Maidstone & The Weald

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22745 (45.5%)
Labour: 5268 (10.5%)
Lib Dem: 12036 (24.1%)
Green: 1396 (2.8%)
UKIP: 7930 (15.9%)
NHA: 583 (1.2%)
Independent: 52 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 10709 (21.4%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. Part of Maidstone council area and part of Tunbridge Wells council area.

Main population centres: Maidstone, Cranbrook, Staplehurst, Yalding.

Profile: Covers most of the county town of Maidstone before snaking south-eastwards to cover a chunk of Kentish countryside, including the small town of Cranbrook. The seat contains only a small portion of the Weald, a name which refers to a much larger area of historically wooded countryside between the North and South Downs in Sussex and Kent. Maidstone used to have an industrial base of papermaking, brewing and (more recently) confectionary, but more recently the economy has been dominated by retail, administration and London commuters. The seat also includes Maidstone Prison.

Politics: Maidstone has been held by the Conservative party since 1906, most famously by the former prisons minister turned celebrity Ann Widdecombe, who represented the seat until 2010. The Conservative majority has often been bolstered by the opposition being evenly split been Labour and the Liberal Democrats, though in 2010 a large swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats cut the Tory majority to under ten thousand.


Current MP
HELEN GRANT (Conservative) Born 1961, London. Educated at Hull University. Former Solicitor and owner of a Croydon legal practice. First elected as MP for Maidstone and the Weald in 2010. Sports minister 2013-2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 23491 (48%)
Lab: 4769 (10%)
LDem: 17602 (36%)
UKIP: 1637 (3%)
Oth: 1429 (3%)
MAJ: 5889 (12%)
2005*
Con: 25670 (53%)
Lab: 10814 (22%)
LDem: 10808 (22%)
UKIP: 1463 (3%)
MAJ: 14856 (30%)
2001
Con: 22621 (50%)
Lab: 12303 (27%)
LDem: 9064 (20%)
UKIP: 978 (2%)
Oth: 611 (1%)
MAJ: 10318 (23%)
1997
Con: 23657 (44%)
Lab: 14054 (26%)
LDem: 11986 (22%)
Oth: 1913 (4%)
MAJ: 9603 (18%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
HELEN GRANT (Conservative) See above.
ALLEN SIMPSON (Labour) Educated at Maidstone Grammar and York University. Bank executive.
JASPER GERARD (Liberal Democrat) Born 1968, Tenterden. Educated at Durham University. Former journalist and columnist.
EDDIE POWELL (UKIP) Maidstone councillor since 2013.
HANNAH PATTON (Green) Youth worker.
PAUL HOBDAY (NHA) Retired GP.
ROBIN KINRADE (Independent) Accountant.
Links
Comments - 462 Responses on “Maidstone & The Weald”
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  1. There’s a potentially interesting by-election in the Shepway South ward here next Thursday. UKIP won the ward on a fairly comfortable 38% (to the Tories’ 28%) in May. Will be interesting to see if the departure of Nigel Farage is affecting UKIP’s results locally.

  2. By-election result (Shepway South): UKIP HOLD

    UKIP 432 (45%)
    Conservative 215 (22%)
    Labour 183 (19%)
    Independent 88 (9%)
    Liberal Democrat 41 (4%)

    That’s a swing of around 6% from the Tories to UKIP. You can read too much into a single local by-election result but it looks like the Farage’s departure isn’t hurting them much.

  3. I just caught most of Conversations (Ann Widdecombe was on today) on BBC2 – the Daily Politics must be on Easter break.

    Nothing too surprising – she mentions her principles and religious convictions – although a couple of gems:

    She revealed that, ‘there’s nothing to do as Minister of State of Employment.’

    “You just make it up as you go along. You’re essentially looking for things to do”

    That must be why DC gave that job to Grayling & Esther!

  4. Incidentally, the last Q was if she had any advice for young aspirant politicians or her 20-something self.

    Her advice was sound: go away and get a career or have a family or make some £ (or all 3 if you can manage it) and come back to politics 15 or 20 years later.

    You could tell that young strident SpAds annoy her – even more so when these days they become Cabinet Ministers 5 or 10 years later compared to her day – although she admitted she was probably similarly focused when she was 20 at the Oxford Union.

  5. Interesting comments from some posters re the lack of activity in their seats. Here there has been a surprising amount of posters around, for both Lib Dems and Conservatives, and I’ve counted 2 Tory leaflets, 2 Lib Dems, 1 Labour and 1 Green. Certainly no doubting the election is on, even in a seat that’s as safe as this!

  6. ANotherWorld, do you think the LDs want to keep it competitive to target it again next time?

  7. I guess so Mr Pitt – They’ve been ramping their chances here for a long time. The leave vote round here wouldn’t have helped them although the Lib Dems retained their Maidstone KCC seats at the last election.

    TBH I can’t see them winning this seat for many years without a boundary change. Not sure that Lib Dem strength in Maidstone itself would ever be enough to outweigh the solid Tory countryside to the south of the constituency.

  8. My observations of this general area (my commute takes me through the Faversham, Maidstone & Tonbridge seats) are that there are roughly equally many Tory & Labour posters but the Tory posters are much more strategically placed where lots of people will see them. Suspect most Labour posters are just put there by ordinary people while the Tory ones come from CCHQ.

  9. That’s interesting Polltroll – not seen a single Labour poster as far as I can remember. In the north of Maidstone, it’s all Lib Dems and Tories.

  10. The Labour posters I have seen are mostly in people’s front windows. There are one or two in Fant which IIRC is the most pro-Labour part of the seat.

  11. I suspect that many Conservative posters are put up by farmers, or on farming land.

  12. Any idea what happened to Jasper Gerrard? Haven’t heard he’s standing this time anywhere.

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