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
Con: 27590 (54%)
Lab: 11438 (22%)
LDem: 10246 (20%)
UKIP: 1954 (4%)
MAJ: 16152 (32%)
Con: 21946 (48%)
Lab: 15482 (34%)
LDem: 7276 (16%)
UKIP: 992 (2%)
MAJ: 6464 (14%)
Con: 20983 (46%)
Lab: 16910 (37%)
LDem: 5970 (13%)
Oth: 1284 (3%)
MAJ: 4073 (9%)
Con: 20480 (39%)
Lab: 23496 (45%)
LDem: 5960 (11%)
MAJ: 3016 (6%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ROBERT JENRICK (Conservative) See above.
DAVID DOBBIE (Liberal Democrat) Teacher. Contested Bassetlaw 2005, 2010.
HELEN TYRER (Locally Informed Health and Social Care)
Comments - 361 Responses on “Newark”
  1. Newark Conservative shortlist

    Ed Argar (Oxford East 2010 candidate)
    Nigel Huddlestone (Luton South 2010)
    Robert Jenrick (Newcastle Under Lyme 2010)
    David Lloyd (local Cllr)

    85 applications received. Selection meeting tomorrow

  2. I suspect this seat isn’t as safe as the numbers suggest (though without a 1997-style result it’s hard to see it being lost); personally I’d like to see a local candidate win the nomination.

  3. and no women candidates on the shortlist…..

  4. Ed Argar is also on Tonbridge & Malling shortlist. Newark selection is tomorrow, Tonbridge on Saturday.

    Wondering if he has been longlisted in Croydon South too…or he would be busy up and down the country!

  5. I don’t think Paul D is right. This seat has never been drawn as favourably as it is today for the Conservatives. It no longer has Retford in it, but has instead taken in some heavily Tory territory from elsewhere (mainly if not exclusively Sherwood). Even the Newark town divisions themselves voted Conservative in the Notts CC elections this year, so there can’t be any way the Tories can be in any trouble in the constituency as a whole.

  6. Yes I agree. Even in 1997 the Tories would have held Newark comfortably on these boundaries.

    There must still be a chance of a by-election here, if Mercer has to resign. The winning candidate might end up being elected pretty soon.

  7. Robert Jenrick has been selected as the new Conservative PPC.

  8. I see that Patrick Mercer is likely to be suspended from the Commons for upto 6 months for corruption. This of itself would not cause a by-election, but he could trigger one. I also hear that another MP sex scandal is brewing, but legal arguments are ongoing. UKIP must be loving the current Maria Miller et al saga. The perfect storm. I hear it’s even leading to Tory members refusing to sign nomination papers in some wards in the North West.

  9. If Mercer is suspended it would be wise for Cameron to force him to stand down and hold a by-election. A by-election they’d almost certainly win, however damaging, would be less of a risk than leaving a seat without representation for six months while Labour and UKIP point out that fact to every voter they can.

    That and, you know, it’s the honourable thing to do.

  10. If what you say is true Lancs observer, then it would be David Cameron’s worst nightmare heading into the European elections, especially after the Maria Miller saga.

    I’m guessing refusing to sign nomination papers is to do with the local elections? But even I find it slightly hard to believe that they can’t find at least 10 supporters in even some of Labours strongest wards in the North West to sign their candidates nomination papers.

  11. My, having just read this seat’s history, these constituents haven’t had very good luck with their choice of MPs.

  12. If Mercer does get a 6 month suspension from the commons then he’ll come under pressure to resign his seat. But even if he doesn’t, there isn’t anything David Cameron can do to force him to stand down, and it isn’t really his problem since Mercer is no longer a Tory MP.

  13. While obviously very very different circumstances, it’s amazing how both Mercer and his predecessor in this seat face/faced suspension. The Fiona Jones story sounds really tragic though.

    What can an MP suspended from Commons do to raise constituency issues at a national level if they can’t be in Parliament?

  14. ‘But even I find it slightly hard to believe that they can’t find at least 10 supporters in even some of Labours strongest wards in the North West to sign their candidates nomination papers.’

    But how do you identify them? I don’t doubt enough supporters are there, but party members is another thing. And you’d assume campaigning there is pretty limited, so there isn’t much canvass data, so they don’t know who the supporters are. When that happens, you have to resort to knocking on random doors, and persuading people to sign as nominators in the interest of giving people a choice at the election.

    I should know because my party has to do the same thing in some of our very weakest areas.

  15. Van Fleet & Adam – yes, absolutely. I recall Shaun mentioning on the old site how arduous doing just that in Stoke was: knocking on random doors. In Manc & Lpool, the Tories only leaflet in about 5 of the 30 wards. But my journo colleague heard from a Tory member that it was Party members refusing to sign. So random knocking may in fact be quicker than having 10min conversations with each member defending the Govt etc. Indeed a local paper in the NW had the Tory bulletin leaked to them and last week’s contained advice re if having trouble, ask Candidates to stand in two wards if they live and work in two boroughs!

  16. So is that the main reason why the main parties often don’t field candidates in their weakest areas? Noting to do with not having enough potential candidates, but not enough signatures on nomination papers?

    That might explain why I don’t think Labour have ever fielded a candidate in the Little Aston ward in Lichfield District near me.

  17. Adam – a bit of both I expect. But mainly the time involved and there’s usually only a 10 day window to submit the papers. Plus errors can lead to rejected papers. I know in Liverpool both the the then-ruling LibDems and Tories had nominations rejected in a ward each when I worked there and both then missed the deadline with their new set. It’s usually in no-hope wards, but it happened to a Labour Cllr in Knowsley about 25 years ago and the Tory paper candidate was elected unopposed as the only valid nomination received.

  18. Adam, the main reason is still not being able to find candidates. Whilst getting nominators is not an easy process, most of the time parties are still able to get them – if we’re only talking a few wards in a council area where a party is weak, the local party can focus their workers on getting those signatures. Even in areas where the party is weak overall across an authority, only a few candidates usually come forward, so getting the signatures doesn’t become too much of an issue, as the workers focus on the handful of wards they have candidates in and get those nominators.

    It’s only really when a party tries putting forward candidates for most of an authority where overall they’re weak. Then the scale of trying to get signatures for all of them can become too much, and they miss out on getting enough for everyone.

  19. Labour won a seat in Teddington ward in Richmond-upon-Thames because, I believe, one of the defending Tory candidates had some sort of terrible crisis at the time the papers were due & thus they only fielded 2 candidates. It was the only time that Labour has ever won a seat in Teddington.

  20. Sorry, that was in 1974. The successful Labour candidate is still a member of the party in Teddington.

  21. Guido Fawkes is even calling for a by-election..

  22. I see Guido has frequented this page.

    *Hello Guido*

  23. In a Parliament full of by elections, to close with a Labour gain at Newark would be, shall I say, narratively convenient

  24. Would this really be at all fertile for LAB or UKIP? Seems a bit too safely Tory, and probably too affluent to provide big red/purple opportunities.

  25. Labour might have secured a slightly longer run in Newark during the Blair government, were it not for the issues surrounding Fiona Jones. It would have fallen to the Tories by 2005 though. Now it’s simply out of reach for them.

  26. It could be in the case of a disgraced MP resigning, particularly in a corruption scandal rather than a sad-personal-life kind of way.

    It’s a tricky one for the Conservatives. UKIP would eat up the anti-politician vote, so the Tories would have to spend a lot of energy combatting that. Meanwhile, Labour have a decent sized Lib Dem vote to attack.

    If the Blues and Purples fight each other too much and the Reds ruthlessly root out the Yellows, Labour might slip in by a point or two on a split right-wing vote, or UKIP might take it if the Tories focus on Labour. Note that I don’t expect either to happen but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t.

    Neither party would hold it at the general election of course, but it wouldn’t exactly be good press for Cameron.

  27. I don’t think Labour would win this in a by-election. It’s not the right territory for them IMO. They might rise from 22% to 28% or 29%, not enough to win.

  28. This version of Newark is essentially a safe Tory seat. IIRC the pre-2010 boundary changes removed Retford to Bassetlaw and its replacement by Bingham, which was formerly in Rushcliffe. Bingham is pretty strongly Tory whereas I’m sure Retford would be Labour in an even year even if the Tories have some support there.

  29. *to be replaced by Bingham…

    I tend to agree with Andy JS’ forecast.

  30. There is increased speculation that Patrick Mercer may quit as an MP in the next few days.

    Nick Palmer has written on PB that he thinks the most likely result would be a Tory hold with both Lab and UKIP slightly behind.

  31. Depends if he’s bothered about keeping his salary for another year. He’s got nothing else to lose and would surely love to cause difficulty for Cameron.

  32. A UKIP gain in Newark might be a tad embarrassing for Ken Clarke since the seat is next door to his Rushcliffe constituency, and he represented the town of Bingham for 40 years before it was moved into Newark in 2010.

  33. The boundaries of the CC divisions don’t match up tidily with the constituency, but these are basically the ones that comprise the Newark constituency:

    Bassetlaw: Tuxford.
    Newark & Sherwood: Balderton, Collingham, Farndon&Muskham, Newark East, Newark West, Southwell&Caunton.
    Rushcliffe: Bingham.

    Votes, Newark, 2013 CC elections:

    Con: 10,750 (8/8 contested)
    Lab: 5,153 (8/8)
    UKIP: 3,520 (7/8)
    LD: 3,028 (7/8)
    Ind: 1,846 (2/8)

    Total: 24,297


    Con: 44.2%
    Lab: 21.2%
    UKIP: 14.5%
    LD: 12.5%
    Ind: 7.6%

    Changes from the 2010 general election:

    Con: -9.7%
    Lab: -1.1%
    UKIP: +10.7%
    LD: -7.5%
    Ind: +7.6%

    Not completely accurate because a small portion (in terms of population) of the Radcliffe on Trent CC division is included in the Newark constituency, although most of it is in Rushcliffe. Also a small bit of Tuxford is in Bassetlaw.

    2013 CC results:

  34. “Ken Clarke …. represented the town of Bingham for 40 years before it was moved into Newark in 2010.”

    To be ultra-pedantic, he represented it for 36 years because it was in Carlton until 1974

  35. Patrick Mercer suspended from HoC for 6 months. (He already sits as an independent pending the standards committee report). The BBC report (below) says the standards committee will be reporting on Thursday, yet this news is all over the media as of now. (?? media being a bit previous? )


  36. … sorry, should have read on in the BBC article. The standards committee reported on Tuesday (today) and this news has been published in “The Week”


  37. Doesn’t that now make a by-election all but inevitable?
    This is very ironic given that Mercer won the seat in the first place because of perceived wrongdoing by the Labour MP. Of course, had she held on in 2001, she would have lost by now, though whether to Mercer or another Conservative it’s impossible to say.

  38. Patrick Mercer to make statement at 1915 on College Green.

  39. The frustrated novelist in me sees a Labour gain, Conservative leadership challenge and an early general election….

    (The realistic politico in me sees a Labour gain and that being that to May 2015)

  40. The fact that Labour’s vote flatlined at the local elections last year compared to the general election suggests it would be difficult for them to gain the seat.

  41. A by-election would be bound to result in a Tory hold, though there could be a sizeable drop in their majority.

  42. Sun reporting that he has actually quit.

  43. I don’t think a Tory hold can be taken for granted. Some disgruntled Labour voters may vote UKIP to defeat the Tories if they don’t think their own party has any chance of winning.

  44. Mercer has resigned his seat.

  45. I’d somewhat surprised if Labour won this version of Newark- the 2013 CC elections hardly make encouraging reading for them and the seat is a different animal from the one Labour held between 1997 and 2001.

  46. *I’d be

  47. How about:
    LAB 32%
    UKIP 31%
    CON 29%
    LDEM 8%

  48. Why would Labour jump 10 points on their 2013 CC elections performance?

  49. If Retford were still in the seat, then Labour might have had a chance. As things stand, I expect a Tory hold with a greatly reduced majority and Labour and UKIP fighting it out for second place.

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