Orpington

2015 Result:
Conservative: 28152 (57.4%)
Labour: 7645 (15.6%)
Lib Dem: 3330 (6.8%)
Green: 1732 (3.5%)
UKIP: 8173 (16.7%)
MAJORITY: 19979 (40.7%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

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

Main population centres: Orpington, Petts Wood, Farnborough, Chelsfield, Biggin Hill, St Mary Cray.

Profile: Geographically the largest seat in London, Orpington is the south-eastern corner of London and large parts of it are open Kent countryside between Farnborough and Biggin Hill aerodrome , though the electorate is mostly leafy suburbia. It covers Orpington itself, Petts Wood, Farnborough, Chelsfield, Biggin Hill and the more industrial St Mary Cray, dominated by retail parks and only area in the seat to consistently return non-Conservative councillors..

Politics: As an affluent area with a high owner occupier rate and little social housing this might be expected to be solidly Conservative territory, Orpington though holds a special place in the traditions of the third party. Eric Lubbock`s famous victory for the Liberal party in the 1962 by-election saved the Liberal party from what had seemed like an inevitable slow death. It returned to the Conservative party in 1970 (Lubbock inherited a peerage shortly afterwards as Lord Avebury), but remained a Liberal target for many years afterwards. In the 1990s and 2000s Chris Maines of the Liberal Democrats fought this seat four times on the trot, in 2001 narrowing the Conservative majority to only 269. In 2010 though Maines went to fight pastures new in Lewisham East and the Liberal Democrats appeared to turn their attention elsewhere, allowing new Conservative candidate Jo Johnson to acheive a towering majority.


Current MP
JO JOHNSON (Conservative) Born 1971, London, brother of Boris Johnson. Educated at Eton and Oxford University. Former Journalist. First elected as MP for Orpington in 2010. Government whip 2012-2014, Minister of State at the Cabinet office 2014-2015. Head of the Downing Street Policy Unit since 2013, Minister of State for Universities since 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 29200 (60%)
Lab: 4400 (9%)
LDem: 12000 (25%)
UKIP: 1360 (3%)
Oth: 1951 (4%)
MAJ: 17200 (35%)
2005*
Con: 26718 (49%)
Lab: 4914 (9%)
LDem: 21771 (40%)
UKIP: 1331 (2%)
MAJ: 4947 (9%)
2001
Con: 22334 (44%)
Lab: 5517 (11%)
LDem: 22065 (43%)
UKIP: 996 (2%)
MAJ: 269 (1%)
1997
Con: 24417 (41%)
Lab: 10753 (18%)
LDem: 21465 (36%)
Oth: 1211 (2%)
MAJ: 2952 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
JO JOHNSON (Conservative) See above.
NIGEL DE GRUCHY (Labour) Born 1943, Jersey. Educated at De La Salle College and Reading University. Former General Secretary of the NASUWT.
PETER BROOKS (Liberal Democrat)
IDHAM RAMADI (UKIP) Born 1978. Educated at St Marys CoE High School, Hendon. Local government officer.
TAMARA GALLOWAY (Green) Born 1967, Farnborough. Contested Orpington 2010.
Links
Comments - 181 Responses on “Orpington”
  1. ‘I recall a study about a year ago that named Ceredigion and St Albans the most pro-EU parts of the country.’

    Outside London and Scotland that’s not a bad call

    St Albans must be one of the most pro EU towns without a university in it and despite being in the middle of Wales, Ceredigion is actually one of Wales most middle class seats with a thriving public sector

  2. To be fair the old law school used to be in St Albans

  3. Labour candidate for GE2017 is Nigel de Gruchy.

  4. Jo Johnson has resigned from the government – as he is unable to support the government over Brexit.

  5. A sign perhaps that many on both wings of the Tory party find the current Chequers plan unpalatable. Johnson Jr also came out strongly in favour of a second referendum.

  6. I was just wondering earlier today whether Theresa May has the votes of the Soubry squad locked in for whatever deal she comes back with. With the amount of support she is going to get from Labour seemingly shrinking as grassroots pressure to oppose her grows, this really could be the final nail in the coffin.

    It’s a highly unpredictable vote, but the direction of travel is clear (and not good for May).

  7. I can’t see a deal being actually defeated in a commons vote – if defeat looks likely the deal will not get voted on.

  8. I disagree. There’s been a lot of talk about an exhaustive process. So it may be voted down but after alot of twoing and throwing the deal will be accepted. Bit like the US bailout

  9. I think that’s right.

    When we really are staring right down the barrel of no-deal I think enough MPs on both sides will blink.

    Chaotic no-deal Brexit would make the winter of discontent look like a walk in the park and would ruin the Tories’ electability for a generation, exactly as those few months in 1979 destroyed Labour for almost two decades.

    Labour moderates with strongly Remain seats would not easily be able to look their electorates in the eye having effectively voted to enable no deal. Also in reality they might not be very enthusiastic to precipitate the hard left Corbyn government that would become almost inevitable in such an eventuality.

    Labour MPs in Leave seats might not be very popular were their vote to lead to a second referendum and “Remain after all” winning.

    I think a few Lib Dems may in the end vote for the deal, Stephen Lloyd already indicated he probably will, others in Leave-leaning seats like Norman Lamb may be under pressure to do likewise.

  10. Not sure about remain seat Labour moderates backing it – their comments yesterday don’t suggest they will.
    The most likely Labour backers will be the moderates in Leave seats, Mp’s like Caroline Flint and Gareth Snell.

  11. I don’t think I can remember a parliamentary vote where so many factions could go either way for so many different reasons.

    The pro-chequers coalition spans Michael Gove and Lisa Nandy. The anti-Chequers coalition is even more politically diverse. It’s likely to come down to a handful of complete wildcards. Who knows how Frank Field will vote? What about Lady Sylvia Hermon?

  12. Frank Field tends to vote the same way as Kate Hoey who is opposed to the deal so I will predict he might vote to reject it.
    Lady Sylvia Hermon is a hard one to predict she leans for the deal I suspect but might be worried about how her constituents will react to it.

  13. Is Lisa Nandy pro chequers? Michael Gove is rumoured to rejected Brexit Sec and might resign

  14. Jo Johnson comfortably survived a vote of confidence on Friday night at his AGM.

  15. Jo Johnson appointed by his brother as a junior minster in both the Business and Educations departments. And he will attend cabinet.

  16. Interesting that Jo Johnson seems to have abandoned all his anti-Brexit stance completely to help get his brother elected – so yet another unprincipled opportunist in government

  17. Wonder what Rachel thinks…

  18. Tbf all of the other Johnsons (particularly the Dad and sister) have been very vocal Remainers.

  19. Jo Johnson is to stand down as both a minister and an MP at the next election.

  20. I think Boris Johnson will come to massively regret his tactical decision (or rather that of Cummings) to rid the party of its pro-EU wing

    It will cut off (or at least it should) all those socially liberal, economically dry, affluent pro-business voters that the Tories have more or less taken for granted since WW2

    Surely that’s a more numerous group, than the handful of WWC no-deal supporters who don’t already vote Tory

  21. Moreover, I feel these WWC voters are quite fickle (which I do not mean as an insult). They’re largely transactional voters who will do business with whomever is offering them what they want. This is quite different for the FT types who used to be the Tory core vote. They are the sort of voter who have a certain worldview that Brexit has punctured, you can’t bring them back onside just by offering them tax cuts (not that there is a whole lot of wriggle room on that front anyway).

  22. The centre isn’t a large group in the electorate.

    I think it’s simply because they are affluent that they get a disproportionate amount of airtime and influence.

    Max Hastings was just on agreeing with an ex-New Labour SpAd that it’s, “an appalling choice” at the GE [of a socialist v a Conservative].

    Whereas of course polls and votes show that 86%+ chose that in 2017 and only 7.5% chose the LD option.

    The centre has been overrepresented in the parties’ Parliamentary Parties for 30 years+.

  23. ‘The centre has been overrepresented in the parties’ Parliamentary Parties for 30 years’.

    Simplistic rubbish, but I wouldn’t expect anything better.

  24. Or alternatively, the *real* centre, the actual opinions of the median British voter, are severely underrepresented.

    The average British voter is in favour of higher taxes on the rich and the nationalisation of public services; hates poverty but is sceptical of welfare and believes that fulfilling work is the best solution; and opposes uncontrolled migration but has nothing against individual immigrants. Basically Frank Field.

    And there’s only one Frank Field in parliament.

  25. The fact that 82% of voters chose either Lab or Con in 2017 does not mean that they all really loved one or other of those platforms. The number of people who thought the Conservative manifesto in that election was a good one was… (let’s see, Theresa May, Nick Timothy, maybe Philip May at a push, he always seemed pretty supportive…) a long, long way short of the 13 million people who voted Conservative.

  26. PT – I doubt many (except perhaps Clegg & Blair) disagree that there are two blocs of voters eg 35%-40% socialist v 35%-45% Cons.

    Tristan – simply a fact, but I am used to you ignoring ones you don’t like. Thankfully they don’t cease to be facts simply because you do not like them!

    Blair, DC, LD Leaders agreed on most of the big issues from immigration to Europe to State intervention to grammar schools to climate change over the past 30 years.
    Chunks of voters on the Left and Right did not and indeed only perhaps 30 MPs on either side in the House agreed with them on renationalisation or Better Off Out or opposing the smoking ban and a whole host of issues, hence the rise of UKIP on the Right. I concede that the rise of the Left was self-inflicted by Blair over Iraq etc.

    PT – it was 86% as I said. 88% if you add the DUP & UKIP.

  27. PT – incidentally I agree Frank Field’s views are popular but certainly would never style them as centrist.

    The only large studies I am aware of [Goodwin following on from the Ashcroft poll of polls] placed him and the DUP (high spending but tough on crime/immigration/the EU/etc) on the populist Right.

    The Left’s policies were popular (when not proposed by JC or JMc).

    So as I said two large chunks of voters.

    Now you could argue that both should aim for the 7.5% (or 18% Paddy polled) in the middle if you like; but, of course to enact their policies would be to ignore the 80% on both sides. Although I realise that would suit Adonis/Hezza/Mandy/Blair and most Party Leaders over the past quarter of a century.

    We’ve tried the LDs in a Coalition. I’m amazed some on here think the centre is what a bulk of voters are yearning for, just because you happen to be.

  28. ‘Moreover, I feel these WWC voters are quite fickle’

    They will be the first to complain and probably riot once they find out that a no deal Brexit is far from the land of milk and honey scenario the likes of Johnson, Trump and Farage are claiming

    Their current love for Johnson will quickly turn to hated once they start losing their jobs and start paying three times as much for everyday goods than they do now

    I just hope none of them have the nerve to say ‘people never told us it would be like this’

  29. It’s been clarified to the lobby that he is standing down at the next GE ie not doing an O’Mara.

  30. Lancs: my whole point is that there is a big gap in “the centre” – but “the centre” isn’t where self-described centrists say it is.

  31. Most people – whether on the Left or Right – refer to themselves as centrists – so it is a bit of an undefined term

    I always thought I was a centrist – but I’ve taken the ‘find my tribe’ test on electoral calculus no less than 3 tomes and each of those times I haven’t come out as a centrist but as a ‘kind young capitalist’ which isn’t personally where I would have placed myself

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