Penrith & The Border

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26202 (59.7%)
Labour: 6308 (14.4%)
Lib Dem: 3745 (8.5%)
Green: 2313 (5.3%)
UKIP: 5353 (12.2%)
MAJORITY: 19894 (45.3%)

Category: Ultra-safe Conservative seat

Geography: North West, Cumbria. The whole of Eden council area, part of the Carlisle council area and part of Allerdale.

Main population centres: Penrith, Brampton, Longtown, Wigtown, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen.

Profile: A geographically huge constituency at the extreme north-west of England. The seat comprises the whole of Eden District council, most of the rural parts of Carlisle Council (Carlisle constituency is almost entirely surrounded by Penrith & the Border) and part of Allerdale. The largest population centre is the town of Penrith itself, along with smaller market towns. The seat is sparsely populated and largely dependent on agriculture and the tourism industry in the Lake District.

Politics: A safe Conservative seat, held by the party since the 1920s. Former MPs include Thatcher`s deputy Prime Minister Willie Whitelaw and former Conservative Chief Whip David Maclean.


Current MP
RORY STEWART (Conservative) Born 1973, Hong Kong. Educated at Eton and Oxford University. Former army officer, diplomat, Harvard professor, deputy governor of Maysan province, Iraq and Chief executive of an Afghanistan regeneration NGO.. First elected as MP for Penrith and the Border in 2010. Junior Minister for Environment and Rural Affairs since 2015. Awarded the OBE 2004 for service in Iraq.
Past Results
2010
Con: 24071 (53%)
Lab: 5834 (13%)
LDem: 12830 (28%)
UKIP: 1259 (3%)
Oth: 1093 (2%)
MAJ: 11241 (25%)
2005*
Con: 24046 (51%)
Lab: 8958 (19%)
LDem: 12142 (26%)
UKIP: 1187 (3%)
Oth: 549 (1%)
MAJ: 11904 (25%)
2001
Con: 24302 (55%)
Lab: 8177 (18%)
LDem: 9625 (22%)
UKIP: 938 (2%)
Oth: 1207 (3%)
MAJ: 14677 (33%)
1997
Con: 23300 (48%)
Lab: 10576 (22%)
LDem: 13067 (27%)
MAJ: 10233 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
RORY STEWART (Conservative) See above.
LEE RUSHWORTH (Labour) Educated at Wirral Metropolitan College. Civil servant.
NEIL HUGHES (Liberal Democrat)
JOHN STANYER (UKIP) Born Chester. Hotelier and farmer. Contested Penrith and the Border 2010.
BRIAN BURROW (Green)
Links
Comments - 72 Responses on “Penrith & The Border”
  1. Heidi Allen would likely as not split the party and/or resuscitate UKIP if she were elected leader.

    Haven’t we all just learnt the lesson that you don’t win elections by occupying the centre?

  2. I cant see Heidi Allen getting 20 mp’s to vote for her let alone the party. Unlikely the next leader will not be selected via the membership vote.

  3. Polltroll
    “Heidi Allen would likely as not split the party and/or resuscitate UKIP if she were elected leader”
    Admittedly very possible.

    “Haven’t we all just learnt the lesson that you don’t win elections by occupying the centre?”
    What I’m about to say may sound like the biggest bunch of hypocritical nonsense ever but I swear there is some logic to it.

    For Lab the solution is clearly to go bold and radical, have a pitch full of populist economic policies to win over floating voters and distract from weak spots like immigration. The issue for the Tories is that they can’t really go populist, the public are clearly quite left wing economically so the Tories can’t start pitching a flat tax, the abolition of corporation tax or heavens forbid NHS privatisation and expect electoral dividends. They could try tot take advantage of the publics social conservatism and start pitching the reintroduction of the death penalty, national service for social delinquents, ID cards for all immigrants etc but that makes them come across as borderline fascists and could very well backfire. Also I imagine May probably mopped up a lot of that vote anyway, I doubt there is much more to be gained at least not without peeving off more of your liberally minded supporters than you pick up socially conservative ones.

    To conclude the Tories can’t really pitch populist right wing polices (in the present climate) thus the alternative is to resurrect the true one nation conservatism of the pre Thatcher days(not the Cameroon imitation) A socially conscious Tory party that isn’t afraid to acknowledge the markets failings and intervene, one that truly appreciates the role of the public sector and of trade unions and doesn’t just tolerate them but actually forges alliances with them, one that knows what fairness means and thus will seriously consider tax rises for the wealthy etc This pitch could very well pull the rug totally from under Lab and win over the “middle class liberal” vote that probably wants to vote Tory but is driven away by the “nasty party” image which lets be fair May didn’t exactly hide this election. If nothing else it has the potential to really eat into Labs public sector vote which these days forms the bedrock of their electoral coalition.

  4. It seems, Rivers, like you want the Conservative Party to become the Labour Party. If the Conservative Party ever appealed to people like you then it would not be doing a very good job of being the Conservative Party.

    I suppose it is possible that we are on the cusp of another worldwide economic revolution – it seems that, having had paradigm shifts led by Keynes in the 1940’s, and then Friedman in the 1980’s, there could be a Piketty-inspired realignment in favour of social democracy in the 2020’s. In which case the Conservatives will probably spend a while out of power until they have worked out how to win again, and/or the Labour government runs out of money. Then we could see a rolling back of the Thatcherite settlement. But the Tories aren’t going to do this in power because they are the Tories, and even out of power I’d put my money on the public getting disillusioned with socialism before the Tories get disillusioned with supply-side economics.*

    *I’m calling it “supply-side economics” because the left has utterly hijacked the word “neoliberalism” to mean “things the evil Tories do”. It’s a tainted word which precludes rational argument.

  5. “It seems, Rivers, like you want the Conservative Party to become the Labour Party”
    Not at all, indeed what I’m proposing has been floated by many a Tory including Heidi Allen herself, in her speech in parliament in response to the Queens speech she talked about how her party needs to “radically change” how she wants to create a “Tory party people want to vote for not just one they feel they have to vote for” and how “Labour have clearly tapped into something and we (the Tories) would be foolish to ignore it” hence I very much imagine a Heidi Allen or Ruth Davidson Tory party would do what I just proposed.

    “I suppose it is possible that we are on the cusp of another worldwide economic revolution”
    Its looking increasingly likely

    “I’d put my money on the public getting disillusioned with socialism before the Tories get disillusioned with supply-side economics*
    I agree and one only has to look at the Lab party to see that, socialism never died in the Lab party, indeed I’ve always argued its been dominant, its just that the Blairites ruthlessly hid it, we could very well see something similar in a more moderate Tory party. A façade being imposed against the will of the party at large who still very much support Thatcherism.

  6. Heidi Allen is not a conservative and was within one vote of being deselected ahead of the last election. I would be surprised if she stayed an MP for that long.

  7. Peter
    That sounds very similar to what many in Labour think/thought of Tony Blair.

  8. Rivers: “Labour have clearly tapped into something and we would be foolish to ignore it”

    She’s right of course, but you are presenting a classic false dichotomy. Of course the Conservatives shouldn’t ignore the Labour Party but that does not mean they should copy it. In fact it was generally the most redistributive policies in the manifesto that got them the most negative publicity. They got far, far more criticism for a social care plan that was effectively an inheritance tax, taking unearned wealth back into the hands of the state, than they did for cutting corporation tax for the umpteenth time. Personally I will defend the Tories’ social care policy all day, it needed refinement but the core idea that unearned wealth should pay for undeserved disease was the right one. But unfortunately it was communicated poorly and the Tories, having had their fingers so badly burnt, are never going to try it again.

  9. @ Peter Crawford

    “Heidi Allen is not a conservative and was within one vote of being deselected ahead of the last election.”

    As one of her constituents, I have never heard of an attempt to deselect her, and cannot find anything from a search of ‘Heidi Allen deslection’. And I find your claim surprising in the light of what I know of the Conservatives locally; they tend to be more centist than most, which is part of the reason she was selected in South Cambs in the first place.

    Can you provide more detail or evidence?

  10. I dont remember hearing of Heidi Allen being among the torries who survived serious deselection threats in April.

  11. It would be sensational if true, but all I can find is this:

    https://www.southcambridgeshireconservatives.org.uk/news/heidi-allen-selected

  12. Polltroll
    I don’t think the issue with the Dementia Tax was its redistributive nature I think (as you point out) it was the way it was presented which was frankly god awful, the associated U turns following it only made it worse. Aside from that though the other big drags in the Tory manifesto were not at all redistributive such as bringing back fox hunting, scrapping the pension triple lock and taking away free school meals all of which in my experience went down very badly on the doorstep.

    I reiterate though there is no need for the Tories to copy Labour they just need to be (for lack of a better way of putting it) less dickish.

  13. Labour has gained Alston Moor ward in a by-election tonight (full votes not yet in). This is apparently the first time Labour has won a seat on Eden district council, or at least it’s the first time in decades.

  14. “Heidi Allen is not a conservative and was within one vote of being deselected ahead of the last election. I would be surprised if she stayed an MP for that long.”

    I guess that the Tories are just better at hushing-up all the stories about their MPs being threatened with deselection by their party activist extremists 🙂

  15. It’s now six weeks since the claim about Heidi Allen’s near de-selection (1st July, above) but not a shred of evidence yet to support it.

    Just to repeat my request as above…..

  16. Peter has a disturbing trait of inventing facts to support his argumemts i too can’t find anything about Ms Allen and de-selection

    Seems fictional to me

  17. It seems very far fetched. I understand that she’s no favourite of the right wing of the Tory party, but she appears a good fit for this seat.

  18. ‘I understand that she’s no favourite of the right wing of the Tory party’

    The right-wing of the Tory party don’t seem to understand that nobody really likes them, except themselves.

  19. Cheesus,

    That’s a horribly inaccurate overgeneralisation.

    Lots of people on the right don’t like each other.

  20. “Peter has a disturbing trait of inventing facts to support his argumemts…”

    I think they’re caled “alternative facts” these days 😉

  21. Also not a very appropriate comment for this forum

  22. ‘Also not a very appropriate comment for this forum’

    It would though be good to hear from Peter – whose been absent for a couple of days now – but I’m sure its just an honest mistake rather than mischief making on his part

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