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 - 1,455 Responses on “Maidenhead”
  1. I would’ve thought a politician as cautious as May would want to see far more evidence (I.e. Polling) that the leave campaign stands a chance of actually winning before she commits.

    She’s a funny one. There’s nothing in her record to suggest that she cares particularly about either Europe or immigration. Her record is basically that of a pretty middle of the road, centre right politician. I can only imagine that all this pandering to the right of her party is to help her leadership chances, but she’s taking quite a risk. I still see Osborne, Johnson and Javid as more likely.

  2. I agree May is an unlikely standard bearer for any cause of this sort. No evidence she has any particular convictions at all…

  3. Indeed. I’m not denying that she has her talents as a politician…holding on to the role of Home Secretary- frankly a horrendous job- deserves credit, and she’s been willing to stand up to the police. It’s just that this recent overhaul in her persona doesn’t convince me at all.

  4. She’ll be 64 in 2020 and has the most serious type of diabetes. She is also most likely too unpopular with colleagues to reach the members vote, and even if she were to do so the members will still never forgive her over the “nasty party” comments. All in all it adds up to May not having a cat in hell’s chance of becoming Tory leader.

    Ideologically May is difficult to pin down. She was an enthusiastic moderniser in 2001/2 (one of Portillo’s biggest supporters and a modernising party chairman under IDS who irritated the grassroots). Yet over time she seems to have drifted rightwards and appears quite disdainful of Cameroonism. Perhaps if she comes out on the Leave side of the referendum it will be to try to ensure a Cameroon does not succeed Cameron. She must surely know the next leader is not going to be herself.

  5. Agree with all of that. The Guardian tried to paint her last conference speech as one last desperate attempt at the leadership before retirement…perhaps that’s accurate. But I agree overall she has slim to zero chance. I can’t imagine she’s very good at working the Commons bars/ tea rooms to drum up support either. Additionally, antics like the conference speech have given the centre/ liberal wing of the Tory party- who probably weren’t too bothered about her either way to begin with- a new reason not to like her.

  6. I think too many people, taking their lead from journalists, think everything that happens is somehow about leadership elections.

    Perhaps Ms May is simply trying to do the best by her country as she sees it, ie doing her job as Home Secretary.

  7. Well, at least Theresa has one fan.

  8. A very naïve one.

  9. Incidentally Ms May has been described in this New Statesman article as “the popular choice among the public to lead the campaign to leave the EU”: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2015/11/george-osbornes-five-tests-chancellor-marks-his-own-homework

    Really? I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say “I like Theresa May” (it’s always “she’s a very good politician” or words to that effect), and I live in true-blue rural Kent.

  10. My thoughts exactly. Competent, serious politician? Yes. Some kind of charismatic rallier of the troops who could successfully rouse the ‘leave’ campaign? I’d have thought it very unlikely.

  11. Of all those only May would be a smart decision.

    Morgan and Crabb are likeable enough but would be mincemeat against a heavyweight.

    Leadsom is pretty much an unknown.

    Hunt is for the most part loathed by the country since the JDS, he’s basically Gove but more pompous, can’t see that going down well.

    Osborne…well the man has clearly lost his mind.

  12. You get your wish Maxim. Looks like it’ll be early September.

    However, yours truly will be able to vote for May over Boris 🙂

  13. May being a quieter “Remainer” seems like the best anti-Boris candidate. She wasn’t a visible face in the IN campaign, and seems to have developed a tough talking, hard-working reputation as Home Secretary.

  14. Times going big on YG poll showing May leading Boris among Tory voters and (by 1 point) general public. But that’s not members so I wouldn’t get carried away. Having said that it will add weight to the fairly undeniable case that she is the only viable stop Boris candidate.

  15. Neil- I agree. I think she could win over Brexiteers worried about Boris being an unsafe pair of hands.

  16. One thought – Maidenhead is already the safest Tory seat in the country. If May is elected leader, the majority here could exceed Huntingdon 1992.

  17. Theresa May has an advantage if she makes it into the last two in the contest to be Conservative leader.

    The final choice is made by Conservative Party members. Membership is pathetically low. Many natural Boris supporters have let their memberships lapse, in effect resigning in protest at Cameron. They are trying to join the party now, but they will be unable to vote as only members of three months standing can do so in the leadership ballot. There are stories of a lot of people trying to join now.

    Thus the electorate will exclude many “Vote Leavers”. This makes the Conservative Party membership, which is already less than 1.5% of Conservative voters even more unrepresentative of the parties supporters or the country.

    In Maidenhead itself Conservative party membership may be as low as 300, some testament to a former party chairman.

  18. ‘Thus the electorate will exclude many “Vote Leavers”. This makes the Conservative Party membership, which is already less than 1.5% of Conservative voters even more unrepresentative’

    I thought polling had suggested the membership to be unrepresentative of wider Conservative voters because there are proportionately *too many* ‘leavers’ in the party, not too few?

  19. Yes, I was under the impression that around 70% of Tory members were pro-leave.

  20. A new YouGov poll of Tory members out tonight gives May a 17-point lead over Boris.

    It is only a poll and very early days in this contest but it could be an early indication that the received wisdom that the Tory membership are all arch-Brexiteers on the right of the party is wrong.

  21. Quite: the right wing of the membership have never forgiven Cameron for gay marriage and in many cases defected to UKIP.

  22. Well hang on a minute- it’s quite possible that Brexiteers could actually see Theresa May as a better bet than Johnson, who is not trusted by quite a lot of people on the Leave side. I don’t claim to be representative of Brexiteer Tories but if I were still a member I would probably prefer May to Johnson.

  23. Surely the true Brexiteers in the Tory membership can’t trust Boris on the EU stuff? It’s so blatantly transparent he only backed Leave to improve his leadership chances. The media may be rushing to paint this as Boris’ victory but I doubt the membership see it that way.

  24. I voted Leave, and I’ll be voting for May if given the opportunity.

    Admittedly I was a floating voter for much of the campaign and only decided which way I’d vote a week beforehand.

  25. Yes, I also think May could beat Boris in a head to head vote. Just based on ConHome polls etc. I imagine he’s seen as more of a risk as PM, plus there’s his ‘personal life and quotes and changes of position’ as one of the comments from a Tory Assoc on there who voted Leave.

    I only know 3 Tory members so I’ll have to ask them how they’re voting.

  26. GT – surely if that’s true and others had the same, Tory membership would be 500-600,000 and not 160,000.

    I imagine only Cameron can get the blame for the size of the membership.

  27. Popular with Tory voters, probably but as Labour are finding out that’s not really the same thing.

    Tory members I know tend towards the more traditionally morally, which doesn’t describe Johnson, and whatever else they might be they like an underdog in these races.

    The only member I’ve seen saying Boris should get it described it as “well he caused this, it’s his baby” which is hardly a ringing endorsement.

  28. Based on declarations so far it looks like among MPs Boris is having more success attracting remainers than Theresa is leavers. Though TM could be keeping a few names back as a surprise for her launch this morning.

  29. We should get quite a few as all the candidates will formally launch their campaigns today. The first ballot is next Tuesday I think so they don’t have much time to make their minds up.

  30. Difficult to see it now I grant you, however I still am of the opinion that JOHNSON will win.see CONSERVATIVE TARGETS thread.

  31. IMO Gove standing kills Boris stone dead. He won’t even reach the final two. It will be Gove vs May in the final round, with the key issue of substance being free movement (Gove against, May in favour). It will be a real test of how the Tory membership balances its dislike of immigration with economic practicality. I have to say I think Gove has a superb chance. Though I dislike him he’ll make less of a pig’s ear of negotiating Brexit than Boris. Though of all the candidates I think only Boris would have the chutzpah not to invoke article 50 at all.

  32. Boris dead I think. Expect him to call it a day shortly. Lots of his supporters were backing ‘BoGo’ not ‘BoJo’ and they’re all now rushing across to Gove.

    Some saying that this will split Leave but remember it is an exhaustive ballot process so the likelihood is you still end up with Leaver v Remainer.

  33. H.HEMMELIG

    The problem for you is that Gove would be more likely to go for a Little England friendly deal rather than a pro-City/business one.

    He would be Murdoch’s man.

  34. Yougov’s party members survey didn’t offer Gove as an option in the leadership question. It did however include him for the positive/negative ratings: https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/sp4prmurxb/TimesResults_160629_ConMembers.pdf

    Gove is positive 63 per cent, negative 22 per cent. That compares with positive 72 negative 13 for Theresa May and positive 58 negative 30 for Boris.

    Boris’s ratings have declined considerably since the last survey in Feb. Then he was positive 76, negative 13.

  35. “The problem for you is that Gove would be more likely to go for a Little England friendly deal rather than a pro-City/business one.

    He would be Murdoch’s man.”

    I’m certainly not disagreeing with that. From the perspective of those of us who don’t want Brexit, Gove is arguably the worst alternative. Though in terms of our international reputation he wouldn’t at least be a laughing stock.

  36. “Some saying that this will split Leave but remember it is an exhaustive ballot process so the likelihood is you still end up with Leaver v Remainer.”

    Exactly. It will be a re-run of 2001, which I remember well as a member attending hustings etc. It will be a similar test of whether members prioritise common sense and electability over who they most agree with policy wise….I think we all know how that ends. Though of course May isn’t anything like as toxic with members as Clarke was, her “nasty party” comments, support for Remain and lack of control of immigration at the Home Office will all be formidable obstacles with the membership.

  37. ‘Though of all the candidates I think only Boris would have the chutzpah not to invoke article 50 at all.’

    Exactly – it’s a point worth remembering

    As someone who never for one moment believed leaving the EU was in the UK’s best interests, I think Johnson now knows that going down the Brexit route with him at the helm with mean he”s held in the same regard by his fellow countrymen as William Joyce

    He is the only candidate with the sheer gall not to invoke article 50 – and the only candidate who could pull it off

    Have to keep reminding myself every time I write him off

  38. May is not going to win – already made a huge error ruling out leaving the ECHR. Red rag to the membership.

  39. I wonder who Cameron will back.

    Perhaps Crabb/Morgan initially, transferring reluctantly to May when they get eliminated

  40. Will Cameron back anyone publically? Current leaders of parties tend not to involve themselves in the campaign.

  41. to pick their successor.

  42. Cameron has already said he’s staying out of it. And rightly so. I expect Osborne will too.

  43. “Will Cameron back anyone publically? Current leaders of parties tend not to involve themselves in the campaign.”

    They don’t get involved in the campaign usually but almost always let it be known who they are supporting. I think Major in 1997 was the only one of recent Tory contests who kept publicly tight lipped though it was obvious from second hand information that he backed Hague.

    It’s also almost always the case that the candidate backed by the outgoing leader ends up winning-

    1990 – Thatcher backed Major
    1997 – Major (privately) backed Hague….Thatcher did so publicly
    2001 – Hague backed IDS, as did Thatcher….Major backed Clarke
    2005 – Howards backed Cameron

  44. Jack S – GO was personally close to Gove so probably still vainly hopes to stay on.

    Grayling being May’s proposer could be the kiss of death.

    I imagine the Right will split between Fox/Gove/L but could well end up being Leadsom and she could just beat May in a membership ballot.

    Boris realised he just didn’t have the support of MPs to make it to the final 2.

    Although my favourite quote goes to Phillip Davies: “It was useful to weed out some of the expenses’ troughers, if you look at some of the Wets who were at the [Boris] launch who thought he was their meal ticket to a red box.” [I did spot Jake Berry, Zahawi, Dorries all looking happy in the room, then shocked. Equally Crispin Blunt was speechless outside when he heard]

    Nicky Morgan and John Baron couldn’t get the 2 nominees. Hunt said he had them but decided not to stand.

  45. Nadine Dorries trolled hard. This week gets better and better.

  46. Very much doubt Leadsom can beat Gove. As you say yourself, Gove will attract some Osbornites as well as leavers. Though it does depend whether some of the Boris backers want to punish Gove for pushing Boris out. I still can’t see it being anything other than Gove vs May at this point.

  47. Yes, it’ll depend how the Fox and Crabb (35+ MPs each) supporters break. Assuming they get eliminated before Gove and Leadsom).

  48. Johnson’s political career is probably up in the air now. He was vying for the top job and as he dropped out. I don’t think he’d settle for a consolation prize (from his perspective).

    Probably Gove, though he may stand down towards the end of this Parliament. Definitely Leadsom.

    This is probably *extremely* unlikely but I wonder if there’ll be a return to frontline politics for either Cheryl Gillan or Caroline Spelman. Way back in 2013 they were early supporters of a possible May leadership challenge when Cameron was facing all kinds of problems. Not sure if part of it was revenge because he sacked them from his cabinet in the Autumn 2012. Certainly suggests that May is capable uniting both Eurosceptic (Gillan) and Europhile (Spelman) MPs.

  49. *Autumn 2012 reshuffle.

  50. Spelman is close to May so maybe, though there are plenty of younger MPs who are at least as talented as her (I don’t mean to be overly harsh on Spelman, who I like, but it’s true). Gillan I doubt as she seems to relish being a rebellious backbencher. Chris Grayling is May’s key Leave backer so sadly his cabinet career, which deserves to be killed off to be quite honest, is likely to carry on. The personnel in May’s cabinet might not actually be so different from the current cabinet (a majority of which I expect will back her in the leadership election).

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