Old Bexley & Sidcup

2015 Result:
Conservative: 24682 (52.8%)
Labour: 8879 (19%)
Lib Dem: 1644 (3.5%)
BNP: 218 (0.5%)
Green: 1336 (2.9%)
UKIP: 8528 (18.2%)
Christian: 245 (0.5%)
NHA: 1216 (2.6%)
MAJORITY: 15803 (33.8%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of the Bexley council area.

Main population centres: Sidcup, Bexley village, Blackfen, Falconwood.

Profile: Conservative voting suburbia in south-east London, largely made up of owner-occupied 1930s built private housing. The titular "Old Bexley" refers to the smaller village-like part of Bexley (normally known as Bexley village to residents - Old Bexley is one of those place names that only appears on maps), close to the border with Dartford, as opposed to the more built up and suburban Bexleyheath..

Politics: The constituency was once widely known for returning Sir Edward Heath to Parliament, he represented the seat and its predecessors for 50 years before his retirement in 2001. In 1997 Labour cut Heath`s majority to only 6.9% with the help of the Referendum party, but since then the Conservatives have again built up a towering majority. The MP until 2010 was Derek Conway who was removed from the Parliamentary Conservative party after it was revealed he had been paying his son a wage as a Parliamentary researcher while he was actually away at university.


Current MP
JAMES BROKENSHIRE (Conservative) Born 1968, Southend. Educated at Davenant Foundation School and Exeter University. Former corporate lawyer. MP for Hornchurch 2005-2010. First elected as MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup in 2010. Under-secretary of state at the Home Office 2010-2014. Minister of State for immigration since 2014. Brokenshire`s Hornchurch seat was abolished at the 2010 election and he lost out in the selection for the successor seat to his neighbour Angela Watkinson, he was eventually successful in finding an alternative seat in Bexley.
Past Results
2010
Con: 24625 (54%)
Lab: 8768 (19%)
LDem: 6996 (15%)
BNP: 2132 (5%)
Oth: 2971 (7%)
MAJ: 15857 (35%)
2005*
Con: 22191 (50%)
Lab: 12271 (28%)
LDem: 6564 (15%)
UKIP: 2015 (5%)
Oth: 1531 (3%)
MAJ: 9920 (22%)
2001
Con: 19130 (45%)
Lab: 15785 (37%)
LDem: 5792 (14%)
UKIP: 1426 (3%)
MAJ: 3345 (8%)
1997
Con: 21608 (42%)
Lab: 18039 (35%)
LDem: 8284 (16%)
Oth: 1003 (2%)
MAJ: 3569 (7%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
JAMES BROKENSHIRE (Conservative) See above.
IBBY MEHMET (Labour) Born Sidcup. Educated at Essex University. Political advisor.
JENNIFER KEEN (Liberal Democrat)
CATHERINE REILLY (UKIP)
DEREK MORAN (Green) Educated at Bristol University. Veterinarian.
BOB GILL (NHA) GP.
NICOLA FINCH (BNP)
LAURENCE WILLIAMS (Christian) Born 1963. Engineering contractor. Contested Erith and Thamesmead 2010 for English Democrats.
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Comments - 125 Responses on “Old Bexley & Sidcup”
  1. Interesting that the LD vote was more than 10% lower in 2010 compared to 1983 when nationally there wasn’t much difference. This area is similar in that way to the Havering seats.

  2. I think that once Labour moved ahead of the Lib Dems here in 1992 that they were able to get within a few thousand of Edward Heath in 1997 in landslide conditions. The Lib Dems actually increased, only just, by 0.23% that year, but then fell back by 2.4% in 2001.

    I’m not sure what the actual explanation is for their comparatively low level here compared to the 80s, but there might be credence in what you say Andy in comparing it to somewhere in Havering for example. Of course in seats like Romford and Hornchurch and Upminster, the Lib Dems have been very low for years.

  3. Bit surprised UKIP’s gains in Bexley came in a ward in this seat. Thought they would’ve gained a few in Bexleyheath & Crayford.

  4. Remember this seat contains Welling, the former headquarters of the BNP. I haven’t checked but I’d guess the UKIP gain was in that part of the seat.

  5. Bexley council, popular votes (using highest candidate per party):

    Con 30,528 (39.43%)
    Lab 20,561 (26.55%)
    UKIP 15,493 (20.01%)
    BNP 5,916 (7.64%)
    LD 2,162 (2.79%)
    Green 1,238 (1.60%)
    Ind 1,220 (1.58%)

    Changes since 2010 locals:

    Con -3.82%
    Lab +2.05%
    UKIP +18.04%
    BNP -3.01%
    LD -10.63%
    Green +0.77%
    Ind +0.99%
    Eng Dem -4.52% (didn’t contest any seats this time)

    Swing, Con to Lab: 2.94%

  6. Regarding LDs weakness in this seat (and also Bexleyheath and Crayford), it could be related to a complete lack of organisational capacity since they lost their last councillors (2002 I think?). They have very few members locally and almost no activists. It’s just a complete dead-zone. Other areas around the country where the LDs general support and outlook are equally bleak nonetheless have active local parties and campaigns. No-one in this seat will have been contacted by local LDs in the last 15 years, at least.

    Regarding UKIP’s council results, they are quite interesting. Firstly, all of them came without concerted campaigning. UKIP appear to have had trouble even fielding paper candidates for every ward – each elected UKIP councillor was their sole nominated candidate in their respective wards. Obviously UKIP lack organisation on the ground (at the moment) but it is my feeling that wards like this are in theory highly susceptible to UKIP attack. Bexley is mostly characterised as a split between Bromley-style affluent commuter belt on the one hand, and “working-class Tory” a la Havering/Thurrock etc, on the other. Heretofore, both groups have combined to make these two seats solid Tory, but while the former will surely deliver two Tory MPs for the foreseeable future, the working-class Tory vote strikes me as potentially soft for UKIP. It’s true the Bexley Village and Sidcup themselves are much more leafy areas, but Blackfen (the OB&S ward which returned the UKIP councillor) has much more in common demographically with Bexleyheath to the north, and neighbours Welling, which as Hemmelig noted has a historic connection with the far-right (the “BNP bookshop”) which was the cause of anti-fascist riots in the 80s (or 90s?) and culminated in the burning down of their national headquarters.

    If UKIP manage to develop campaign organisation in Bexley (or at least field a full set of candidates!), there are several wards which could fall to them in the future, and I would not be surprised to see them become the official opposition in the future, for our sins. (That’s provided they stick around to become a real political party, obviously – I suppose the jury is still out on that one…)

  7. In any case neither UKIP nor any party will feature in the GE results for these two super-strong Tory seats (though I anticipate UKIP distant 2nd place in OB&S:

    5% BNP -> UKIP
    5% LD -> UKIP
    10% CON -> UKIP

    (5% LD -> LAB)

  8. Con hold 11500 over UKIP.

  9. Conservative Hold. 10,000. Labour 2nd

  10. A surprisingly weak Labour performance here though the Conservatives didn’t exactly do all that well either.

    Con 52.8 (-1.4)
    Lab 19 (-0.3)
    UKIP 18.2 (+14.9)
    LD 3.5 (-11.9)
    Gre 2.9 (+2.0)

    Con majority 15,803 (33.8%)

  11. Both Tory and Labour shares down. I don’t think there were many seats in London where that was the case. Maybe this was the only one.

  12. Actually Bexleyheath & Crayford next door was another example.

  13. Andy JS The Tory vote was down all over SE London.

    Erith -4.1
    Bexleyheath -3.2
    Orpington – 2.3
    Old Bexley -1.3
    Eltham -1.2
    Beckenham -0.6
    Bromley -0.6

    And in NE london

    Dagenham -9.0
    Romford -5.0
    Hornchurch -2.4

    Some demographic change no doubt, but the tory vote also fell in most Kentish and S.Essex constituencies as UKIP took tory votes.

  14. Thanks. I was in particular talking about seats where both the Con and Lab share went down in Greater London. I don’t think there were more than about 5 examples.

  15. I think that a fall in both the CON and LAB share, occured only three times in London. The two constituencies from Bexley and Hornchurch+Upminster.

  16. London has become amazingly polarised over the last 5 years. One wonders if the London-centric nature of politics in our country has helped in that regard.
    In 2010 the constituency with the highest combined Lab+Con share was East Ham (85.6%). Despite England now having 5 ‘major’ parties. This time a total of 18 constituencies in London have a higher combined % share than that East Ham result.

    Harrow E 90.9
    Finchley 90.9
    Hendon 90.5
    Illford S 89.9
    East Ham 89.7
    Battersea 89.2
    Harrow W 89.2
    Tooting 89.1
    Westminster N 88.6
    Enfield S 88.4
    Brent North 87.8
    Illford N 86.8
    Brentford 86.7
    Hampstead 86.7
    Southall 86.7
    Hammersmith 86.4
    Ealing C 85.9
    Croydon C 85.7

    Several more including Brent C have narrowly missed out.

  17. The former MP for this seat, Heath, has become the latest dead MP to be accused of child abuse

  18. These rumours have been swirling around for years, as with the other dead MPs Brittan, Morrison, van Staubenzee etc, and numerous others who are still alive including Janner. An enquiry will hopefully be at least able to establish whether there are any grounds to the allegations or not, though the police dismissing the case against Cyril Smith isn’t a good sign on that front.

    It is a reflection of the different kind of society we lived in in the 1960s and 1970s that a “confirmed bachelor” was able to make it to Tory leader and PM. In fact the miserable unpopularity of Heath as PM is probably one significant reason why all his successors have been married family men (and woman).

    PS what has happened to John Mann’s “an arrest of a former Labour minister is imminent” from a month or so ago?

  19. I was thinking the same thing. I think it’ll be a long time until we see another unmarried male Prime Minister. For a female, I think it would be fine; in the hugely unlikely event that Liz Kendall becomes Labour leader someday, her single status wouldn’t impact on her popularity/ suitability as Prime Minister at all.

  20. H.Hemmelig – l have heard rumours about which former minister it is. Don’t know if you have.

  21. No I haven’t, though unlike you I do not move in any political circles.

  22. I do think there’s a major risk of a massive trashing of Heath over this, because it is in the interests of many on both the left and right to do so.

    There are legions of Europhobes who have been waiting for a moment like this for 40 years, an opportunity to piss all over Heath’s grave. Along with the Calais chaos, it will also be a very useful boon to the No side in the EU referendum.

    It will be interesting to see whether Labour prioritise damaging the Tories over Heath, or go easy so as not to trash the pro-EU cause.

  23. I don’t believe anything will come of the current Heath investigation. People have been digging around these stories for decades and found nothing. As it involves a former PM this case has attracted a greater number of diggers than those involving other prominent politicians.

    One of Heath’s biographers is quoted in today’s Times saying “I tried to find some fire to go with the smoke but I never found any”.

  24. These allegations clearly extend right across the political establishment so it seems unlikely that Labour would seek to make political capital from the allegations relating to Heath.
    I am not sure that being a single male would be more of a barrier to leadership today compared with the 1960s and 70s. It is entirely wrong to assume that such a person is gay – after all Brittain and Van Straubenzee were both married as is Janner! Moreover, public opinion is nowadays much more tolerant of those who are homosexual. As a matter of interest why would a single female be more acceptable?

  25. “It is entirely wrong to assume that such a person is gay – after all Brittain and Van Straubenzee were both married as is Janner!”

    You have made an entirely improper conflation yourself – nobody is accusing those people of being gay, they are accused of being paedophiles. Paedophiles can be primarily heterosexual yet still sometimes abuse boys – Saville being a good if grotesque example.

  26. Is the point then that a single male is more likely to be a paedophile? If not why should such a person be less likely to be elected Leader than back in the 60s and 70s?

  27. Looks like Europhiles may indeed have cause for concern…although all these complainants may turn out to be fantasists of course

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11782703/Sir-Edward-Heath-Wiltshire-Police-receive-number-of-calls-from-potential-sex-abuse-victims.html

  28. Although Old Bexley & Sidcup was the constituency that Heath finally retired from in 2001 most of his original Bexley constituency formed Bexleyheath in Feb 1974.

    Much of Old Bexley & Sidcup came from the abolished Chislehurst.

    Were it not for the 1974 boundary changes, Edward Heath would have lost his original Bexley Constituency in 1997.

  29. “after all Brittan and Janner were married” – that’s also a wrong assumption that married equals straight. There are a few gay MPs married to women, although a few stood down in May.

    There’s also a tradition in some circles (although Barnaby will know I’m not being anti-Semitic in saying so as an example) of continuing the family name eg Rex Makin in Liverpool is the leading lawyer in the city. Everyone knows he’s gay and likes young males [over 16], but he’s married and had a son [who is also a lawyer]. Clearly I thought of that example when people mentioned other Jewish lawyers involved in politics such as Brittan and Janner.

    Re Heath, I don’t have any knowledge either way, except to say that Exaro has done a lot of work re CSE in Jersey and there are clear links there.

  30. ‘There are legions of Europhobes who have been waiting for a moment like this for 40 years, an opportunity to piss all over Heath’s grave. ‘

    Totally agree

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest this is a attempted fit up by Tories on the Right who have always hated Heath and the moderate policies he used to endorse

    Of course you never know – but Ted Heath always struck me as someone who had no interest in going to bed with women, men or young boys

    Rumours around the likes of Janner, Morrison and Smith were common knowledge throughout Westminster – whereas claims involving Heath seem to be nothing but wishful thinking from those Tories from Runnymead’s wing of the party

  31. As an unmarried heterosexual, it often seems to me that these days it is only all right to be unmarried if you are gay. Providing we don’t go commiting crimes, and in particular providing that we don’t a make inappropriate approaches to children, our sexuality is our own business.

    I must admit that I took at face values that Heath never got married because he had a very unhapp#y time with a young woman when he was a a student, which is not very different from my own situation. But now things that suggest otherwise are coming out of the woodwork.

  32. The fact that people are coming forward with information doesn’t, in itself, prove anything. If you invented a false public figure and asked people to come forward, a few probably would despite the fact the person in question never existed.

  33. Kent Police have as I understand it just announced that they have received allegations about Sir Edward Heath, dating ffom many years ago. However my understanding is that these allegations relate to East Kent, not to Bexley.

    Andy JS is quite right that people coming forward with allegations does not prove anything. He is quite right that. particularly in the current political climate, if one invented a plausible but non-existent public fiigure people would probably come forward with allegations about them.

    The most serious concern would be if justice were perverted so that political figures guilty of serious offences were not prosecuted or were falsely acquitted.

  34. Kent, the Met, Wiltshire and Jersey Police have confirmed Heath is part of investigations into CSE.

    Yes, there are also fantasists and Icke loons; but, just because they claim something it doesn’t stop it from having some truth sometimes.

    I doubt we’ll ever know for sure re Heath, but there is still time re Janner and other living Parliamentarians and very recent ex-MPs.

  35. So if someone’s house is burgled the Polce can’t guarantee that anyone will be sent to investigate, but they’re spending time and resources on investigating someone who died more than 10 years ago. Maybe there should be a separate body set up to investigate historic cases against deceased persons, so that the police can concentrate on the here and now, which is what they’re supposed to do.

  36. I agree that in general investigation of the crimes of the dead should be left to historians. Not least,, it benefits nobody to divert resources in a legal enquiry so huge that it does not report for many years, in the meantime vital dbate being supressed as relating to matters that are supposedly sub-judice.

    However, suggestions that the course of justice has been perverted to prevent very senior politicans from being prosecuted imply that serious crimes have been committed by people still alive and it is of great importance that these people should be prosecuted, and prosecuted within reasonable timescales – months, not years.

    The suggestions, and many of them are still being hidden from the public domain, are that there have been criminal conspiracies in this country on a scale comparable to those of the Italian Mafia in recent times. These suggestions involve offences which have ruined the lives of possibly thousands, or more, of children. Top be frank, Andy, yes I do think it is more important that this huge nest of worms is cleared up than that the Police attend every time a “minor” burglary takes place, although the burglaries should be dealt with too.

    When politicians, particularly of a party which used to be famous for its stance on “law and order” repeatedly cuts back on police resoources One begins to wonder what they hope to cover up.

  37. I agree totally with Frederic Stansfield. There has to be a major concern that ‘cover up’ and corruption of the kind alluded to here is still happening today.
    I have never quite understood the mindset of the authorities in wanting to protect people in prominent and powerful positions. Why on earth does the police not feel an obligation to do its utmost to help to remove such people from their positions as soon as possible? It does rather feed the impression that they have much to hide themselves.

  38. Graham – it’s only fair to say that most of the evidence has come to light thanks to retired police officers in the cases of Cyril Smith, Leon Brittan et al and the on going Elm Guest House VIP paedo ring.

    It was their senior officers or Special Branch who stopped them and took files away (presumably on orders from above).

    I was a little surprised to hear people saying on Monday that they’d never heard these rumours before though.

    I was also amused to hear the guy who runs Heath’s house/charity say it wasn’t possible simply because he had his diary. After all, John Major’s PPS didn’t know he was having an affair with Edwina Currie. Protection officers are paid to protect and not to divulge secrets.

  39. Lancs Observer
    ‘It was their senior officers or Special Branch who stopped them and took files away (presumably on orders from above).’
    But why would senior officers and Special Branch wish to protect such people? Why would they not wish to see them exposed and removed from their positions of influence? It can but raise suspicions that a fair few senior Police personnel were likely to be implicated themselves.

  40. ‘It can but raise suspicions that a fair few senior Police personnel were likely to be implicated themselves.’

    In every single alleged case, the most striking thing is that when the police were told about it, none of them wanted anything to do with it

    It’s clear that the current so-called police investigations have one aim and one aim only – and that’s to limit the huge damage that such revelations will do to the police’s already tattered credibility.

    People are bound to suspect police complicity with these alleged crimes

  41. I wonder whether Tim Jones appreciates the intense pressure that “whistleblowers” come under, in relation to child abuse and other matters. Too many people, indeed most people, just turn a blind eye in the hope of a quiet life, and indeed put pressure on whistleblowers “not to upset the apple cart.” That is before we get to any senior people who are playing political games or who are actively involved in wrongdoing..

    Incidentally, whilst a generation ago the police were, I suspect, “up to their necks” in these matters, a large number of the police are now conscientious and indeed put themselves out to see that justice is done. Indeed, much of what is coming out now may be because police officers, and perhaps particularly retired police officers, are belatedly digging up dreadful events that were covered up in the past. and which they now wish to see put right.

  42. Imagine if three of your heroes were Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris and Ted Heath (a Lib Dem in their forties maybe?). Must be a shocker…

  43. I don’t share Frederic’s rosy view of today’s police force (sorry service), and I suspect I’m far from alone on the centre right on that.

    I remain highly supportive of the ordinary officers at the sharp end but higher up the police have turned into a rotten, incompetent, highly politicised, obsessively politically correct organisation focused on things which most ordinary people consider to be the wrong priorities. The police are now lobbying 24/7 over resources, to the extent that I even saw an advert on a bus here in Sussex during the GE put there by Sussex Constabulary moaning about funding cuts. The police are also riddled with freemasonary which I’m sure accounts for some of the foot dragging on child abuse in the past.

    A generation ago, Conservative voters would have been the staunchest of staunch supporters of the police but that is no longer the case.

  44. FS is right.

    Graham – well there are sometimes legitimate operational reasons why an individual isn’t pursued (if for example a larger criminal outfit or Mr Big is being surveilled and arresting someone lower down the chain would alert them and may jeopardise the large operation). Usually as a cog in the wheel a plod may not be aware of what CID or Special Branch are doing and can’t usually question their superiors.

    I can’t see any legitimate reason why Cyril Smith wasn’t prosecuted though. That’s why a retired officer has now repeated that his file was removed by two men in suits. Equally the Geoffrey Dickens file went missing and no doubt the Goddard CSE Inquiry will hear from many similar instances.

    Yes, its possible a now dead Chief Con may be implicated, but from what I’ve heard those in the VIP ring were higher than that, ie Judges, MPs, Peers and diplomats. So, unlike Hillsborough I doubt the primary fault/failure will be the police’s, even though individual officers aided a cover up / failure to prosecute.

  45. Although I also agree with HH re more recent failures to prosecute. Fahey in GMP is a prime example of the PC type HH refers to and Simon Danczuk called for him to go earlier this year for being “far too liberal.” Fahy announced his retirement a month later, although he’s denied it was related to GMP failings in relation to CSE in Rochdale or Manc.

  46. I have some sympathy with Hemmelig’s comments. Certainly the police in my part of the world have lost a huge amount of respect over the last 20 or so years thanks to their attitude. People who would have helped them without a second thought a generation ago might be much more reluctant to now – there has been a real loss of trust.

    And much seriously, re. collusion in serious crimes we have the appalling recent example of the South Yorks force re. Rotherham.

  47. ‘Yes, its possible a now dead Chief Con may be implicated, but from what I’ve heard those in the VIP ring were higher than that, ie Judges, MPs, Peers and diplomats’

    But none of those VIPs have any direct authority on the Police. Only senior officials within the Home Office o or Home Office Ministers – could do that. Why would such people want to aid & abet a cover-up – unless implicated themselves?

  48. Graham – Well in terms of intervening in prosecutions, all do and have done.

    As soon as a case reaches the CPS from a police force, or a private prosecution is brought, the Attorney General can intervene and stop it [as happened with Barrymnore].

    Judges can stop trials or direct Juries to acquit [usually for technical reasons, but there are examples which are questionable].

    I agree, it should only be rare instances and by the Home Secretary prefereably; but, there’ve been cases where the Security Service has intervened on behalf of a diplomat etc.

    My point is it does go on and there are rare legitimate reasons why it can, but sadly that also means there will be undocumented cases of it happening to.

    You seem to be missing the point that a lower down officer who eg, removes the file isn’t choosing to do so – it’s an order – so it’s not what he ‘wants’ to do. It doesn’t even enter into the equation.

    Now your point does raise an interesting consequence: that there must be many living individuals who have knowledge, from drivers of official cars to retired officers and so on. Many are now coming forward, but some will be afraid to do so.

  49. Lancs Observer

    I am not missing the point at all re- junior police officers. It is quite clear to me that it is senior officers – usually very senior officers – who have taken these decisions.
    I also accept that judges can intervene – but only when a case has been referred to them. It is unlikely that they could do so on their own initiative! Re- jury trials – the point surely is that these cases almost never progress that far.

  50. H. Hemmelig,thanks for mentioning freemasonry. Despite the huge amount of newspaper coverage in the newspapers about child abuse over the past years mention of closed societies like the freemasons has been conspicuous by its absence.

    The scale of the scandal, and its cover-up for many years is only explicable if very powerful organisations are putting on pressure to prevent investgigations and to prevent prosecutions. The number of organisations that can operate at this level is small; but it does include the Freemasons and similar organisations on the sidelines of other religions including Catholicisim, Judaism and, Islam.

    I have no partiicular evidence of freemason involvement in particulalr cases, and I doubt i every member of the Freemasons or a similar organisation is complicit in wrongdoing. However, the matter needs investigating as part of a wider enquiry.

    A particular issue is the existence, for understandable historical reasons, of cell-like organisations with initiation rites. It is too easy for people with bad intentions to take over parts of such organisations and to seriously harm outsiders as a result.

    In relation to the police, they used to be absolutely riddled with freemasonry.. However, my understanding is that following scandals in the 1980s there are regulations for the police to declare interests as a result of which the current generation of the police are perhaps “cleaner” than peple in some other areas of life.

    Finally, we should not overlook the involvement of political parties and not least the Westminster whips’ offices. One wonders whether there have been advantages to the Whips of having MPs who have things to be ashamed of and who can therefore be blackmailed. This needs to be sorted out, possibly to the extent of creating new parties that can supplant the old ones. The rise of the SNP and recent developments in countries like Italy shows that this can be done..

    Thes matters need to be dealt with by general investigations reporting within a reasonable timescale, not just prosecution of individual cases.

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