Rayleigh & Wickford

2015 Result:
Conservative: 29088 (54.7%)
Labour: 6705 (12.6%)
Lib Dem: 1622 (3%)
Green: 1529 (2.9%)
UKIP: 11858 (22.3%)
Independent: 2418 (4.5%)
MAJORITY: 17230 (32.4%)

Category: Very safe Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Essex.

Main population centres:



Current MP
MARK FRANCOIS (Conservative) Born 1965, Islington. Educated at Nicholas Comprehensive School and Bristol University. Former lobbyist. Basildon councillor 1991-1995. Contested Brent East 1997. First elected as MP for Rayleigh in 2001. Opposition whip 1993-1994, Shadow Minister for Europe 2007-2010. Government whip 2010-2012, Minister for Defence Personnel 2012-2015. Minister of State for Communities and Resilience since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 30257 (58%)
Lab: 7577 (14%)
LDem: 7919 (15%)
UKIP: 2211 (4%)
Oth: 4379 (8%)
MAJ: 22338 (43%)
Con: 25609 (55%)
Lab: 10883 (24%)
LDem: 7406 (16%)
UKIP: 2295 (5%)
MAJ: 14726 (32%)
Con: 21434 (50%)
Lab: 13144 (31%)
LDem: 6614 (15%)
UKIP: 1581 (4%)
MAJ: 8290 (19%)
Con: 25516 (50%)
Lab: 14832 (29%)
LDem: 10137 (20%)
Oth: 829 (2%)
MAJ: 10684 (21%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005, name changed from Rayleigh

2015 Candidates
MARK FRANCOIS (Conservative) See above.
MIKE PITT (Liberal Democrat) Born 1975. Educated at Cambridge University. Teacher. Cambridge councillor 2007-2011 and since 2012. Contested Bedfordshire North East 2010.
LINDA KENDALL (Independent)
Comments - 65 Responses on “Rayleigh & Wickford”
  1. UKIP have gained Thundersley from the Tories.
    I’m not sure it’s in this seat though.
    UKIP also polling well in Castle Point
    but early indications show Cons holding better in Essex than Lincolnshire.

  2. The Greens have apparently won a seat in Rayleigh. Didn’t realise they had any significant support there.

  3. They have been doing well in Hullbridge for a while now. I presume that it is where the gain occurred.

  4. Thundersley is the northern part of Benfleet. UKIP won the southern seat as well. I suggested on the old site that Castle Point was the best chance of UKIP winning a parliamentary seat. The Canvey Island Independents (also with a county seat) will vote UKIP at a general election.

    The Green victory is in Rochford West (not Rayleigh), which as Barnaby rightly says includes Hullbridge, as well as a big NIMBY anti-development row.

  5. John Is right. Castle Point and this seat are ripe for UKIP. They are both right wing and have clearly responded well to the straight talking attitude of UKIP rather than the flowery nonsense that the Tories seem to be saying.

    The green victory in Rochford is probably directly linked to the government trying to dump more houses on the South Essex green belt.

  6. Prediction for 2015-
    Francois (Conservative)- 53%
    UKIP- 18%
    Labour- 15%
    Liberal Democrats- 9%
    English Democrats- 3%
    BNP- 2%

  7. Could UKIP get 15%+ here in 2015? I think they could potentially come third at least here.

  8. Yes, the results, they could do that well…also, regarding your other comment, I am unsure whether the English Democrats will contest this seat again; ever since Peter Davies (mayor of Doncaster from 2009 to 2013) quit the English Democrats over an influx of ex-BNP members, the English Democrats appear to have largely collapsed and only a few branches outside of Doncaster appear to be functioning. If they re-contest, they will likely get less than half their 2010 vote share.

  9. In the old Rayleigh seat, the Referendum Party did not stand, but if they had I think given the obvious Euroscepticism here, they would have got over 5%.

  10. The English Democrat candidate who did well here last time and has also had some very good performances in local elections in this area is now a member of UKIP

  11. I find Essex politics interesting. I don’t know why LOL

  12. The Results – I’d say at least that, as UKIP/BNP/ED polled 12.5% here even in 2010.

  13. Indeed. In my prediction I have estimated them knocking on the door of 20%.

  14. Intriguing statistics here…


    shows East Anglia as not particularly fussed about the EU either way and the Southwest not particularly ruffled either.. and yet some in here have been positing UKIP surges in both parts…

  15. Probably down to dodgy or unweighted sub-samples. IN any cae opposition to the EU isn’t necessarily the biggest driver of UKIP support. I don’t think it is a figment of anybody’s imagination that UKIP have recently performed best in the Eastern region and have a long history of doing well in the South West

  16. Pete – more to the point, tiny unweighted sub-samples. As far as I can see it’s just the crossbreaks from a standard poll, so will just be reflecting random sample variation. Very silly indeed. Putting figures into a pretty map doesn’t suddenly make them reliable.

  17. The candidates in the old Rochford seat in 1992-
    (Source: Guardian)
    Michael Clark (Conservative)
    Nicholas Harris (Liberal Democrat)
    Donald Quinn (Labour)
    Linda Farmer (Liberal)

  18. Not sure about that map

    Wales isn’t as Euroskeptic as that map paints it, and I would not have thought that the South East would be that Euroskeptic either, simply due to the amount of business there

    And as Pete says, UKIP have recently performed best in the Eastern region and have a history of doing well in the South West – which given its demographics – retired voters etc – is probably the most Euroskeptic region of the country

  19. Yes the historical precedent was there for them, with the Referendum Party’s performance across Essex in 1997.

  20. Labour GAIN

  21. Labour did gain a seat on the local Rochford district council this year – but it was in the Rochford & E Southend constituency not this one. It was perhaps surprisingly in Rochford itself, the party’s first win there for years – generally Labour had done rather better in Great Wakering (which I think is in the same constituency) than in Rochford, though the Tories have usually won both areas.

  22. Great Wakering & Rochford wards are both in Southend East. As Barnaby says there are Labour votes in both, and their addition to the Southend East constituency therefore made no political difference to that seat.

    Rochford ward covers the old town, including the only sizable council estate in the whole of Rochford District. The newer more conservative west of the town remains in Rayleigh & Wickford.

    This seat is a much poorer UKIP prospect than the Thamesside seats further south, as it is more prosperous, and stuffed with middle class commuters to London.

  23. This is one of the safest Tory seats in the country. If not the absolute safest. UKIP will do nothing significant here.

  24. That 12.5% share that went to UKIP, the English Democrats and dare I say it the BNP will surely be heading to UKIP in 2015. Not saying that 4.1% of voters are fascists, but more likely a small share of disillusioned WWC voters registering a protest of some sort without really looking at the BNP’s policies. There was a bit of BNP support in Rotherham during the previous decade, practically all has been swept away and now UKIP has emerged as the main opposition (who obviously won former Labour support).

    If UKIP manages to win that share plus gnaw into support for the three main parties, they can finish a distant second next year.

  25. agreed. re. distant 2nd for UKIP, but the tories aren’t going to be in any real threat…I can see UKIP coming 2nd to the tories in quite a few tory strongholds next year, btw

  26. I think Rochford has been better for Labour than Great Wakering for around a decade now – given the size of the old wards, I suspect Labour relied pretty heavily on personal votes in the latter. I’m surprised and pleased we managed to take it this time, because we’d got close on several occasions and I’d assumed we would have fallen back due to UKIP this year.

    As for UKIP and the far-right, it’s worth noting that one of the successful UKIP candidates this year had previously stood as an English Democrat in the same ward, so it’s pretty clear there’s a lot of cross-over here.

  27. The Eng Dem organiser is now a UKIP councillor so don’t expect the same showing from them unlikely to stand at all. Lab support likely to hold up in Rochford ward but that is outside of the seat. I would expect UKIP 20% with an easy Tory win.

  28. Might Mark Francois perhaps be another UKIP defector?

  29. I wouldn’t have thought so, but I suppose it’s possible.

    He is a eurosceptic but is also a Minister and not a serial rebel, so wouldn’t really fit the mould of other defectors thus far in that respect

  30. I don’t think you make Party Whip without your loyalty being well and truly assured!

  31. A bit of a long shot I thought to be honest.

  32. I suppose he’d obviously have to resign a minister some time before, so in that case it does indeed seem unlikely.

  33. UKIP could come second here quite easily, but probably won’t be anywhere near mounting a big challenge to Mark Francois I don’t think.

  34. I forsee a UKIP surge here to be honest.

    Con- 54%
    UKIP- 22%
    Lab- 16%
    Lib- 6%
    ED- 1%
    others- 1%

  35. I grew up a very short distance from this constituency.

    Rayleigh is a fairly attractive, reasonably affluent commuter town which is prime territory for the Tories. Hockley (a small neighbouring town which I believe is in this constituency) is even more upmarket and is solidly Conservative. Wickford is rather less attractive but it still appears hard for any other party to get a foothold there.

    I must say that I am surprised at the level of support that UKIP etc received even in 2010. This area always struck me as ‘small c Conservative’ rather than hugely Euro sceptic or particularly right wing. As with Southend West however, it’s impossible to see UKIP seriously challenging the Tories in this seat. The more affluent parts of South Essex seem to still have well organised Conservative associations and a very solid base.

  36. Well with the BNP, UKIP and ED collectively on 12.5% in 2010, I really can’t see UKIP getting less than 20% here. However my brother lives in this seat, and I agree with Tristan’s comments.

    I think whatever Labour vote still exists here, is a pretty middle class ideological vote and thus not that susceptible to UKIP, apart from on the very few council estates ( or are they social housing estates now?), in the constituency

  37. Ian, you are almost certainly correct in your analysis of the Labour vote in this seat and similar seats in Essex. There is very little council/ public housing in Rayleigh, and I would imagine that the folk that live in such housing would be a pretty mixed bunch politically (and not solidly voting for Labour as might be expected in a Northern constituency). The Labour voters in constituencies like this are people like my parents…middle class public sector workers who vote Labour for ideological reasons, and would not dream of voting UKIP.

  38. I think this one was a missed opportunity for UKIP personally. Where they stood candidates last May they picked up huge votes often unseating long standing councillors. The only reason they didn’t come up with more seats is that they didn’t stand a full set of candidates.

    I imagined that they would organise themselves to do much better this time around and severely hamper Fracois majority. However not much sign of activity (one UKIP leaflet) and no better on the candidate front either (7 out of 13 if memory serves well).

    A good demonstration of how new parties can struggle to get local momentum and how FPTP punishes this.

  39. If UKIP were to make the breakthrough here, it would be huge for UKIP, as Rayleigh itself is actually a reasonably prosperous town. It would change the narrative that UKIP can only do very well in ‘left behind’, undesirable areas.

  40. The Lib Dems are so weak in this seat that they’ve had to select a Cambridge councillor!

  41. I lived there for years (in Hockley but it is similar) and my parents still vote there. Ukip will win Hawkwell and Wickford. There used to be a very strong ED vote in Hullbridge. It came a very close second in the Rayleigh seats in 2014 less than 100 behind in most I think they won Rayleigh Central. Opposition from other parties is not as active as they would like.

    Turnout improving will keep this very safe for the Tories. Ukip candidate is a bit rubbish and organisation locally seems poor. I would have thought ukip could have made more of this despite the affluence.

  42. John Hayter was the English Democrats’ candidate here in 2010, interestingly.

  43. Rob- UKIP winning Hullbridge and Wickford would not surprise me at all. Rayleigh and Hockley are higher income and more challenging for them. I grew up in Southend West, just adjacent to this constituency.

    The Results- yes, the Liberals have always been pretty useless in this seat. Despite being relatively prosperous, Rayleigh isn’t a good fit for the Liberals somehow. I’m struggling to articulate why exactly that is.

  44. I think we agree really I am just describing that as a good result and you a mediocre one. Rayleigh and Hockley are certainly more affluent but there is still a UKIP vote in Rayleigh as evidenced by 2014 local election results. I am not suggesting UKIP will win.

    John Hayter was truly appalling at the hustings though apparently. Just reading off notes on some policy document he had been given. He isn’t a heavyweight politician by any means.

    Interestingly it appears the UKIP candidates in this neck of the woods are being leaned on heavily to not gaffe during these hustings. The Southend West and Southend East candidates literally said word for word the same answer on one question and both clearly had a document they were briefed with (presumably the same as Hayter had) that were providing scaffold. Obviously all parties provide some support but this seems much more strict. Is this nationwide?

  45. Prediction-
    Francois (Conservative)- 53%
    Hayter (UKIP)- 23%
    Hough (Labour)- 16%
    Pitt (Lib Dem)- 5%
    Yapp (Green)- 2%
    Kendall (Independent)- 1%

  46. Looks about right, The Results.

  47. Conservative Hold. 19,000 maj.

  48. Cllr Jamie Burton (Grange Ward) has defected here.

    He was UKIP > Ind and now sits as a Rayleigh Independent.

    Nationally, there appear to be a huge number of councillor vacancies with around 50 of the 70 being held on the same day as the Locals. Some have been without Cllrs for over 6 months.

  49. Interesting to hear Mark Francois effectively inciting people to riot if they don’t get the Brexit he wants

    Can’t really see why he hasn’t been charge with sedition or even treason

  50. My mother has had the pleasure of meeting this man on.a number of occasions (she used to teach at school in this constituency). Thick, gobby, inarticulate…those are actually some of his better points. Bit of a shame actually as Rayleigh in and of itself is a pleasant enough town.

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