Newark

2015 Result:
Conservative: 29834 (57%)
Labour: 11360 (21.7%)
Lib Dem: 2385 (4.6%)
Green: 1792 (3.4%)
UKIP: 6294 (12%)
Others: 637 (1.2%)
MAJORITY: 18474 (35.3%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: East Midlands, Nottinghamshire. Parts of Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, and Rushcliffe council areas.

Main population centres: Newark, Southwell, Loudham, Bingham, Aslockton, Collingham, Tuxford.

Profile: A long, mostly rural seat that stretches down the eastern side of Nottinghamshire, with the River Trent and the Great North Road both running through its middle and crossing just north of Newark. The main towns are the affluent Cathedral town of Southwell and the market town of Newark. Much of the area is now a base for commuters into Nottingham, though important local employers include Dixons national distribution centre in Newark, Laurens Patisseries and the antiques trade - Newark hosts the largest antiques fair in Europe at Newark Showground.

Politics: While it now looks like a safe Conservative seat Newark was won by Labour in their 1997 landslide. This was partially thanks to support in Newark`s council estates, partially due to more favourable boundaries before 2010. The former Labour MP Fiona Jones had only a short, and ultimately tragic, tenure in the Commons. In 1999 she was convicted of fraudulently failing to declare all her election expenses and expelled from the Commons, but she won an appeal against the conviction and was reinstated. Her return to the Commons was not a happy one, she unsuccessfully attempted to sue the police for malicious prosecution and became reliant upon alcohol. She lost her seat in 2001 and died six years later of alcoholic liver disease. Her Conservative successor Patrick Mercer represented the seat between 2001 and 2014, but had an acrimonious relationship with party leader David Cameron and eventually resigned from the Commons after a newspaper sting operation caught him agreeing to ask questions in exchange for payment. The Conservatives held the subsequent by -election.


Current MP
ROBERT JENRICK (Conservative) Born 1982. Educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School and Oxford University. Former solicitor and former director of Christies. First elected as MP for Newark in 2014 by-election. PPS to Michael Gove since 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 27590 (54%)
Lab: 11438 (22%)
LDem: 10246 (20%)
UKIP: 1954 (4%)
MAJ: 16152 (32%)
2005*
Con: 21946 (48%)
Lab: 15482 (34%)
LDem: 7276 (16%)
UKIP: 992 (2%)
MAJ: 6464 (14%)
2001
Con: 20983 (46%)
Lab: 16910 (37%)
LDem: 5970 (13%)
Oth: 1284 (3%)
MAJ: 4073 (9%)
1997
Con: 20480 (39%)
Lab: 23496 (45%)
LDem: 5960 (11%)
MAJ: 3016 (6%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ROBERT JENRICK (Conservative) See above.
MICHAEL PAYNE (Labour)
DAVID DOBBIE (Liberal Democrat) Teacher. Contested Bassetlaw 2005, 2010.
BRIAN MAPLETOFT (UKIP)
ELAYNE FORSTER (Green)
HELEN TYRER (Locally Informed Health and Social Care)
Links
Comments - 361 Responses on “Newark”
1 2 3 8
  1. The Times has just reported that Patrick Mercer is to resign the Conservative whip and step down at the next election (he told the Times that he was not joining UKIP, presumably in response to the natural question, rather than protesting too much!)

    No statement as to why yet, though he has often been mentioned amongst the serious malcontents on the Tory benches who particularly loathe David Cameron.

  2. Ah, now being speculated that it is the result of a newspaper sting, rather than his loathing of Cameron.

  3. And the Telegraph report it was due to him being confronted by them in connection with a lobbying scandal.

  4. Thanks Anthony – this does come as something of a surprise, even though Mercer is a bit of an awkward-squad member. I don’t think it will make any difference in this constituency in the general election in terms of who will win, but it is surely a bit of an embarrassment to the Conservatives nationally.

  5. Apparently the Telegraph set up a fake lobbying group and Mercer allegedly accepted money from them to set up an APPG on Fiji and lobby on behalf of Fiji. Mercer has indeed tabled a couple of questions on Fiji recently (though of course, that doesn’t prove he did indeed accept any money).

    Mercer has resigned the whip, won’t stand at the next election and has referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

  6. ‘Apparently the Telegraph set up a fake lobbying group and Mercer allegedly accepted money from them to set up an APPG on Fiji and lobby on behalf of Fiji’

    With all that’s happened over the last decade or so with such stings, I simply cannot believe that any MP would fall for such a scam – if cof coyrse that is what’s happened

    One is entitled to ask whether their stupidity or greed knows any limits?

  7. This looks like where UKIP could make there breakthrough with the Tories unpopular and them on the rise if there was a by election. That however would require a criminal prosecution.

    Peter.

  8. The main reason why Mercer is not stepping down is becuase the Tories risk losing the seat to UKIP. This seat would be an even better target than Eastleigh.

    I’m sure it’s smiles all round. Mercer gets to milk the taxpayer for another couple years even though he has utterly failed in his role, while Cameron doesn’t have the risk of trying to hold off UKIP in a potential by elction. Meanwhile the people of Newark have been let down.

  9. A lot of Newark’s Tory vote is relatively posh and rural. I wouldn’t expect a UKIP breakthrough here, as indeed there wasn’t in the county council elections.

    There won’t be a by-election unless Mercer himself wants to provoke one. Previous MPs who have broken the rules on lobbying all held their seats until the following election (and some are still there, eg. Tredinnick).

  10. “This seat would be an even better target than Eastleigh.”

    No it wouldn’t.

  11. I would be surprised if Tredinnick stayed on beyond 2015

  12. “I wouldn’t expect a UKIP breakthrough here”

    I’m past the point of trying to guess where UKIP will do well and where they will not.

    Having said that you are much more educated than me on politics in this part of the world.

  13. This is basically the same kind of seat as Rushcliffe with a few ex-mining villages tagged on.

    Much posher territory than the places in East Lincs where UKIP did so well. UKIP did quite poorly in all the Newark divisions a few weeks back IIRC.

  14. My bet would be on Portsmouth South being a better chance of a by-election, and a better chance of a UKIP gain.

  15. Where I grew up in a mining village in west Nottinghamshire, the rural area of east Nottinghamshire around Newark was always viewed with complete disdain as the “posh peoples” part of the county.

    Mansfield people always enjoy pointing out that Newark is an anagram of wanker!

  16. “This is basically the same kind of seat as Rushcliffe with a few ex-mining villages tagged on.

    Much posher territory than the places in East Lincs where UKIP did so well. UKIP did quite poorly in all the Newark divisions a few weeks back IIRC”

    I can understand why UKIP are less likely to do well here which is lucky for us Tories.

  17. Mark Spencer, MP for neighbouring Sherwood was on Radio 4 at lunchtime making an idiot of himself. Claimed that Patrick Mercer did the honourable thing of resigning the Tory whip and confirming he won’t stand at the next election. He also said that the allegations were not necessarily true.

    If they aren’t true why resign the whip and say you’re not standing again? Also how can someone be honourable when they’ve done this. Comments like Mr Spencer’s makes MPs look like a bunch of secret society members defending the indefensible just because the accused is a member of the “club”. As LBernard said the losers are the people of Newark. The truly honourable thing to do would of been to resign as an MP and let the people of Newark choose someone else to represent them for the next two years. If that means UKIP winning so be it. That’s democracy!

  18. Totally disagree BigD.

    Following disgraceful behaviour it is honourable to stand down and not carry on fucking about. One bad deed doesn’t mean anything else you do has to be equally bad. It is certainly helpful to the tory party.

    Furthermore, the allegations may not be true, how can he say otherwise without being potentially libellous. If true Mercers behaviour is a disgrace, but I don’t see what Spencer has done wrong.

  19. But if you’ve done nothing wrong why resign? If I’d been accused of something and I’d did nothing wrong I’d fight the allegations not resign. Lord McAlpine did nothing wrong so he fought the allegations against him and won. That’s what innocent people do!

    Also he’s done something that he thinks merits his resignation as a Conservative MP but not as an MP. I don’t understand that!

  20. This is in some ways similar to Rushcliffe, as HH says, but it has a larger truly rural element whereas a lot of Rushcliffe is essentially outer suburbia. In fact, the seat reaches a point very close to Nottingham city centre. I’d agree however that it isn’t the sort of area where I’d expect UKIP to do all that amazingly.

  21. He is probably guilty, not definatley. If he is guilty then I would back a resignation from parliament.

    Like I said, I’m not defending Mercer should what appears to be true turn out to be true, just felt your attack on his neighbour was unjustified.

  22. Taking cash to ask questions is deplorable – but given all that’s been said and done, and the public’s view that this type of thing is exacyly what outs them off politics, to do it now seems worst

    If the allegations are true I hope (although very much doubt) that David Cameron will make an example of Mercer

    If he doesn’t, it could be seen as a case of ‘same old sleaze, same old Tories’

  23. “This is in some ways similar to Rushcliffe, as HH says, but it has a larger truly rural element whereas a lot of Rushcliffe is essentially outer suburbia.”

    Rushcliffe has quite a lot of rural territory as well, to the far south and east of the seat.

    The character of both seats is similar in that both have strongly Tory rural elements together with a main town that is closely fought between the Tories and Labour – although Newark town and West Bridgeford do appear to be trending in different directions at the moment they are the only marginal parts of their respective constituencies.

  24. One wonders how Mercer can realistically survive till 2015 if the allegations are true. There would surely be massive pressure for a by-election. If there was a by-election do you think the Tories will hold? It certainly doesn’t look like the kind of seat that Labour can win anymore and given what H Hemmelig has said, UKIP’s chances don’t look great either.

  25. Of course H Hemmelig is right to point to Tredinnick et al clinging on so it is conceivable that Mercer could do so too if the allegations are true. But I wonder if we are now in different circumstances from the 1990s.

  26. ‘Of course H Hemmelig is right to point to Tredinnick et al clinging on so it is conceivable that Mercer could do so too if the allegations are true.’

    Tredinnick has emerged remarkaby unscathed by the cash for questions revelations that surrounded him, and it hasn’t seemed to have affected his support in his seat either

    I think even Riddick, his co-defendent, was allowed to stand in 1997, although predictably he lost his colne valley seat in the labour landslide

    ‘But I wonder if we are now in different circumstances from the 1990s.’

    We most definitely are

    The whole expenses scandal has changed the political landscape with regards to how the public view MPs taking the p*ss and if these allegations are true – which it should be pointed out is yet to be proven – mercer is either stupid, greedy or just exceptionally arrogant

    David Cameron played the expenses saga quite well. Although many of his MPs had been just as guilty of enriching themselves via the public purse as their labour colleagues, he expressed his disgust, backed it with action by forcing some of the higher-profile offenders not to seek re-election, and made it clear that mps who did this type of thing were not welcome in the tory party

    who knows what would happen in a by-election but i suspect if they picked a good candidate the tories would be favourites to hang on – just

  27. To be fair, the MPs conservative party were not just as guilty as those in the labour party. Remind me how many went to prison on each side.

  28. That isn’t really relevant. We’re talking about lobbying rules here rather than the expenses issue. They’re both sleaze-related but they’re not identical.

  29. The last boundary changes were a big help to the newark cons gaining 5 good wards off rushcliffe,Loudham(was one of sherwoods best con ward,s) ,rampton (one of bassetlaws best cons wards) and losing labour leaning retford plus its last small pit village in elksley(bevercotes miners mostly came from ollerton,elksley and a few from tuxford).

  30. Yes. As the constituency is currently drawn, it would probably have been held by the Conservatives even in 1997, I’d say not even that narrowly.

  31. The constituency was Labour from 1945 to 1979 but the actual 2.9% 1979 Con maj was turned into a 10.6% Notional Con maj

    No bondary changes in 1992 and a Conservative majority of 14.1% in 2005 became a notional 22.1%.

    The sum of the boundary changes in 1983 and 2010 are the equivelant of a 7.9% swing from Lab to Con, so its reasonable to assume that the current boundaries may have been Conservative in 1955, 1959, 1964 and since 1970 (possibly even 1997).

    I assume that Newark Town (or city) was always a Tory area it could have been Nottingham Coal Villages that made the constituency Labour (and their removal) made the constituency more Tory.

    Could Tories also have been moving in from Nottingham and Gedling, in turn making these areas (Gedling inparticular) more Labour?

  32. Dalek – as I said upthread, Newark was held by the Conservatives narrowly in 1945. I am sure that Newark town has voted Labour on some occasions, especially 1997.

  33. The old Newark seat contained all the pit villages now in Sherwood which is why it was Labour in the 1950s and 1960s. The seat completely changed in character from 1983 onwards, only the town of Newark and its immediate surroundings remaining from the old seat.

  34. Barnaby – Pete posted the notional 1997 result for this seat on the other place. It was a tory majority of just over 1000.

  35. I defer to others but my gut feel is UKIP would actually emerge as quite a threat here in a by-election.

  36. or they could even help Labour – though not I think in a general election.

  37. Mark Spencer and Zac Goldsmith have both said Mercer should resign as an MP if found guilty of taking cash for questions.

    I’m surprised colleagues are being quite so forthright in condemning him…Spencer perhaps is worried about the impact on his own neighbouring seat.

    Maybe there’ll be a by-election after all. But on these boundaries UKIP won’t get closer than a distant second, any more than they would in Rushcliffe if Ken Clarke were to die suddenly.

  38. ………well at his age he needs to watch his weight……….

  39. I don’t think wealth is much of a reason to believe UKIP couldn’t do extremely well here. Eastleigh isn’t exactly a poor area, and in Cambridgeshire UKIP won both extremely deprived areas around Wisbech and very well-off parts of Huntingdonshire.

    The normal limiting factor is organisation, and a by-election solves that issue. Other limiting factors presumably apply, but I think more data is needed to establish exactly what those are and in what circumstances they apply.

  40. Looks like Zac Goldsmith agrees with me:

    Tory MP Zac Goldsmith tweeted: “If it’s bad enough for you to resign from your party, how can it be ok to continue representing constituents at all? Where’s that Recall?!”

    Recall of MPs was of course in the Coalition agreement but no sign of it.

  41. Mercer’s days have to be numbered now.

    How he can go on as an MP in the wake of these allegations is quite frankly absurd.

    If there was any justice he would do the decent thing and resign his seat before it is too late.

  42. i agree with you

  43. Does anyone know when the Panorama programme is going to be broadcast?

  44. “How he can go on as an MP in the wake of these allegations is quite frankly absurd.

    If there was any justice he would do the decent thing and resign his seat before it is too late.”

    What a strange post. “Justice” surely means this first has to be investigated thoroughly, given that Mercer has denied any wrongdoing.

    If the investigation finds him guilty of taking cash for questions then even his own colleagues agree that he will have to resign his seat.

  45. An ideal situation for Labour would be for a Newark by-election and Nigel Farage standing. Anna Soubry parachuted here, opening up a Broxtowe by-election. Labour turning a Tory marginal into a safe Labour seat and a three-way marginal in Newark. However, there is not a chance of that happening.

    Mercer affair is good news for Cameron. One of the people who were plotting against him, have now gone.

  46. I guess Labour could win on something like 33%

    34% Lab
    32% C
    24% UKIP
    6% LD
    4% Oths

    then get hammered by about 8-9,000 in the General Election.

  47. To be fair, given the footage and his recent parliamentary activity, it’s really an open and shut case:

    h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22739412

    h ttp://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/05/31/is-this-what-forced-tory-mp-patrick-mercer-to-resign/

  48. If anyone knows which county council divisions comprise the Newark constituency they can work out how the seat voted in the local elections using my Notts spreadsheet above.

  49. “I guess Labour could win on something like 33%

    34% Lab
    32% C
    24% UKIP
    6% LD
    4% Oths

    then get hammered by about 8-9,000 in the General Election.”

    Unless there was differential turnout on a massive scale there’s no way Labour could poll as high as 34% here. Remember the boundaries are very different to the 1997 seat.

1 2 3 8
Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)