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 - 368 Responses on “Newark”
  1. There was that one who advocated compulsory abortion for foetuses with Down’s Syndrome.

  2. Helmer is a clever choice by UKIP IMO. The “toxic” views which have caused controversy with the chattering classes won’t cause him any problems in Newark.

  3. I was in Newark on Bank Holiday Monday. No sign of any overt campaigning yet.

    Helmer is a very good choice for UKIP. He’s a big hitter and will be very formidable. I think I might even vote for him myself if I had a vote in the contest.
    Robert Jenrick is also a fine campaigner, but I suspect he’s a poor choice for a by-election. His EU views are dodgey and I suspect Helmer could thrash him in any one on one debate.

    My view is that Jenrick should start off as favourite. The county council results for 2013 in the constituency still show the Tories ahead significantly, UKIP have no real local strength and the Lib Dems are long since dead in the constituency (having lost their one time toe-hold in Southwell). Labour may have won the seat in 1997, but boundary changes might have scuppered them here now.

    But Helmer’s selection makes Jenrick’s victory just a little less inevitable, I would say.
    The interesting thing here when the result is announced might be whether Labour lose second place to UKIP.
    And if Helmer’s campaign goes well, and if Jenrick does implode, and if there is any build up of a protest movement behind UKIP…it could be close.
    But at the moment, I’ll put Jenrick as favourite.

  4. …And I have to say also that Helmer was treated apallingly badly by the Conservative hierarchy when he decided to stand down as an MEP.
    Warsi and Cameron’s overt attempts to fiddle the replacement (for fiddle is what it was) led DIRECTLY to Helmer’s subsequent defection to UKIP as a sitting MEP and probably his re-election on May 22nd for another 4 year term.

    Once again, strategic incompetance from Cameron in a very very long roll-call of strategic blunders.
    Let’s hope they’re pleased with themselves.

  5. Shaun bennett
    agreed someone (on another blog) described cameron as a chess player without any kind of plan who can concentrate intently only when his king is under direct attack.

    very well put. I think a labour govt. likely after 2015, almost entirely as a consequence of tory blunders and mistakes. under ordinary circumstances, if cameron had actually won 2010, the tories, i think, would be cruising to re-election. the lib dems, posing as a centre-left alternative to labour in opposition, would be on 19-20%, while labour wouldn’t be much above 30%, ukip would be on about 6%, and the tories would be at 38%

  6. I agree. Of course, it was another of Cameron’s biggest strategic blunders that made damn sure the Tories could NOT hold a snap general election when they may well have won an overall majority in 2011. His awful ‘fixed term parliaments act’ may have been a very handy bit of short term convenience, but it entirely screwed the country and the Conservative party long-term.

    All this after his OTHER major strategic blunder when he agreed to Nick Clegg getting equal billing in the general election leaders debates-perhaps the single greatest reason the Tories failed to win a majority in 2010.

    All along the line, when you look at it objectively, its hard not to see Cameron blunder after blunder after blunder. This is-in my opinion-perhaps the most politically illiterate Prime Minister we have ever had the misfortune to suffer!

  7. Nice to see you Shaun.

    I agree with your analysis of Newark.

    It’s very tempting to debate with you the what-ifs, had Cameron been able to call an election and won a small majority in 2011, but I haven’t really got time today.

    I suspect Cameron much prefers to head a coalition government with a majority of 70-80 than a Tory majority government with a majority of 10-20. If by-election losses ate his majority as with Major after 1992, would he have had to go back to the Lib Dems with his tail between his legs?

  8. “I suspect Cameron much prefers to head a coalition government with a majority of 70-80 than a Tory majority government with a majority of 10-20.”

    I suspect Cameron would rather have a majority of 20 with the LibDems than a majority of 70 without them.

    Cameron isn’t a Conservative through any intellecutual decision or from any anti-Labour feeling but because he’s an Etonian who wanted to be a politician.

    If he’d been a bit more ‘Hampsteady’ in his background he would have fitted in very easily into the LibDems or Labour.

  9. Election-Data’s take on the Newark by-election:

    “Newark has relatively large proportions of households which lean to the Conservatives but are also attracted by UKIP. Rural communities, older residents, retirees, empty nesters, self-employed trades people living in smaller communities, well-off older residents, commuters living in semi-rural settings; they all make up larger proportions of the constituency than elsewhere in the UK. They don’t vote Labour, or at least they haven’t since 1997. Most have voted Conservative, some have voted LibDem and a smaller but growing proportion have voted UKIP.

    On the other hand there are large proportions of blue collar households, which have typically voted Labour but more recently have shown a tendency to get behind UKIP. ”

  10. Probably true. Had Cameron not already nailed his colours to the mast by working for the Tories in the early 90s, he could perhaps have fitted quite well into New Labour.

  11. When was Cameron in a position to win an overall majority in 2011?

    When he was ahead by a nose for about a week?

  12. the precedents of getting re-elected after 5 years are full of foreboding since the end of the second world war. only two governments have been re-elected after 5 years. Attlee in 1950 and Major in 1992. In both cases, the governing party had secured 100+ majorities in the previous general election. Labour won a 140+ majority in ’45, and Thatcher won a 102 majority in 1987.

    That’s why, among other reasons, for nearly two years, people like me have been thinking that labour would get in at the 2015 general election.

    There’ll be lots of noise and hype and excitement, but the fundamentals of this thing seem pretty clear to me.

  13. Ukip have had an excellent few weeks aided by the inept nature of the response to them, selecting Helmer however is a mistake. I can’t see him getting the Labour votes he needs to win, I should think his views would repel them. Though perhaps thats my wishful thinking as a young gay man.

  14. Cameron’s mistake was a fix rerm lenght of five years instead of four. I don’t think he would have won in 2011 as LD >LAB swing had already occured. He would also be backstabbing his allies which would have made him look even more untrustworthy

  15. *fixed term obviously. We need an edit feature!

  16. UKIP have no chance here of taking the seat. They did so well in Eastleigh because UKIP’s Diane James was a strong candidate and the Conservatives Maria Hutchins so weak. UKIP’ s candidate here is a nasty little man and the Conservatives starting on such a strong majority despite Patrick Mercer’ s wrong doing there ought to be sufficient support for a convincing Conservative win. My money is on Bus Pass Elvis to beat the Liberal Democrats too, although they have a strong following up the A46 in North Hykeham so can get a strong activist base to Newark.

  17. N.Hykeham? Not sure what relevance that has if any. I would be pretty nervous about the by-election if I were Cameron or a Tory. The timing of it is awful, and of his own doing. The narrative is pro-UKIP at the moment. The Tories might hold on but I wouldn’t share the confidence shown above.

  18. Agree completely. Cameron must have known that by choosing this date it was highly likely to coincide with UKIP’s honeymoon….what was he thinking?

    If UKIP can take 15% from the Tories, 5% from Labour and half of the 2010 Lib Dem vote (the “anti” voters), added to their own 2010 score, that gets UKIP to 35%. Might be enough to win.

  19. I think UKIP will win this seat,i was a lib dem activist but always wanted an in/out on EU,our polices have done well in gov except tuition fees,but now i am one of those departing this sinking ship of lib dem.

    I voted UKIP in Euros and local This was NOT a protest vote,i will vote for them in General next year,the scaremongering on the NHS is totally wrong-word has it UKIP want more money for front line/cuts to Managers.

    Good luck in the By election UKIP

  20. I agree that 35% of the vote might be enough to win here next Thursday. Only the Conservatives and UKIP stand any change of reaching this target. Unless the Labour vote drops below 20%, the Conservatives will just hang on.

    Every vote is a protest vote. Those who are not angry about anything simply don’t vote. Dubbing this as ‘apathy’ misses the point.

  21. Opinion poll, as reported on the by-election page:

    Con 36%, UKIP 28%, Lab 27%, LD 5%, Oth 4%.

  22. I live in the constituency and am campaigning for UKIP. We are in with a real fighting chance.

    For the record – I am not racist, sexist or any of the other rubbish printed on UKIP supporters, but a British citizen who believes we either build 300,000 homes a year or we require border controls that will not happen under the EU.

    PS I have friends in this country from many nations. I campaign on the above principal.

  23. The media should concentrate on asking UKIP exactly how they are going to impose those “border controls” whilst also implementing their stated policy of remaining within the single European market.

    Instead they shout racist sexist homophobe every time UKIP open their mouth. It’s a pathetic strategy and they should know by now it isn’t working.

  24. Tuxford was the only ward in the Newark seat up for election in may and cons did better in term of votes compared to 2012
    con 562 42%
    lab 443 33%
    ukip 343 25%
    con 543 52%
    lab 502 48%
    this is labours best ward outside of Newark and Bingham

  25. Another Newark by-election poll will be released by Lord Ashcroft at 4pm on Monday:

  26. Why do the Conservatives have such a poor opinion of Mr Helmer? After all, he was a member of the Conservative Party not so long ago, and nobody complained about him then. He’s the same person.

  27. Because many of the Conservative activists who largely agreed with him are sitting next to him as members of UKIP now.

    Shrivelled though it is, the average membership of the Tory party has been made more centrist and Cameroon by virtue of losing a large chunk of right wing members to UKIP.

    As UKIP seem to take pride in taking over the tag of the “nasty party”, in the long term it might detoxify the Tories a bit and make soft Lib/Lab voters willing to give them a hearing for the first time in 20 years. Or we might see UKIP and the Tories deliberately performing a good cop-bad cop routine.

  28. PS – good point. I wasn’t in Newark, but my colleague was amused to hear the 32-year-old Tory PPC say that local people want a man with life experience! Helmer was a Tory member before he was born. HH – I think the Tory membership is still to the Right if you go by ConHome polls, but the paid staff are generally Cameroons going by the dozen I have met.

  29. not here in Richmond Park it isn’t. Here the average Tory activist is young, posh, rather centrist by Tory standards & just loves Zac Goldsmith.

  30. The Tory activists I’ve met have been very hard right, but admittedly that’s from a sample size of about five…

  31. I don’t have a low opinion of Helmer atall. I just told you can imagine a pint with him.
    But it’s essential the Tories win.

  32. I have had a pint with Roger Helmer, and pleasant enough company he was.

  33. Barnaby – I imagine most people to be posh in Richmond Park?

  34. Well, certainly more of them than when I was born. A majority? Perhaps. Everyone? No. We still have a significant (though not large) social housing minority, and even the odd working class boy made good – they do exist around here, though they aren’t very numerous. Joey Barton certainly being the best-known example.

  35. This looks like an interesting website:

    My thanks to antifrank.

  36. My prediction:

    Conservative: 49%
    Labour: 22%
    UKIP: 16%
    Liberal Democrat: 9%
    Others: 4%

  37. Conservative Hold. 10,000 majority.

  38. Only just notice what an excellent Conservative result this was in May- no hangover at all from the by-election.

  39. Absolutely. The memory of it must have faded quite quickly in the minds of the voters here! The Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems all did much better than in the by-election, suggesting UKIP’s vote was greatly inflated and therefore nowhere near their natural level of support in a normal general election scenario.

  40. I did notice this but the Tories did reasonably well in the by-election so no ripple atall is less surprising.
    I think it’s slightly odd that UKIP’s vote was lower than the national average – perhaps this isn’t quite the right area for them.

  41. I think the by-election proved this wasn’t quite the right seat for them… in retrospect they didn’t do so badly.This is clearly one of many East Midlands seats that is trending towards the Tories.

  42. UKIP came second in the by-election mainly as they were doing well in the polls and were riding the usual anti-politics wave, there were some mid-term wobbles for the government and the circumstances of Patrick Mercer’s resignation had them gunning heavily for this.

    I can’t imagine the Lib Dems even polling well in Southwell if they could only secure 4.6% in the general election.

  43. The comments seem to have disappeared… this happened on Sheffield Hallam, then somebody else posted and it sorted itself out so hopefully this will do the trick!

  44. Amount by which UKIP outperfomed their 2015 GE share at 2010-15 by-elections:

    Clacton 15.3
    Newark 13.9
    Eastleigh 12
    Rochester and Strood 11.6
    Heywood and Middleton 6.5
    Wythenshawe and Sale East 3.3
    South Shields 2.2
    Corby 0.6
    Croydon North 0.3
    Inverclyde -0.6
    Bradford West -4.5
    Leicester South -5.4
    Middlesbrough -6.9
    Manchester Central -6.6
    Feltham and Heston -7.1
    Barnsley Central -7.5
    Cardiff South and Penarth -7.7
    Rotherham -8.4
    Oldham East and Saddleworth -13.4

    Suggests UKIP certainly did better in the Newark by-election than was generally perceived at the time!

  45. Test (sorry the comments appear to have disappeared for me in this thread).

  46. Comments have disappeared again… seems to be some sort of glitch.

  47. I can’t read any of the comments on this seat.
    Something has gone wrong.

  48. Test.
    For some strange reason although I get all constit. info, I am not getting any blog comments on this thread. – although three people have posted according to Recent Comments panel on LHS.

    So, trying a test post!


  49. Booze as an electoral lubricant:

    Anthony Trollope complained in the 1870s by-election in Beverly, where he stood as a Liberal, about the “unfair” Tories providing free beer from the local brewery owner who was a Tory grandee in those parts

  50. Not sure what’s worse: that the Tories apparently breached electoral law by overspending.

    Or that in doing so, they still lost 2 of the 3 By-elections!

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