effort and the Conservative ones from 1983 and 1987. I’d guess most people wouldn’t find any of those that surprising.

  10. “It also suggests that there are very few examples of ecologist parties putting our manifestos classed as right of centre.”

    As I have posted here in the past till I’m blue in the face, the embryonic Green party in the UK was so right wing at its beginning in the 1970s it was borderline fascist. Ironically under the leadership of Zac Goldsmith’s uncle Teddy. It focused very much on overpopulation being responsible for environmental despoliation, and its policies touched worryingly into eugenics and extreme population control…their views on immigration made Enoch Powell look like a liberal. They disavowed the concept of constant economic growth in a reactionary Downton Abbey kind of way.

    I remain of the view that there remains a potentially sizeable right of centre market for a Green party in rural Tory areas if it focused on excessive development/house building, sustainable farming, environmental protection and checking the relentless growth of population. That isn’t at all today’s Green party though.

  11. It would be interesting if the people working on the Manifesto Project did try to code some of those older UK Green manifestos. Unfortunately to date the 2015 one is the only one that they have looked at.

    Manifestos from continental European ecological parties going back several decades are however included.

  12. H.HEMMELIG – That is misleading (and a bit harsh!) “The People Party” was a precursor to The Ecology Party, but it wasn’t really recognisable compared to what followed soon after. Even by the 1979 Election (the first where there was any real test of The Ecology Party) it much more closely resembled the current Green Party of today that those early 70s People’s Party offerings.

    This is another example of right and left not being great terms to describe the political spectrum (or perhaps better, spectra). The “right-wing” policies of those early Greens focussed very much on immigration and population control, both issues which actually go against economically right-wing politics. Also, let’s be honest – population growth is ultimately the biggest threat to the planet, and the only ways to control it humanely are through big government, state intervention, protectionism etc. So the solutions (such as there are) are broadly left wing, but with a real risk that they could slip into totalitarianism, which is why I think it is essential that the Green movement remains democratic and focussed on social justice.

    Population growth is a real headache for us Greens, though. I once spoke to Natalie Bennett about it- her stance was what you’d expect (education reduces birth rates, fairness internationally, and getting renewables working increases the earth’s capacity for humanity(though that isn’t the reason we should do it, of course!!)), but she acknowledged that none of these things would ultimately remove the risk of exponential population growth.

    Only Greens get asked such difficult questions, of course, which is one of the reasons why short-term right wing politics seems so popular!

  13. I think the reason they get asked (and why they are difficult to answer) is because of the party having a steadfast support for FOM.

    Not saying that is a bad thing, but on the one hand you passionately care about the environment, a most noble cause, and on occasion protest against things like infrastructure, whilst at the same time there is a huge housing shortage made worse year on year by an influx of 250k+ new arrivals from the EU and beyond.

    I very much doubt that in the near future we will see negative net migration, despite our economy being underwhelming and penalising ambition through excessive taxation of low and medium income people, and small businesses, people still want to come and work here.

    And thus the question remains unanswered.

    It is unfair that the greens seem to be the worst victim though, the only party who has really answered the question in any coherent way (disagree with them all you like) is UKIP.

  14. LUKE SENIOR – My point is that it goes much deeper than just “you want to protect the environment, yet are happy if more people come from lower-carbon-footprint-countries to burn more resources here”. I don’t actually think a Green Government would in practice have a radically different immigration policy to, say, a Labour one. It is the depressing reality that we really are in the midst of a Great Extinction Event, caused by us, and that the easy answers are distinctly unpalatable.

    “despite our economy being underwhelming and penalising ambition through excessive taxation of low and medium income people”

    Dear, oh dear, oh deary me…..

  15. So you think our economy functions well and that people at the bottom are fairly taxed? Both direct and indirect taxation?

  16. LUKE SENIOR – No, but I would question your emphasis!

  17. On the original point, though, AC Grayling is as brilliant as ever here: we need more of this, but unfortunately simple lies are much more marketable than complex and depressing truths:

    We need to make democracy work in the fight to save the planet

  18. “We need to reform democracy to save the planet”.

    The world’s most polluting state, responsible for 30% of global carbon emissions, has yet to embrace democracy at all. So good luck with that.

    This is the problem – you have to reform every state individually, or at least USA + EU + BRICS, to really get a grip on climate change, and even then as poorer nations develop they will cause problems down the line. You have to reform dozens of individual states to even try dealing with climate change, and there’s always the risk that one or two will elect a Donald Trump figure, pull out, and set off a chain of dominoes where other countries give up too.

    You’re going to hate me for saying this, but there is an alternative – you can reform one global market. That’s going to be extremely difficult too, but we are already seeing with electric cars, for example, that the car manufacturers seem to be running somewhat ahead of governments on this issue. Volvo is going to stop producing petrol cars in 2019. Michael Gove is happy to wait until 2040. It looks like the market has a better chance of saving us than any government could.

  19. “Leaders are reluctant to burden business with extra costs on emissions and other good environmental practices, lest they damage the economy, and again in consequence lose office. Tyrants have no such anxieties: they worry only about the assassin or eventual rebellion.”

    Grayling has a very naive model of how autocracy works. For example, the Chinese leadership is TERRIFIED of an economic slowdown. Terrified.

  20. I agree with Polltroll, markets usually do things better than governments do.

    I’m enthusiastically in favour of measures to help the environment – ideally without horrid turbines going up everywhere, but it is easy for people who are cynical about it to reach the conclusion that they are just going to be loaded with additional tax burdens whilst subsidies are given to rich land owners to have turbines on their property.

    I’d be quite happy for free electric, personally 😉

    At times the left act as footsoldiers for the enemy – the multinationals, corporates etc and it makes me go blue in the face!

    Going back to the above point, people can’t buy gas guzzling cars if they aren’t available… once the emerging economies develop.

    I’m not sure whether it has ever been considered but surely the roof of a car as well as the bonnet I suppose, could be a solar cell, generating constantly.

  21. “This is the problem – you have to reform every state individually, or at least USA + EU + BRICS, to really get a grip on climate change………the car manufacturers seem to be running somewhat ahead of governments on this issue. Volvo is going to stop producing petrol cars in 2019. Michael Gove is happy to wait until 2040. It looks like the market has a better chance of saving us than any government could.”

    Sorry Polltroll but your post above highlights one of the things which increasingly makes my blood boil these days, namely people substituting buzzwords for knowledge whilst getting the science behind these factors horribly mangled up.

    1. Electric cars are primarily intended to deal with traffic fumes in cities, read my lips, THEY WILL HAVE LITTLE TO NO IMPACT ON GLOBAL CO2 EMISSIONS, QUITE POSSIBLY EVEN MAKE THEM WORSE

    2. This is because internal combustion engines are highly efficient whilst thermal power stations are far less efficient. Whatever renewables the UK install will be irrelevant in the big scheme of things – approx. 80% of China’s electricity generation is coal fired and that’s how the majority of their electric cars will be powered. They will only be able to go for electric cars in a big way with a ruinous accompanying increase in thermal power generation.

    3. Please explain, therefore, how electric cars are going to “save us”. They are not. They are going to save the car companies from getting beaten up over diesel emissions in cities. It is not their problem where the electricity is going to come from, what pollution results from that, and what it does to electricity prices and hence fuel poverty etc.

  22. 4. Production of heavy duty batteries is one of the most horribly polluting processes on earth

  23. Ecowirral, in what way is that article brilliant? It offers bugger all in terms of actual proposals as to how we could “make democracy work in the fight to save the planet”.

  24. Hemmy: it was just an example. Of course electric cars are not going to save us single-handedly – no silver bullet will do that – but they are one piece of the jigsaw. They enable us, at least in theory, to travel carbon-free if there is simultaneous investment in renewable power stations.

    Luke: I’m not saying that “markets do things better” in general. Markets are doing a crap job, for example, in the housing sector. But the global nature of climate change, and political circumstances within some of the key states, is going to make a geopolitical solution to the problem almost impossible.

  25. “They enable us, at least in theory, to travel carbon-free if there is simultaneous investment in renewable power stations.”

    Rubbish. How do you produce a large capacity car battery without emitting carbon? Mining the lithium and rare earths etc alone will guzzle up a significant amount….and then it has to be processed into electrolyte using more carbon, and resulting in vast quantities of highly toxic sent acids being dumped, somewhere in the 3rd world probably.

  26. Hemmy, your focus on technical details (which are important, albeit for engineers rather than talking heads) is preventing you from seeing the bigger picture. Just because the energy used to power industrial processes currently comes from coal, doesn’t mean it always will. Non-carbon power stations have been around for ages, and could in theory render coal obsolete.

    However, until recently, non-carbon cars were a complete joke, and would have continued dumping crap into the atmosphere and depleting our oil reserves, even if all coal power stations were somehow converted to overnight. The point is that the electric car means that a carbon-free world is at least conceivable.

  27. KIERAN W – I don’t like the article because it offers solutions, I like it because it articulates the scale of the problem. This is big, depressing stuff that people need to think about.

    LUKE SENIOR – To say “markets do it better” in response to this problem would be a joke, if people weren’t using that worn and empty soundbite to justify the continued rape of the planet. Anyone who can say such a vapid thing clearly doesn’t understand the nature of the threat, or simply doesn’t care. Which are you?

    H.HEMMELIG – Give Grayling a break….”in theory” is a reasonable caveat, and the point still stands.

  28. “I like it because it articulates the scale of the problem”.

    That’s the easy part though, Isn’t it? I’ll save the label “brilliant” for a piece of writing the provides workable solutions.

  29. KIERAN W – Of course, but someone still needs to do it. We are sleepwalking into the abyss!

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