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. If by 2019 it looks like the Tories are obviously going to be slaughtered at the next election, perhaps they’ll leave her in place till 2022 as the fall guy, like John Major in 1997.

    If it looks like there’s all still to play for, she’ll be forced out earlier.

    I do think that Boris and the other pretenders to the throne made a huge mistake in not forcing May to resign immediately after the GE.

  2. ‘In any case, you are probably right. I don’t think the gay jokes are quite as relentless in 2017, for example, even amongst teenage boys.’

    I think there’s been a big culture change in this regard, compared to 10 years ago, but British secondary school is still a depressing environment for gay students, and teenage boy are still very immature.

  3. I mean come on guys, it’s pretty obvious even the Maybot doesn’t believe what she is saying. She just feels the need to say something to dampen down the leadership speculation because she is rapidly becoming a lame duck.

    It won’t help, of course.

  4. POLLTROLL – Completely agree. And what else can she say? If she says the opposite, the rest of her tenure would be drowned out by speculation (even more than it will be already).

    I think the comparisons to Major are poor- Major ably fought off his attackers (notably Portillo) and did so because he was more able than May, more likable, and he had actually won a majority against the odds in 1992 (one of only 2 majorities in the last 30 years, of course). The tories in 1997 probably thought that Major was as good as anybody to go into the next election, which clearly isn’t the case for May. The idea that they’d just shrug their shoulders if they were going to lose anyway is daft; if they think another leader might save them 50 seats, surely they’d go for it?

  5. I think you lived on a different planet to me in the 1990s.

    In his last few years Major was the weakest and most incompetent Prime Minister in living memory. As mentioned above, he was scraping poll ratings barely above 20% and regularly 30-40% behind Labour. May might well plumb to that depth if she ploughs on regardless but she isn’t there yet.

  6. H.Hemmelig, that’s a good point, but pro-Labour and pro-its leader though I am, I can’t see a scenario where the Tories feel that a crushing defeat has become inevitable. That might require a Lib Dem revival in which they take far more votes from the Tories than Labour. Even then, the Tories would probably fancy their chances of regaining many such votes on a don’t-let-Corbyn-in basis.

  7. The funny thing is that if it wasn’t for the high Labour vote, the Tories would be very happy with their current polling. The problem for the Tories is not that they are unpopular; it is that Labour are suddenly popular again and there seem to be no reasons why Labour can’t STAY popular over the next five years.

  8. Also, she has won a higher share of the vote than any Labour leader except Attlee, Wilson, and Blair, and any Tory leader for 25 years.

    Yet I agree, she’s becoming a bit of a lame duck. The power of expectations…

  9. “I can’t see a scenario where the Tories feel that a crushing defeat has become inevitable.”

    It’s quite easy to envisage the day we fall off a Brexit cliff edge being a Black Wednesday moment.

  10. Eco: “The idea that they’d just shrug their shoulders if they were going to lose anyway is daft; if they think another leader might save them 50 seats, surely they’d go for it?”

    Spot on. That is exactly what they did in 1990 and it worked like a charm. Whether lightning strikes twice is another matter, but the Conservatives have historically been pretty good at adapting to ward off existential threats. The main difference between 2017 and 1990 is that the quality of potential successors is far poorer.

  11. “The main difference between 2017 and 1990 is that the quality of potential successors is far poorer.”

    No. The main difference is that they’ve already changed leader and used up their 1990esque bounce when may succeeded Cameron. Changing leader again will likely be as effective as it would have been had Redwood defeated Major in 1995.

  12. HH- re Major vs May…I’m very willing to bet that history will judge Major to have been a better PM than May, irrespective of how crap the last couple of years (say 95-97) were.

  13. Of course, neither will exactly be troubling the upper reaches of the table 🙂

  14. “HH- re Major vs May…I’m very willing to bet that history will judge Major to have been a better PM than May, irrespective of how crap the last couple of years (say 95-97) were.”

    That might well be true, but Ecowirral was talking about how well Tory MPs rated Major vs May, which is a totally different issue. It’s clear May’s most loyal backbench support is coming from the hard right, see the interview with Peter Bone yesterday. That’s always a more comforting place for a Tory to be in, and the opposite to Heath, major and Cameron.

    If Brexit goes catastrophically wrong then there’s the potential for May to go down as the worst PM in hundreds of years.

  15. H.HEMMELIG – That’s a good point, and my talking up of Major.was very much an attempt by me to look at the positives only, and things that tory MPs might find comforting. I do think that, more than any other Tory leader I remember, Major came across as a nicer person, ignoring all.political stances. That probably doesn’t count for much among tory MPs, of course, who probably don’t have the best grasp on how personable various people seem to appear to the public at large.

    As you say, Brexit is the obvious big issue. Most tory MPs will be happy to see May get to March 2019 and get the flak. My suspiscion is that she’ll resign in April 2019 (but carry on as PM until a replacement is elected) even if it goes relatively well.

  16. Major was clearly a better PM than May is but that isnt hard

  17. “Major was clearly a better PM than May is but that isnt hard”

    Not from the point of view of a hard right Tory. May is giving them their wet dream – divorce from the EU. Major called them bastards and the kind of people associated with the flapping of white coats, etc.

    I’m not a politics scholar but from what I’ve seen, neutral experts like Peter Hennessey have tended to rate the Major government close to the bottom of the post-war ranking. That’s not of course to say that Cameron/May post 2015 won’t be ranked even lower.

    On Ecowirral’s point about Major being likeable – we’ve discussed this before. Many who have worked with him disagreed, and found him thin skinned and rude. Though some unlikely people in other parties, eg Ken Livingstone, liked him a lot.

  18. I think all those rankings of best and worst PM’s are a bit short sighted, from what I gather most seem to view a government very superficially and thus the likes of Major or Callaghan always come off worst when in reality while they were nothing special their main failings were due to circumstances beyond their control or issues that pre dated their tenure, not only that both implemented policies of which the benefits wouldn’t be seen till much later.

    Really they should measure a government/PM on the deep structural condition they ultimately left the country in. On such a measurement its apparent neither Major nor Callaghan are the worst. I’ll reiterate my point that on that measurement the worst is by far the tenure of David Cameron.

    His main drive was deficit reduction yet he failed every major test he set himself on that issue, fudged his way through everything with short term figure fiddling thus the public finances and state of public services have never been in a worse state, he kicked countless other issues into the long grass, fundamentally weakened the union, fostered racial tension for political gain only for it to blow up in his face resulting in Brexit which has frankly rendered the past 7 years of austerity utterly pointless and derailed every plan he set into motion.

    When it comes down to it Cameron failed by most every metric not least the very goals he set himself.

  19. Rivers makes a fair point. Cameron made deficit reduction the central message and failed to actually close the gap. However, he did succesfully triangulate Labour’s spending as the cause and only a vote for him would get the job done. After the double dip and omnishambles opinion on the economy began to recover with the economic recovery, fall in unemployment and deflation which led to his success in 2015.

    May still has time but currently she will be remembered with liitle praise

  20. “I think all those rankings of best and worst PM’s are a bit short sighted, from what I gather most seem to view a government very superficially and thus the likes of Major or Callaghan always come off worst”

    I wasn’t talking about those shallow and biased rankings, I was referring to Peter Hennessey’s book “Prime Ministers Since 1945” in which he makes quite a good assessment of each PM up to early Blair.

    Incidentally Hennessey is a big fan of Callaghan whom he ranks quite highly, way above Major.

  21. “I’ll reiterate my point that on that measurement the worst is by far the tenure of David Cameron.”

    History will spend a long time debating whether the economic deterioration of the UK from the early 2000s onwards was chiefly the fault of Blair, Brown or Cameron.

  22. I will read this Hennessey

  23. On any view, Blair must be “the worst” – he failed to act properly in the events following 9/11 & this has led to a catastrophic chain of events.

  24. To be fair to the ‘shallow and biased’ rankings, they all seem to pretty much agree with each other. Thatcher and Attlee are almost always in the top two (in whatever order). After that it’s usually Macmillan and Blair (again, they switch around depending on the survey). These surveys never quite seem to know what to do with Churchill, mind you. Eden, Douglas Home, Major and Brown seem to be the least regarded.

  25. ‘On any view’- no, that is your view. Very brave of you to jump on that bandwagon, though.

  26. It is brave, you’re right.

  27. Not sure Blair is the worst. Iraq will always tarnish him but he is otherwise unscathed amongst the wider members of the public having jumped ship before the banking crisis. PFI debt will stick to him like glue. His interventions on Europe recently havent done him favours

  28. H Hemmelig: “I do think that Boris and the other pretenders to the throne made a huge mistake in not forcing May to resign immediately after the GE.”

    I think you forget how terrified many Tories were at the prospect of a quickfire second election in the immediate aftermath of the result. The knives were out for May, but the price of getting rid of her was perceived to be another election, which was simply too high a price.

  29. “On any view, Blair must be “the worst””

    There is much to critique Blair for but at the end of the day nothing he did was an existential threat to the UK (unlike multiple things Cameron did). He partially lucked out in leaving office just before the crash hit but as any economist will tell you the froth about “overspending” is just that…froth. The crash had its roots elsewhere in the world and there is little Blair (or Brown) could have done to prevent it or even mitigate the damage certainly to the point of avoiding a recession outright.

    As much as I personally think of his tenure as a real wasted opportunity Blair ultimately did leave the country in a better state than he found it. A decade of strong economic growth led to well funded public services, the highest living standards this countries ever seen and the lowest debt to GDP ration in the post war period not to mention a collection of government reforms (most notably devolution) that ultimately led to a much fairer and sensible distribution of power in the country.

    He’s by no means the best but he’s also clearly not the worst.

  30. If we’re going to take the circumstances inherited into account, then Tony Blair had probably the easiest ride of any postwar Prime Minister (at least before Iraq) – with a whopping majority allowing him to pass legislation effortlessly, a totally non-threatening Tory opposition (granted, Hague often battered Blair at PMQs but it didn’t make a jot of difference to the polls), and a press that had never been so soft on a Labour leader. Economically he came into the beginning of a boom which meant he didn’t have to make difficult choices between taxes and spending – the ballooning economy allowed him to have his cake and eat it (though arguably that brought problems ten years later).

    He did a good job, and that 1997-2003 period brought in several crucial changes (chiefly the minimum wage and the Good Friday Agreement) which, importantly, were not the sort of reforms that a future Tory government would ever destroy. That gives him a legacy. But it can’t be ignored that the country was never easier to govern.

  31. Polltroll
    “it can’t be ignored that the country was never easier to govern”
    This is largely true and certainly one of the factors (I feel) that detracts from Blair while giving the likes of Atlee extra points. Blair did a good job in as close as we’re realistically going to get to “perfect conditions”
    The fact that one or two PM’s accomplished more in vastly more challenging times is something of an embarrassment (hence my point about his tenure being a wasted opportunity)

    As I said though I’m not for a moment claiming Blair was the best or even in the top three for that matter just that he clearly wasn’t the worst..

  32. For the record if I had to rank our post war PM’s it would be in roughly this order. Note this is ranked on non partisan issues, aka I’m not considering how equal the country was or how progressive it was or how business friendly it was, these are major non partisan issues like the state of the public finances, strength of the economy, our international standing etc.
    Also note I’m not even considering Douglas-Home, he was PM for too short a period to make a judgment, neither will I be judging May thus far.

    The successful PM’s
    Atlee
    Macmillan

    Reasonably successful PM’s
    Blair
    Wilson

    Neutral PM’s (neither good nor bad)
    Major
    Brown
    Churchill
    Thatcher (coming from me that’s spectacular praise)

    Moderate failures
    Heath
    Callaghan
    Eden

    Dismal failures
    Cameron (by far)

  33. I thjnk this coversation shkws how subjective and quite silly it is to list “best to worst” PM (I haven’t read the book, but I suspect even Hennessey will fall into some of the same traps). Different times, different circumstances, incredibly subjective. What’s wrong with just criticising/praising them on specific properties, like how good they were for health or industry or education, or maybe how compassionate or vindictive they were?

    Havjng said that, we all know why we’re discussing it on the Maidenhead thread! From my opininion (and entirely subjective it is) I still rate Cameron as a worse PM than May, but May is less competent, and has (a little) time to catch him up.

  34. Sorry for the typos….early morning and on my phone!

  35. Actually I think Attlee also took over in good conditions. We’d just finished the war, so, to borrow from the campaign of another PM, things really could only get better. As a direct consequence, there had never been such a large workforce available, to take up the jobs that were crucial in building the welfare state. And Attlee had also had the advantage of being deputy PM for the previous five years. He already had the Beveridge report good to go, and so his premiership was largely the implementation of a plan that already existed. When he had to react quickly to events (eg India), things didn’t go quite so well. His efforts in the grand coalition also gave him a bit more respect than an opposition would normally have for a government.

    A reasonably good climate in which to govern. That he generally tops these lists says more about what followed for the next 66 years, than it does about him. With the way the country is run nowadays, with the perverse incentives for politicians in Westminster, with a press that doesn’t give them time to breathe, and with a world so complicated that the electorate doesn’t know what it wants – is there any surprise that the general trend in prime ministerial quality is downwards?

  36. The deficit was bigger in 1945 and the government had to ration

  37. @Rivers

    It depends by what metric you are judging ‘success’ by. The best way to judge it IMO is by asking simply did they achieve what they set out to do.

    By this metric you are completely right on most of your list PMs like Cameron, Heath and Callaghan being failures. However I’m afraid you’ll have to move Thatcher to most successful because more than the rest of post war PMs (except maybe Attlee) she achieved what she set out to do and changed the country in her own image and despite the huge changes she brought about clung onto power for 11 1/2 years. If that’s not success I don’t know what is. People still revere Thatcher/loathe her over a quarter of a century after she left office which just goes to show that you won’t succeed in changing the country without ruffling a lot of feathers.

    If Corbyn (or someone close to him) becomes PM he will have succeed if he actually fundamentally changes the country in a way that the Tories don’t dare reverse and if in 25 years Tory supporters still loathe him. He will have not succeed if he makes Labour so unpopular they lose after just one term or if his reforms are swiftly undone by the next Tory government and consequently Tory supporters in 25 years are meh about him.

  38. Heath did achieve what he set out to, namely taking Britain into the EEC. For that alone he deserves to be placed close to the top in terms of changing Britain in a lasting way. I’d say below Attlee and Thatcher but vying with Blair for 3rd/4th place. Blair similar in terms of lasting change like devolution, Good Friday agreement and minimum wage.

  39. Heath is often attacked as a poor PM but up until now he was the last Tory PM to leave office with less unemployment than he started with.

    Which is why I think so little of Thatcher, yeah she achieved her dream but at the sacrifice of 3.5 million unemployed by 1986. The lack of security at work and at home started with the dismantling of manufacturing and selling off council housing. Zero hour contracts are the product of a booming service sector that has replaced manufacturing as the main occupation of the working class.

    Blair’s first term was very successful in term of devolution, peace in Ireland and minimum wage.

  40. Pepps
    “The best way to judge it IMO is by asking simply did they achieve what they set out to do”

    That’s what most judgments base them on but personally I think that’s a bit flawed, if for example a PM said they were setting out to wreck the country then 5 years later they’d succeeded we’d hardly rate them as a success would we.

    There are however a collection of non partisan metrics that one could measure a PM on, Thatcher (despite my personal dislike of her) did have some clear successes on these metrics (Britain’s standing in the world, state of the public finances) but she also had some clear failures (left the country totally divided, left some serious structural weaknesses in the economy) thus I personally rank her in the neutral category. I accept others will disagree.

    I compare this to a PM like Macmillan who didn’t really have much of an ideology to speak of, rather he was just a believer in sensible competent government and on pretty much all of the metrics I’m using he improved things considerably, there was no flashy or catchy ideology required, he tweaked things that didn’t work and preserved things that did and this “don’t rock the boat” approach paid dividends throughout the late 50’s early 60’s thus I rate him a clear success.

  41. I’m not sure about Thatcher. The left believe she created a new neoliberal consensus, but whe they say that they forget her actual vision. For example, her idea of a “shareholding democracy”, where everyone could share the spoils of the capitalist class but without the state getting in the way, never happened. So while she was undoubtedly transformative, she didn’t ever get anywhere near the small-state Jerusalem she envisaged.

  42. trickle down economics never really worked

  43. ”trickle down economics never really worked”

    Maybe, maybe not but one things for sure it works better than the economic policies of Venezuela that Corbyn and co are such big fans of 😉

  44. I would perhaps argue that it is Marudo’s dictorial grab for power which is a might more concerning than his economics but maybe you’re less concerned with facism as long as it produces sound economics?

  45. ”I would perhaps argue that it is Marudo’s dictorial grab for power which is a might more concerning than his economics”

    Both are concerning as they have both released untold misery on the people of Venezuela.

    ”but maybe you’re less concerned with facism as long as it produces sound economics?”

    Erm Maduro is a radical socialist… Though I grant you socialism and fascism often look rather alike in practice seen as both have to resort to increasingly drastic, authoritarian measures to survive. And lol I am never ok with fascism lol whatever the effects on the economy I support both individual and economic liberty. It just so happens that market/capitalist economies tend to be the most sound economically and socialist/fascist ones tend to fail, funny that…

  46. Pepps
    “It just so happens that market/capitalist economies tend to be the most sound economically and socialist/fascist ones tend to fail, funny that…”

    Its almost as if a global economic superpower had a stake in the game and was doing its utmost to cripple socialist countries via sanctions, opposition funding and covert destabilisation acts while at the same time propping up the capitalist ones with cheap loans and military aid and when all else fails it just instigates a coup or invades to remove problem governments.

    But nothing like that would ever happen in the real world now would it?

  47. If Theresa is ousted this autumn or goes in 2019 do we think she will step down from Parliament immediately, thus causing a by-election?

  48. ”to cripple socialist countries via sanctions, opposition funding and covert destabilisation acts”

    Erm socialist countries have done economic damage to their countries all by themselves by crushing their own middle class, chasing the rich and foreign investment away, destroying their tax base yet lavishly spending, deliberately causing supply shortages and generally oppressing and stripping the civil liberties of their populace in a desperate attempt to crush rising dissent. Do you seriously think that if Cuba was a democracy that the socialist government would have been booted out many moons ago by an electorate that socialism has impoverished and stripped the freedoms of. Cuba would be a normal market economy now if it was a democracy regardless of what the USA might or might not have done.

    Capitalism of one form or another (and yes social democracy and Keynesianism are forms of capitalism) is simply what electorates will naturally look to as it provides them with the biggest opportunities and most freedoms. It is no wonder that socialism is only ever considered in times of severe economic peril and even then electorates sour on it very quickly so it’s no wonder that the only socialist countries are dictatorships or at least dictatorships in all but name.

  49. PEPPERMINTTEA/RIVERS10

    Socialist countries? Are you saying there are some? (Other than those scandinavian ones, of course!).

    The hint in Peps’ post is that he says “Socialist/Fascist” countries, as if the two are interchangeable. There is one similarity; fascist states tend to be totalitarian, and so their is often a “large state”,, but with the emphasis on the tory staples of “faith & flag” rather than a welfare state, providing more accountability and better living standards. Peps has a visceral hatred of the left, and so is throwing about the “f word” (admittedly, partly in response to it being used too often to describe the broader right. Current fascists ofgen have signed up to freemarket economics; look no further than Donald for evidence of that.

  50. PEPPERMINTTEA – also, if you discount social democracies as being able to be socialist, it means that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a socialist!

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