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. I don’t agree Andy, I think Farage should have taken this chance as the euros will give him more air time than ever and would have boosted his and UKIP’s profile ahead of the byelection.

    Definitely worth the risk of standing in my view – only makes sense for him not to, I think, if he can find an alternative high-profile candidate. But given his Fuhrer-tendenz, I suspect he won’t want that either.

  2. “I don’t agree: I think it was the right decision by Farage. A new poll has just come out putting UKIP on 36% for the Euros, 9% ahead of Labour in second place. If Farage had lost Newark it would have deflated the UKIP bandwagon unnecessarily. Farage should focus on winning either Folkestone or Thanet South where he understands local concerns.”

    Sorry Andy but minor parties do not win Westminster seats unless

    1. They do so using pavement politics over many years
    2. They sail in on the back of a sensational bandwagon, cf. Respect in Bradford

    UKIP are unable and unwilling to do (1). That’s why Farage will not win Thanet or Folkestone in a general election.

    Their only hope is therefore (2), which relies on luck and good fortune coming their way, and taking a risk to exploit such opportunities when they arise. Talking about “what if I don’t win” in such circumstances is horseshit. Leaders of minor parties have to take big risks or they will never get anywhere. George Galloway, whatever you think of him, has the balls to take that kind of risk and that’s why he has been elected for Respect twice. Farage is too risk averse and that is why UKIP will never have any MPs, except possibly through defection.

  3. I think Farage probably would have stood if the by-election had happened in 2011-2013, with plenty of time still to go to the general election.

  4. Farage has a plan…he is clearly sticking to it. to contest by-elections in parts of country where he has no connections or local party infrastructure would be crazy for him.

    As Ken Clarke has suggested, Farage is not a stupid man.

  5. They polled around 17% in the Newark & Sherwood divisions last year on a low turnout. Not sure what their vote share was for the divisions specifically in the constituency. I don’t think they contested Tuxford (Bassetlaw) and they were no where in Bingham (Rushcliffe).

  6. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t in this position. He’s put himself in the position to some extent by being so much higher-profile than other UKIP top brass, with the exception of the obviously repellent Neil Hamilton. Thus there is this constant speculation that he will stand in Gawd knows how many different seats. His absence from the field makes the Tories strong favourites, but I wouldn’t rule out completely a win for UKIP. It’s unlikely that Labour can win even if the right-wing vote is split down the middle, because there are so few areas in the constituency where Labour are close enough to do that – really only Newark & 1 or 2 immediately surrounding areas fulfil that criterion.

  7. UKIP share in 2013 CC elections:

    Bassetlaw: Tuxford — didn’t contest
    Newark & Sherwood: Balderton — 22.1%
    Newark & Sherwood: Collingham — 17.5%
    Newark & Sherwood: Farndom & Muskham — 23.3%
    Newark & Sherwood: Collingham — 18.4%
    Newark & Sherwood: Farndom & Muskham — 14.8%
    Newark & Sherwood: Southwell & Caunton — 8.7%
    Rushcliffe: Bingham — 18.0%

  8. That seems like a reasonable base to start from

  9. Not as crap as some have represented for UKIP, although not exactly scintillating either it must be admitted,

  10. I think Farage has made the right choice from UKIP’s perspective

    Everything about UKIP in the last couple of years has been gearing up to the European poll next month – their supposedly breakthrough moment

    We all know how badly UKIP fared under the lamentable leadership of Lord Pearson. There’s a feeling in UKIP that they need Farage to be their focal point for the Eureopean campaign, which obviously would not be possible were he fighting the Newark by-election, leaving it to the likes of Neil Hamilton and Paul Nuttalls to spearhead the campaign

    It also looks too opportunistic

    Labour really need to make a good fight of this. No one would expect them to win but they have to be at least competitive with UKIP and the Tories

    Anything else would surely leave huge question marks over Ed Milliband’s leadershhip

  11. Latest poll puts them on 38% which would be spectacular by anyone’s standards.

  12. They’ve opened up a wide margin between themselves and Labour and an even bigger one with the Tories. Not good for the two main parties.

  13. These polls aren’t realistic and they are peaking three weeks too early. A good result for them could well be downplayed now if they don’t appear as good as these present polls.

  14. “Everything about UKIP in the last couple of years has been gearing up to the European poll next month – their supposedly breakthrough moment”

    But even if they win it’s not going to be their breakthrough moment is it.

    The European elections are viewed as an irrelevance by the vast majority of the voters – some using it as a good opportunity to kick the concept of the EU or to protest against the government, most others by not bothering to vote.

    UKIP could win the Euro elections by a landslide and still conceivably only get 5% of the vote in 2015.

    I do think people are succumbing to Westminster Bubble group think on this.

    If UKIP are to become anything more than a protest party for Euro elections and a spoiler party for general elections, they badly need to start getting MPs elected. I personally believe an opportunity like Newark could have been more important than winning the Euro elections.

  15. ‘But even if they win it’s not going to be their breakthrough moment is it.’

    If they do it will be the first time they have ever won a national election – which is surely ‘breakthrough’ – and will give the momentum they will need to keep telling anyone willing to listen that they are heading for victory in 2015 – even though we all know they will still struggle to win a single seat

    Farage is arguably the best known politician in the UK today. As my MP Caroline Lucas is finding out, the House of Commons isn’t that much of a fun place to be when you don’t have any colleagues alongside you

    My feeling is he can do far more damage outside the Commons than in it

  16. “My feeling is he can do far more damage outside the Commons than in it”

    You’ve captured it in a nutshell. The best Farage and UKIP will be able to achieve is damage the chances of other parties – in the short term, mostly the Tories. I.e. they are spoilers. They will never be elected to any position of significant power themselves.

  17. I think you’re smoking something very powerful indeed if you really think UKIP will get only 5% in GE 2015.

  18. Oh FFS

    I said “could conceivably”, not “will”

  19. But when the campaign actually starts remember that all the ingredients are there for a remorseless squeeze of UKIP. They won’t be in the debates for a start, and their ground presence and financial resources are far lower than the other three. Tim has often mentioned the power of the tabloid press, who will largely line up behind Cameron.

    You might find retrospectively that the ones who were smoking the powerful stuff were the idiotic rampers claiming UKIP will get 15% or 18% of the vote.

  20. agreed they won’t get 15% or anything close to that. 6% to 8% is the range I see them at, towards the top of that range though. the quote on paddy power is 5/6 under 8% and 5/6 over 8%, so I’d go with 8%.

  21. The recent announcement of a by-election here made me think of the late Fiona Jones. Brings a tear to my eye whenever I think about what happened to her. So sad!

  22. HH – I think UKIP more than outmatch the LibDems in finance and candidates this time. UKIP now has 4 millionaire donors – including Sykes who is funding the posters – and the only LibDem one was that fraudster. Re the debates: they may have to be just Cameron v Miliband or all 4. UKIP will have been ahead of the LibDems in national polls for over 2 years. But both are open to legal challenge.

  23. To respond to MrNameless. The legal name of this constituency is Newark; it always will be (the zombie review kept the name).

    If candidates or MPs feel it appropriate to name other areas, they’re entitled to do so. I’d only proceed with caution if there was any misleading or inaccurate information involved….

  24. Why do I think Labour is in with a thin chance? Precisely because this is that rare beast, a by-election in a Tory-held seat, when the Tories are about to take a drubbing in the Euro elections.

    However, with Farage again (apparently) bottling it, I don’t think UKIP can win. I do think the Lib Dem vote can haemorrhage substantially: any part of it that came from Labour post-Fiona Jones and during the Mercer incumbency (maybe flaking off to the LDs because Labour wasn’t winning) will either return, or flake further to UKIP.

    So I think the Tory share of the vote could almost halve at a by-election, and the LDs do slightly worse – maybe a lot worse. The only people with a reason for voting are Labour and UKIP supporters; Tories will hopefully have a sense of disgust at the whole Mercer business, particularly after the hounding of Fiona Jones, and stay at home in droves, and LDs will have an even stronger sense of disgust at the result of their votes for what they presumably saw as a left wing party.

    Meanwhile, the Labour candidate is local in the best possible way, not just himself but generations of family, while the Tory seems (to me) to have been everywhere and done everything except stick to just one place and task.

    So: Tory vote share down from 54% to 29%. Mostly going to UKIP, up from 4% to 31%. A few going straight to Labour, which the polls would indicate anyway. And the LDs dropping from 20% to at most 8%; mainly going to Labour, which with those ex-Tory votes jumps from 22% to 32%, and the remaining LD defections topping up the Tory-UKIP switchers.

    40% turn out; 28,700 votes cast; Labour 9184; UKIP 8897; Tories the indignity of falling to 3rd place in a seat they held, 8323; and LDs the even bigger but deserved indignity of coming 4th, 2296. Lab maj over UKIP: 287.

    Numbers likely to be upset by a host of minor candidates. But that’s the big picture. It’s a by-election: someone gets a poke in the eye. Won’t be surprised if the LDs can’t even manage 2000 votes.

  25. During the campaign for the Corby by-election it was constantly referred to as Corby and East Northamptonshire, which it technically is in terms of boundaries (bar Rushen) but AFAIK is officially known as Corby.

    Similarly I’ve heard Brighton Kemptown called “Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven”, and Dover as “Dover and Deal”. Again, both totally accurate despite the official names.

  26. Southwell might be strong for the LDs but there’s no guarantee they’ll turn out. If there’s no hope of a Lib Dem victory (there isn’t) many of them might not bother or might vote tactically.

    I’m not ruling out anything until the campaign gets going.

  27. Christian & Lithothomist – re Fiona Jones, I of course have sympathy with anyone dying, but it was self-inflicted, as was her failed action against the police and loss of the seat. The constituents haven’t had much luck here, with both Mercer and her being found wanting and lying.

  28. I wonder if Southwells posh residents can be persuaded to tactically vote tory rather than lib Dem.

  29. Probably a few can. I think a few might go Labour but they’ll basically be split between UKIP, Tory and abstention if they don’t vote LD.

  30. Neil – Dover and Deal was once the actual name of the seat (and had the zombie review happened, would have been brought back into official use)

  31. On the issue of names, I strongly favour economy and simplicity. I cannot be doing with ugly, unwieldy names.

    As for Farage, I think he has made the right choice for the reasons set out by Peter Crawford.

  32. Dover & Deal is hardly ugly or unwieldy. The Dover seat has AFAIK always included Deal. It’s rather odd that the seat was renamed Dover & Deal in 1974 but then became simply Dover again in 1983 although it continued to include Deal. Probably this was because the district council is called simply Dover, but the constituency has at least since 1983 no longer been coterminous with the district (which includes Sandwich).
    Re this seat, Lithoptimist has made a very clever calculation, but I’m not at all sure I really believe it. On the other hand, a Tory defeat of some sort or another does seem more likely than some people think in the context of a by-election, especially a sleaze-caused by-election.

  33. Fiona Jobes was deliberately targeted by a range of people including bitter and vindictive individuals within her own party. Nothing was proved against her and the seat even in 97 was a bit of a surprise gain
    What is particularly abhorrent is the lack of support she received from her own party – which did not help in terms of her alcoholism. I don’t belueve addiction to be self inflicted.

  34. Barnaby, I thought people tended to forget the reason why the by-election was triggered once campaigning gets under way.

  35. This is a harder seat for Labour to win than in 1997 although they are a threat, as are UKIP.
    I think C should hold on in the by-election.
    Yes, very sad about Fiona Jones.

  36. If I were a Labour supporter I would be alarmed at the complacency shown by fellow supporters as to the threat of UKIP

    Labour seem oblivious to the fact that UKIP is eroding its working class vote

    Lord Glassman is the only fugure in the Labour partry that I can think of whgo seems aware of this – most others member are falling into the typical Labpur approach of choosing not to believe something because they don’t like it

  37. I bet a lot of the grassroots members are clearly aware of the threat UKIP poses to Labour. It’s the higher ups who seem to remain silent the most. Some senior Labour figures have warned about their threat though. The worst thing anyone involved in Labour could do is to take the “racist fruitcakes” line as that’ll drive more people to UKIP. Challenging them in other ways and campaigning on important issues which don’t mock or insult them is about the best thing they can do.

  38. Adam – I’d refer you to the council by-elections that have taken place in Kensington & Chelsea (Earl’s Court & Cremorne wards, perhaps one could say Norland ward as well) and Kingston-upon-Thames (Beverley ward). Look at the results there & then tell me that the cause of the by-election had no impact.

  39. @Neil,

    The view within my little circle of party members is that UKIP voters mostly aren’t racists or bad people (though some are) but that their concerns about housing, employment, wages, utility bills etc. get expressed as anger at the EU and immigrants, not helped by a diet of Mail and Express editorials.

    Although we’re mainly campaigning for council elections (and the council has zero control over most of that except housing and some employment) it still seems to be the case that if you can effectively pitch solutions to the reasons people feel angry at Europe or immigrants, a lot of that anger goes away and you’ve defused a UKIP voter.

    Some of them are die-hards who will probably go down with the ship, but that’s by no means all. That all comes with the caveat that the areas we canvass aren’t particularly working class so no idea of the wider effect.

  40. By-election will take place on 5th June.

    I think it’s the wrong decision by the Tories. It means Newark voters will have to visit the polling stations twice in two weeks: a lot of voters won’t bother, the less zealous ones, which will benefit UKIP.

  41. It also lets UKIP carry on a chain of momentum from the EU elections which is risky for Cameron. Personally I would have let it hang for another couple of weeks.

  42. The age of the long byelection campaign seems to be over…

  43. ‘The view within my little circle of party members is that UKIP voters mostly aren’t racists or bad people (though some are) ‘

    But if that were true their popularity would have suffered as a result of the quite frankly wicked things the likes of Andre Lampit have tweeted – and yet it hasn’t – which makes me think that mainstream polticians and voters are making a massive mistake in assuming UKIP voters are, like the majority of British voters, good and right-minded people

  44. Andy JS, I disagree, as it means that they can get all the bad news out of the way quickly if, as expected, they do poorly in the Euros. Also, if they hold on, they can present it as a fight back. Under the circumstances, probably the best choice for them.

  45. Re long by-election campaigns, what is the maximum time between a seat going vacant and the date of polling?

    I think the Corby by-election took place about 3 months after Louise Mensch’s resignation, although she did step down in August 2012 so that might have extended it a bit.

  46. maximum time *allowed

  47. Neil – convention is the writ should be moved with three months. It’s not fixed in law, so that explains such recent events as Belfast West and Mid Ulster. What is fixed in law is when polling day follows the moving of the writ – between 21 and 27 days.

  48. “But if that were true their popularity would have suffered as a result of the quite frankly wicked things the likes of Andre Lampit have tweeted – and yet it hasn’t – which makes me think that mainstream polticians and voters are making a massive mistake in assuming UKIP voters are, like the majority of British voters, good and right-minded people”

    I see your point, but I think to UKIP voters on the more desparate end of the scale it simply doesn’t matter what one man says about Nigerians as long as they think UKIP will make their life easier. I’m not saying they’re right to think that way but it does seem to be the case.

    A lot of UKIP voting is driven by fear and anger, two sides of the same coin and two very difficult emotions to read and manage. Until people’s reasons for being fearful and angry (which they’re currently blaming on immigrants and an “elite”) are solved, they’ll continue to feel that way.

    I’d really recommend Thomas Frank’s book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” as an opening read. It focuses on the Republican Party and rural America, but there are a surprising number of parallels that may help understanding UKIP.

  49. I’m sure we could all caricature the voters who support parties we don’t like in similar ways, if we put our minds to it. I’m not sure it gets us very far though.

  50. yes – of course Denis Thatcher fictitiously, in the Dear Bill column in Private Eye, referred to my party as “the smelly socks brigade”.

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